Maple bars are basically a portable version of pecan pie. The crust for the bars is more of a shortbread than pie crust but the top layer of gooey, mapley goodness is the same. These were a hit at our Maple Open House in March. Folks walked around the sugarhouse, marveling at the equipment and getting a serious sugar-rush from all the sampling. Even after tasting all our syrups, though, most still reached for a maple bar on their way out.
In experimenting with the recipe, I broke one of my own rules to excellent results. It is my personal philosophy that dessert is dessert and should replete with all the butter, sugar and white flour necessary to make it taste exactly the way you want it. Despite our livelihood, we don’t have dessert regularly in our house but when we do I have an aversion to substituting in low-fat or whole-grain ingredients if it is going to mess with the end product. Let the cake be cake, people. That said, this recipe tastes better with wheat flour mixed in with the white flour for the shortbread. The wheat flour gives it some backbone that is a nice platform for the intense maple-nut combo up top. Also, I tried hazelnuts with the pecans and everyone who tried that version liked it best.
Maple Nut Bars
1 cup white flour
½ cup wheat flour
¾ cup brown sugar
14 Tbsp butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup Sugarmaker’s Cut Maple Syrup
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 ½ cups chopped pecans, hazelnuts or both
To make the crust, preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Use your fingers or a fork to blend the butter in with the dry ingredients until there are no butter chunks left and the consistency is crumbly. Pour into the pan and press the crumbly bits down until it forms one even layer. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes or until it starts to faintly brown, then remove from the oven.
In the meantime, combine the sugar, maple syrup, and eggs in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the salt, vanilla, melted butter, pecans and stir. Pour over the partially baked crust, making sure the nuts are evenly distributed. Return to the oven and bake until the top is set, about 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and then cut into squares for serving.