Birch Syrup Pecan Squares

birch syrup squares

I’m a sucker for pecan pie in bar form – but particularly when someone else makes them, uses birch syrup, then brings them along, right in the pan, with a knife to cut them into squares on the dock, on a fishing trip on Great Slave Lake.

Yellowknife shoreline 1

Birch syrup is something you likely don’t have on your shelf – but yes, you can go ahead and use (real!) maple syrup instead. Birch is similar, made with the sap of birch trees rather than maple – its flavour tends to be more complex, and some say not as sweet. And because it requires 100-150 L of sap to produce 1 L of birch syrup (vs about 40 L of sap to make 1 L of maple syrup) and the tapping window is shorter than the opportunity to harvest maple, it’s pretty pricey. But if you live up north rather than out east, it’s more likely what you’re pouring over your pancakes.

Yellowknife houseboats 1Yellowknife Houseboats

Although these were consumed in Yellowknife, they were made from a recipe written by Michele Genest, a chef and cookbook author who lives in Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory. (Fun aside: I met Michele years ago when she was in Calgary, and as I was coming straight from a morning TV show, I was dressed in a giant whoopee cushion costume. So in all of the pictures I have of the two of us, I’m wearing as W calls it ‘a fart bag’.) They came from her second book, The Boreal Feast, and they were so buttery and divine – each of us ate at least three, in the boat and on the shore. Because they were made in an 8×8-inch pan and the original calls for a 9×13, I did some tweaking based on an old maple pecan bar I’ve been making around these parts for years. But if you’re into foraging and indigenous Canadian ingredients – moose and spot prawns and rhubarb and mushrooms and spruce tips – Michele’s book is worth having on your shelf.

Birch Syrup Pecan Squares

AuthorJulie

Yields1 Serving

Base:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Topping:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
2 Tbsp birch or maple syrup
1 cup whole or chopped pecans

1

Preheat the oven to 350F.

2

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and blend until crumbly; press into the bottom of a parchment-lined 8x8-inch pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until very pale golden around the edges.

3

In the same bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter, birch or maple syrup and pecans. Pour over the base and bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly on top. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

4

Makes 16 squares.

Ingredients

Base:
 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
 1/4 cup sugar
 1 cup all-purpose flour
 1/2 tsp baking powder
 1/4 tsp salt
Topping:
 1 cup packed brown sugar
 1/4 cup butter, melted
 1 large egg
 2 Tbsp birch or maple syrup
 1 cup whole or chopped pecans

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 350F.

2

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and blend until crumbly; press into the bottom of a parchment-lined 8x8-inch pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until very pale golden around the edges.

3

In the same bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter, birch or maple syrup and pecans. Pour over the base and bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly on top. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

4

Makes 16 squares.

Birch Syrup Pecan Squares
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3 comments on “Birch Syrup Pecan Squares

  1. Fozzymom
    December 18, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    I’ve made these several times and they are amazing! I was looking over the recipe and realized that there is an egg listed in the topping ingredients but is not listed in the directions. I don’t think I’ve ever added the egg! Is this a mistake in the ingredients or directions?

    • Julie
      December 19, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Ha! Oops! I think there should be an egg in the directions – I’ll go add it! So glad to hear they work either way! 🙂

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