Hot damn I love me some Nova Scotia maple syrup. I’ll admit, it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that it made its way into my fridge; we were an Aunt Jemima family back in the day. I had no idea what I was missing out on! Now, maple syrup is a staple sweetener in my house, not just for our weekend pancake feasts, but drizzled over morning oatmeal, even stirred into coffee or tea for a sweet-tooth-quashing evening treat.
My friend’s family started a maple tapping operation not quite 10 years ago, in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. Hutchinson Acres farm grew gradually, from just a small parcel of land, to now over 25,000 taps over 1,500 acres of land. So awesome! They are super nice people with a product that I am just a massive fan of.
I had a jug of their Hutchinson Acres amber maple syrup that I was just begging to incorporate into a dinner party dessert this past Saturday. I went on the hunt for a recipe that didn’t require a trip to the grocery store. Ha! Only the best, for my guests, right? Um, yes. That is right! Because this amazingly simple, yet decadent treat was a complete home-run.
Real life quote: “Quite possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had.” – Andrew Russell, 2013.
We had 9 people sitting around the dinner table last night, every one of them was left scraping the plate, ooh-ing and ahhh-ing. It made up for the brutally overcooked roast beef I did. There won’t be blog post on that one, folks!
Do feel free to switch the nuts up, and top with a generous dollop of unsweetened or lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream. It’ll counterbalance the sweetness of the square and really balance it out. Plus it looks a little fancier!
Having this perfectly sweet ending to dinner made me look really forward to next weekend, when a bunch of friends and I are heading to the second-last installment of the Feisty Chef Acadian Maple Brunches in Tantallon, NS. It’s a full-blown maple bonanza with baked beans, pancakes, scrambled egg and meats. All you can eat too. Check it out, here!
Now, on to the recipe! Do your best to find locally-sourced maple to make this an extra special treat that will become a favourite in your dessert repertoire.Ingredients:
Maple Nut Squares
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
1 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 dash salt
3/4 cup chopped nuts, like walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
Heat oven to 350°F degrees. Stir together 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup melted butter, and 1/4 cup brown sugar until mixed well. Press into 8-inch square baking pan and compact onto the bottom with fingers.
Bake for 5 minutes, then remove and set aside.
Turn oven up to 400°F degrees.
Combine maple syrup and 2/3 cup brown sugar in saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
Cool to lukewarm and stir in butter until melted. Stir in eggs. Stir in pecans, vanilla, and flour until mixed well.
Pour mixture over partially baked crust.
Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking another 20 minutes until the top bubbles.
Let cool, set in fridge if necessary to firm up.
Serve with a big ol’ dollop of whipped cream!