Maple and Pecan Squares with a Cinnamon Biscuit Base

by Jacqueline on March 31, 2013

A fantastic alternative to Pecan Pie

Maple and Pecan Squares with a Cinnamon Biscuit Base

While the world and and his wife are having a crack at baking Hot Cross Buns or sponges adorned with Easter eggs and the ominipresent Easter Bunny, I’ve been baking something completely different for Easter. That’s right, I did say baking. The problem, however was finding something that if made, would be easily consumed. I’m fairly fussy when it comes to sweet things, and my other half tends to be ten times worse (I suppose that’s what happens when you are brought up in Paris and every fourth shop is either a boulangerie or a pâtisserie filled with the finest  “tartes” or viennoiserie. Becoming accustomed to such fine food, can make you a bit more picky when alternatives are on offer). However, the old grey matter fed me an idea.

When I worked in Canary Wharf, I would pop out for lunch and grab a quick sandwich or soup but I would always be craving sugar come 4-5pm. Quite often I would work until 9pm and so my blood sugar level would plummet and I relied on something sweet just to power me through the remainder of the working day. My fuel came in the form of  Pret a Manger’s Pecan Pie. It did the job every time. Do you know it? I’m pleased to say my husband, is also partial to the odd slice so I was headed in the right direction. I’ve read that Pecan pie has it’s origins with the French settlers of New Orleans but I’m not sure if there is any truth in this story!

It wasn’t until after baking these that I remembered from Katharine’s blog that Pret actually have an e-book  documenting a few of their recipes which I think is really good-spirited of them. I had to laugh when I looked at the ingredient list – it was so different to my own! I suppose the main differences are that they use golden syrup, eggs and cornstarch. I use maple syrup and coconut cream and I add cinnamon to the base.

This recipe makes 16 small -ish squares. Eating one will put a spring in your step.

A sweet treat of maple, pecan,

Maple and Pecan Sweetness ovenbound!

Maple and Pecan Squares with a Cinnamon Biscuit Base

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serving Size: Makes 16 squares

A delicious interpretation of the traditional Pecan Pie in bite size pieces.


    Biscuit Base
  • 130g of plain flour
  • 85g of slightly salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 55g of densely packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • Topping
  • 2 tbsp of coconut cream (single cream can be used instead)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3.5 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 70g of slightly salted butter, melted
  • 70g of densely packed brown sugar
  • 100g of pecans, roughly chopped


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
  2. Making the Biscuit Base
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the sieved flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Add the cubes of butter to the bowl and work with your fingers. A crumb-like texture should form.
  5. Get a non-stick baking tin (I used a 10inch x 10inch metal tin) and place the mixture inside. Use the back of a tablespoon to pat down the surface so that it is nicely compacted.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a golden brown colour is achieved.
  7. Remove from the oven, (keeping the oven on) and leave to the side.
  8. Topping
  9. Place the butter in a non stick pan and melt it over a low heat.
  10. Take the pan off the heat and add brown sugar to the melted butter. Use a whisk or a fork to mix the ingredients together. To this mixture, add vanilla extract, maple syrup and coconut cream. Stir it all together.
  11. Lastly add the chopped pecans and combine them with the mixture.
  12. Place the pan back on the heat and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken. This should be for about 60 seconds but be careful not to burn it.
  13. Pour the syrupy mixture onto the biscuit base ensuring the pecan nuts are equally dispersed.
  14. Place back in the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  15. When ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool down before cutting and serving


The size of these squares makes them even more irresistible! If you are not a fan of cinnamon, just omit it from the biscuit base mixture.

Maple and Pecan Squares with a Cinnamon Biscuit Base

I’m always paranoid about tarts, cakes and biscuits tasting very buttery but the base was just right and the spicy notes provided by the cinnamon brought a warm comforting sensation. And the finished article? Really delicious! Within an hour of making them, we had already gone through a quarter of the batch. I suspect the remaining ones will not be around for long!

Having had a tour around some websites and food blogs there is some really inspired cooking and baking for Easter.

I spotted this recipe for  Jerusalem Artichoke and Vanilla soup with Scallops. I’m sure that would be a lovely way to mark the beginning of Easter Sunday Lunch.

Most people have a traditional roast at Easter and I thought Dom‘s Roast Lamb with Honey, Rosemary, Garlic and Granola Crust was worth drooling over.

Giulia over at Jul’s Kitchen has prepared her own Tiramisu in an Eggshell. Clever presentation I thought!

A few brave people have had a crack at making their own Easter eggs including Greg who mastered an engineering project when he constructed this 80 kg chocolate egg. What a belter!

Have you been baking or cooking anything to celebrate Easter? Please let me know in the comments below!

Hope you all have a very Happy Easter!

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fiona Maclean March 31, 2013 at 9:20 am

LOL now I really didn’t need this recipe;) Looks lovely Jacqueline, and at least your other half likes it too! I think your recipe sounds as if it might be a little less sweet than the Pret version?


