Monday, August 25, 2014

Walnut Squares

I wanted to make something small  (translation: not many leftovers) for coffee at my mom's house this weekend.  After looking at what felt like every bar cookie recipe ever written, I decided on Walnut Squares, from the 1950 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book.

My copy of this book is a reproduction from the mid-1990s, but I taught myself to bake using my mom's well-loved original.

While the description in the book caught my eye, "Almost rich and nutty,"  the fact that it called for an 8x8" pan was what sold me on it.  I don't mind making and sharing a huge batch of sweets, but I hate to have the leftovers sitting around the house, taunting me.  Desserts can be so cruel.

After I started mixing everything, I realized that this recipe uses absolutely no butter.  No butter!  The horror!  I briefly considered throwing it away and making something different, but  I decided I should at least give it a chance.  I'm glad I did, because these bars were delicious!  The dough was very sticky and just barely covered the bottom of the pan, but it puffed up while baking and resulted in a dry, crispy top and bottom crust with a sticky, candy-like interior. 

Apparently I wasn't the only one who  liked them, because this was the only bar that came home with me.  Which is good, because I succumbed to the taunting only a few hours later.

Delicious, gooey, crunchy.  I wish I had extras now!

Walnut Squares (Printable Recipe)
from the 1950 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book


1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon soda
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease an 8" square pan (don't skimp on greasing - these bars are sticky!)

Beat the egg until foamy.  Beat in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Sift together the flour, salt and soda and stir into the egg mixture.  Mix in the walnuts.

Spread the dough in the prepared pan.  Bake until the top has a dull crust, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cut into squares while warm.  Cool, then remove from pan. 


  1. Namaste!
    I just made these for afternoon tea today & they came out beautifully. I live at 5,000 ft in the Himalayas & didn't have to adjust anything. I did line the pan with buttered wax paper, they did come out of the pan easily. I'm always on the look out for simple recipes like these since I have limited ingredients - plus my tiny toaster oven is stuck at 325 degrees.
    Congrats on your new blog!

  2. Hi Bibi,

    I'm so glad you tried the bars and liked them! I feel your pain with the toaster oven. We lived in a tiny little place for 6 years and it would get so hot inside if we tried to bake anything that we finally resorted to using a toaster oven outside, with an extension cord running through the dog door. I'm sure that setup violated all sorts of safety rules, but sometimes you just have to bake something!

    Thanks for visiting!

  3. So glad I found this recipe online, I copied it from my mom's Betty Crocker cookbook years ago and can't find where I filed it. I'm going to change it up a bit, I'm going to add coconut and milk chocolate chips. I may also add another egg but I'll see how the batter looks/feels...