Maple Butter Bars

Simple buttery cake bars subtly sweetened with real maple syrup.

Sometimes simple really is best, you know? Desserts don’t have to be over-the-top, they don’t have to have a long list of ingredients, or lots of steps to be amazing. Sometimes the real “wow” comes with that first bite.

These maple butter bars are the perfect example. They don’t look like much and they are likely one of the least fanciest things I’ve ever baked. But they’re so good! With a hint of cinnamon and lots of real maple syrup flavor, that first bite quickly let to 5 more, then 15.

(Oops.)

baking tip:Why I only bake with unsalted butter

Most baking recipes call for unsalted butter instead of salted because the amount of salt in salted butter varies from brand to brand, and there’s no way to really know how much salt you’re getting in a stick. So if you’re following a typical recipe that calls for both salt and butter, and you choose to use salted butter, you could be adding quite a bit more salt via the butter than the recipe requires.

To give myself full control over the amount of salt in my baking, I only buy and use unsalted butter. But if all you have is salted butter, can you substitute it in a recipe? In a pinch, yes.  Reduce the amount of salt called for by half, and if possible, taste and adjust as necessary.

Maple Butter Bars

Simple buttery cake bars subtly sweetened with real maple syrup.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup (205 grams) pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) half and half

Topping (optional):

  • Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or greased foil.
  2. To make the crust, combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add butter and cut into dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender.
  3. Press into the prepared pan and bake for 5-7 minutes until set, but before it starts to turn brown.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachments, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, followed by maple syrup. Add the flour in 2 additions, alternating with the half and half. Mixer may appear curdled, that's okay.
  5. Pour mixture on top of crust. Bake until the center is firm with gently shaken, about 35 minutes.
  6. For best results, cool completely before slicing (I even like to chill it in the fridge for a bit for nice clean slices). Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
  7. Store leftovers in the fridge for several days.
Note: For best results use real maple syrup.
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens 2017 Fall Baking Magazine.

Have you tried this recipe?

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