When you can’t decide between pecan pie or butter tarts, make these brown butter maple pecan squares. Made with a buttery shortbread base that’s then topped with a sweet and gooey brown butter maple filling loaded with roasted nutty pecans and a healthy sprinkling of chocolate chips (totally optional but highly recommended!), these are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. The squares come together easily with barely any prep and are best made ahead of time, making them the perfect treat for the holidays.
Maple pecan filling
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line and grease a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
First, brown the butter for the filling. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook the butter until the milk solids begin to brown. Transfer to a glass bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
For the base: In a bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream together butter and icing sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Wait until the base has finished baking before starting the filling.
For the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together browned butter, brown sugar and maple syrup. Add in the eggs, vanilla and salt and whisk until combined. Stir in the chopped pecans, chocolate (if using) and pour over top of the baked crust.
Top with flaky salt, if using. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the edges are set and centre is still a little jiggly.
Let cool for 30 minutes in the pan then place pan into the fridge for at least 2 hours so the filling is completely chilled (it will still be a little runny). This will make it easier to lift out of the pan and will hold its shape when slicing into squares.