2 Jacqueline March 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm

It worked a treat Fiona ;-) Yes, recipe is less sweet in terms of sugar content than Pret. Win Win :-)


3 Juls @ Juls' Kitchen March 31, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Thank you for the mention and Happy Easter!


4 Jacqueline March 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

A pleasure Giulia – your presentation was lovely!


5 Franglais kitchen March 31, 2013 at 8:54 pm

I too love Pret’s maple pecan squares, but I love your version, great idea to add coconut cream in the topping.


6 Jacqueline April 1, 2013 at 4:55 am

Thanks Nazima – easy to make and very easy to eat :-)


7 Sarah March 31, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I’d pick your maple and pecan squares over an Easter egg any day – they look really tasty! I made hot cross buns for the first time this year and will definitely be making them again.


8 Jacqueline April 1, 2013 at 4:55 am

Fantastic Sarah! Fresh from the oven, I’m sure they taste sublime!


9 Mich Piece of Cake April 1, 2013 at 8:26 am

Your maple and pecan square looks dangerous, because I can eat the entire tray. I always find that these two are a great combination.


10 Jacqueline April 1, 2013 at 8:35 am

Ha! I know what you mean Mich – very addictive. Feeling guilty I have had so many so far :-)


11 Janice April 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Looks delicious. I made something similar to an Eric Lanlard recipe for Baking Mad, very sweet.


12 Jacqueline April 2, 2013 at 4:45 am

Hi Janice, thanks for your comment. I’ve just looked up Eric’s recipe – no wonder they were very sweet – 100ml of maple syrup and 275g of sugar? I find that excessive. Better off sticking to my recipe ;-)


13 Maggie April 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm

It is nice to cook something ‘different’ from the traditional at Easter time. They look very tempting too. Pret is a favourite of mine. If my husband had been brought up in Paris surrounded by exquisite patisserie I too wouldn’t bake very often:)


14 Jacqueline April 2, 2013 at 4:46 am

Ha! Oh the pressure Maggie! That’s fine it helps me practice and keeps me on my toes ;-)


15 Camilla @FabFood4All April 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I love pecans and your squares sound absolutely yummy. Years ago Sara Lee used to make a Danish Pastry Dessert with Pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar and I’ve been craving it recently. Maybe I should just make your squares instead as I’m sure they’d hit the spot:-)


16 Jacqueline April 2, 2013 at 4:46 am

I think you should definitely try these – they are super Camilla!


17 Katerina April 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

I love cinnamon and cook a lot with it! These bars are right up my alley!


18 Jacqueline April 3, 2013 at 2:56 am

Thanks Katerina!


19 Greg April 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Looks delicious! Anything maple/caramel mixed with pecan/walnut makes me drool! :)


20 Jacqueline April 3, 2013 at 2:56 am

Yes – it’s a great combo! Thanks for your comment Greg :-)


21 Caroline Taylor April 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I love maple and pecan anything and with the added cinnamon I bet these are amazing!


22 Jacqueline April 6, 2013 at 10:03 am

It’s a classic “feel-good” combination. They were all scoffed in a matter of a few days :-)


23 kellie@foodtoglow April 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

These look absolutely superb! My Dad is a huge fan of pecan pie and these look like something I can make for him when I visit him in Florida in a few weeks’ time. Over there they use something called corn syrup (different to the high fructose corn syrup nasty that is in loads of rubbishy sweet things) but I prefer it with maple as it is more interesting. This looks much nicer than the usual pecan pie you get over there, with the tasteless pre-made pie crust (ugh). Bookmarking and pinning!


24 Jacqueline April 6, 2013 at 10:04 am

Florida eh? Hello sunshine! Never tried using corn syrup – I just adore maple syrup and much preferred this option than golden syrup.


25 Karen April 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm

The only question I have to ask you, is HOW on earth are you going to get those over to me in France? They look absolutely STUNNING! I adore all of the ingredients and anything with nuts in it as me going a bit nuts! Karen


26 Jacqueline April 10, 2013 at 4:34 am

Thanks Karen – I’m a bit of a nut fan myself. They are very addictive and were polished off very quickly.


27 Monet April 9, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Oh my goodness. Can I have two, three, four? Clearly I need to make a big batch. And soon! Thank you for sharing! I’m glad to be back home after a week of traveling…and finally catching up on my favorite blogs. I hope you have a blessed week!


28 Jacqueline April 10, 2013 at 4:35 am

You can have as many as you like Monet! Glad to see you back after your travels. You must be exhausted!


29 Chris April 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm

That looks like something for me, too. It is just the right combination of ingredients. Maple syrup and pecan nuts go so well together.


30 Jacqueline April 18, 2013 at 2:52 am

Let me know if you try it Chris – it’s a cracking recipe :-)


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