When I turned eighteen, my parents and I got passports and had big plans to cross the nearby border to Windsor from Detroit since I would be able to do things like drink and gamble and generally speaking be an adult.
This did not happen. We didn’t actually go to Canada at all for that purpose. Not a single time. It always felt like too much work and hassle, the unknown of what the crossing would be like at any given time. We didn’t know where exactly to go or what to do. It was always easier to stick with what we knew and explore there.
I have been to Canada a couple times. Once so long ago it practically feels like another lifetime to see Niagara Falls with my parents and maternal grandparents. It was so long ago, in fact, that passports were not required to cross. I don’t remember much about the trip except we played mini golf (I’m pretty sure I got a hole in one) and I was not nearly as impressed by the Falls or the locks that so fascinated my parents.
The second time, you might remember, was going to Toronto (and finally using that passport) to see Taylor Swift. That trip was everything to me and still makes me smile at the mere thought of it. Gah I wish I could relive that over and over again and recapture the magic of it all.
I know a little about Canadian food. Poutine. Maple syrup. Butter Tarts.
I’ve never actually had poutine or a traditional butter tart, but when I watched Mary Makes it Easy and saw her make Butter Tart Bars, I was so inspired I actually whipped them up the same day. And they did not disappoint – those Canadians seriously know what’s up.
With a shortbread crust, gooey filling (with a hint of booze because why not?), and tons of pecans and raisins the flavors and textures in this bars are crazy good. Add the crackly top once they bake up, and this will be your new go to dessert.
With shortbread crust and gooey maple syrup, pecan, and raisin filling, these dessert bars are loaded with flavor and texture.
2 cups paleo flour blend (2 cups almond flour, 1 ¼ cups tapioca starch, ¾ cup coconut flour)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, room temperature
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup coconut sugar
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon espresso powder
¾ cup pecans
½ cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 325 degrees F convection.
Make the crust. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add the oils and mix the dough until it comes together. Press dough into the bottom of an 8 inch square pan. Bake about 15 minutes until golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl (the same one will definitely work!), stir together sugar, syrup, eggs, oil, vinegar, vanilla, bourbon, and espresso until fully combined. Stir in the pecans and raisins. Pour over the filling and bake about 25 additional minutes until set and crackly on the top but still giggly when shaken gently.
Cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for 3 months. Serve frozen or thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.
Recipe adapted from Mary Berg
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes