Butter Tart Squares and Cheese

Butter+Tart+Squares Butter Tart Squares and Cheese

Remember that Polyester and Cheese party I eluded to on Friday? That was last night. I officially pass on the theme to you and strongly encourage you to host your own; hell, I’ll even forward you our invites to use (insert your own address, right?) if you want. Not only did it force otherwise very fashionable people to dig through their closets for their great-aunt’s Goldie Hawn circa Laugh-In dresses and uncle’s groovy Sgt. Pepper button-up shirts to wear (even if they’re two sizes too small, dammit); everyone brought cheese. Boy did they bring cheese. (Hey – meet Nik, Sharon and Pam!)

Polyester+Foxes Butter Tart Squares and Cheese

Besides the aforementioned Discovery Box, which we started with (oh, and a brie that I hastily topped with mango chutney and sliced almonds and forgot about in the oven for AN HOUR, which then turned into delicious soup) we had Saint Agur, Piave, Boursin, Morbier, cheddar marbled with Guinness, Juliette from Salt Spring Island and smoked and caraway Goudas. We got a bag of cheesy goodness packed with Cheezies, Cheese Nips, Cheese Goldfish, Laughing Cow, Swiss Knight triangles and microwaveable fondue. And yes, we got cheese slices and Velveeta. No Whiz, though, and apparently spray cheese is hard to find (whew).

Jello+Mould Butter Tart Squares and Cheese

Also: artichoke-asiago dip, a jiggly two-toned red and green Jell-O mould complete with mini marshmallows and whipped cream, topped with crushed candy canes (its own kind of Christmas cheese) and a crock of some kind of cheese spread from the 70s that had gin in it. C brought crunchy cheese cookies made with that brilliant orange Imperial cheese, butter and Rice Krispies. (Amazing how much better some things taste than they sound!), A brought spicy Parmesan crisps and Charlie made a cheese ball. His three-year-old helped distribute the pecans, by hand, one by one, over the outside, so that it looked like a perfect cheese hedgehog. (The flash photography and pickled asparagus foreground does it justice, no?) He shared this tip: if you’re looking for a recipe, Google “World’s Best” before it, as in “World’s Best Cheese Ball”. I did thus, and came up with what I believe to be the one he used. (The first had lemonade mix in it. World’s best? I think not.)

Charlie%27s+Cheese+Ball Butter Tart Squares and Cheese

If I forgot something, I blame the cheese-induced brain fog. Guess what I’ve eaten today? Cheese, butter tart squares and crackers. This morning, W brought me breakfast in bed: cheesy goldfish, half-eaten cheese slices and what I think was chunks of Piave (street value: about $1 each bite) served in an Empire Strikes Back bowl. Yum. Coming downstairs to the leftovers was like an early Christmas morning – it took the edge off the clean-up.

Breakfast+in+Bed Butter Tart Squares and Cheese

I meant to label each cheese neatly as it came in the door; as you can imagine, that didn’t happen. My plan was kyboshed at about five minutes after the time on our invite, when the stereo died (%$#@!^%$#^$@!!) and I realized that my made-in-advance-and-frozen Raincoast Crisp logs were still in the freezer; I was so satisfied that I had made them well ahead of the party that I completely forgot to slice and bake them. Mike ran upstairs to quickly (ha) dump some Christmas tunes onto his MP3 so that we might have a bit of Ella, Bing, Frank, Dean, Sammy, Burl and Reverend Horton Heat at our party, and in my panic to bake off the crisps I think I completely forgot to offer anyone the mulled wine I had simmering on the stove. Ah well, more leftovers for me. When it’s 30 below outside not counting the wind chill factor, swimsuit season is mighty far away. Not that I wear swimsuits anyway. Let’s hear it for parka season!

Butter+Tart+Squares+2 Butter Tart Squares and Cheese

(Lower-fat) Butter Tart Squares

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
pinch salt

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
1/3 cup honey, corn syrup or maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup raisins or currants (if you want to be really authentic)
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add flour and salt and stir until well combined and crumbly.

Press into the bottom of an 8” x 8” pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden around the edges.

Using the same bowl (no need to wash it), combine the brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, maple syrup and vanilla and stir until well blended and smooth. Stir in the raisins and pecans.

Pour over the base and return to the oven for 25–30 minutes, until golden and bubbly around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the middle. The topping will puff up a bit as it bakes and then settle again when you remove it from the oven. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Makes 16 squares.

Per square: 194 calories, 5.1 g fat (2.1 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 0.6 g polyunsaturated fat), 36.2 g carbohydrates, 34.7 mg cholesterol, 2.2 g protein, 1 g fiber. 23% calories from fat

One Year Ago: Orange Almond Biscotti

pixel Butter Tart Squares and Cheese
button print gry20 Butter Tart Squares and Cheese

December 13 2009 10:18 pm | cookies & squares

20 Responses to “Butter Tart Squares and Cheese”

  1. Erica B. on 13 Dec 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    Wow sounds like a lot of fun! Love W’s breakfast in bed – too cute. There have been a lot of cheese balls served in Moms house over the years but not one involved lemonade. yikes.

    So glad it’s not just me who’s forgetting things in the freezer! I had C’s 5th bday party today, intended to make mini bagel pizzas, forgot that I had put the mozza in the freezer to firm it up & make it easier to grate. I meant to leave it for 30 min. Three hours in the freezer turns mozza into a brick of ice. I still made the pizzas but won’t make that mistake again :)

  2. Laurie on 14 Dec 2009 at 2:29 am #

    That makes me feel so much better! I was making a Christmas dinner for a friend who will be away from this weekend until January. I’d had visions of roasted, stuffed chicken, roasted vegetables, home made bread, gravy made from the pan drippings, and peas with pearl onions. In order to make sure it didn’t get hit by a draft, nor take up oven space, I put the bread in the microwave to proof. this works beautifully – I put three cups of boiling water in the microwave, put the kneaded bread in the loaf pan in there with the cups of water, shut the door, and leave it until it’s nicely risen. It makes an even, moist heat. Forgot all about it until the dinner was over. Did anyone notice there was no bread with dinner? It rose and fell. I have now baked it, but it’s not exactly sandwich worthy – and everyone has gone home!!!

  3. jenny on 14 Dec 2009 at 6:25 am #

    those butter tart squares look divine. i think i need to have a second christmas to make everything everyone else makes =).

    and cheese balls are so legit. someone i know puts crushed pineapple in hers. sounds insane, but it was delightful at a tailgate. but anything is good at a tailgate, so i might be biased.

    happy holidays!

  4. June on 14 Dec 2009 at 7:32 am #

    Ohh, my sister makes those Imperial cheese, rice crispie crackers – they are some goood! Your butter tart squares look yummy and lower in fat, which means I can double maybe even trip up. Good show.

  5. Lucy on 14 Dec 2009 at 10:01 am #

    Hello! I have been reading your blog for a while, and being in my early twenties and just getting into real cooking I really appreciate your mix of delicious recipes, humour, honesty, and passion! And I love the polyester, that’s hilarious! What a creative idea for a holiday party :)

  6. Katharine on 14 Dec 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    What a great time had by all!! I gauged it by how intense my hangover was in the morning! (pretty harsh, man) Charlie will be thrilled that you posted a pic of his cheese ball! LOL! Thanks for the awesome night guys!

  7. Elaine on 14 Dec 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    I’ve told many of my friends about your party theme; everyone is just all kinds of impressed by the brilliance of that.

  8. Barb on 14 Dec 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    I’m not at all sure you kids need a theme to make a party around. Am I right? :)

  9. Karen on 14 Dec 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    Julie, sounds like you’ve lived one giant cheese-gasm over the past few days. FYI: smoked applewood cheddar is divine by the way. Anyway, if folk are looking for a fast and easy appetizer this holiday season try this:

    Beat 2 eggs till frothy then mix in 2 tbsp melted butter, 2 cups sharp cheese (shredded), a dash of tabasco and Worcetershire and chop up half a jar of manzanillo olives. Put aside while cracking open a container of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and lining the bottom of a 9 X 13 in pan. Pour the cheesy mixture atop and bake at 325-350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes (or till golden brown).

  10. JulieVR on 14 Dec 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    Cheese-gasm! That’s it!
    I’m also responsible for constipating half my block.

  11. the other Al on 14 Dec 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    yeh, still waiting to go………..thx julie

  12. thepinkpeppercorn on 14 Dec 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    mmmm! Richness….mmmm!

  13. Andrea C on 14 Dec 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    Julie, I want to move to your street. Seriously. I’m telling ya, NO ONE has that much fun in Acadia. Block parties, if we had them, would be seriously hampered by all the walkers.

  14. Hélène on 15 Dec 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Sounds like you had a fantastic time.

  15. Hélène on 15 Dec 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Sounds like you had a fantastic time.

  16. Lesli Christianson-Kellow on 15 Dec 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Butter tarts, for me, fall into ‘the best eaten frozen’ category, but then I guess most Christmas baking falls into that category for me…or maybe it’s the ‘doesn’t make it to the table’ category…

  17. Pam on 16 Dec 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    I think I had about 15 of those wonderful squares (triangles) they were really good!! Thanks for a great party!
    -Pam, yes the one in pink polyester.

  18. Kevin on 20 Dec 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    Great looking butter tart squares!

  19. midnight sweets « jessicalettucetomato. take a bite. on 27 Feb 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    [...] Tart Squares adapted from Dinner with Julie: Ingredients for Base: 1/2 cup butter, softened 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup all-purpose or [...]

  20. foreignfilmfan on 10 Oct 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    I’d love a copy of your c & p party invites!

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