Old-fashioned Nut Squares


Nut Squares on Plate

Warm weather is finally here, and I’m ready to sit on the porch with tea and a snack. So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Nut Squares that said, “Very nice for afternoon tea,” I knew that I needed to try the recipe.

The Nut Squares were tasty and chock-full of nuts with a crispy crust and a chewy middle.  The one downside is that the crust had a tendency to crack and break when I cut the cookies into bars.

Here’s the original recipe:

Nut Squares on plate
Source: Ladies’ Union Cook Book (Concord Junction, MA, 1921)

I was surprised that the recipe did not call for any butter or shortening – though the cookies still had a nice texture. Perhaps the top crust may have had less tendency to break and crumble off the bars if the recipe had inclued butter or shortening.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Nut Squares

  • Servings: about 24 bars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups chopped nuts (I used chopped walnuts.)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Put eggs in mixing bowl and beat. Add sugar, flour, and baking powder; beat until smooth. Pour mixture into a greased 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Bake until set and the top is light brown (about 25 – 30 minutes). Remove from oven. When partially cool cut into squares or 1 X 2 inch bars.


25 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Nut Squares

    1. It’s good to know that the crust is supposed to be crackly. I had thought that the recipe didn’t turn out exactly right.

      1. Oh, no! That’s how they should be. It was fun to peel the crust off first, and eat it. Then, we sometimes would use a fork and sometimes would just pick up the rest of it and chow down.

  1. This is my kind of treat, chock full of nuts. Also agree that the crackly surface is part of the appeal. I will try this recipe soon. Thanks for posting this recipe.

    1. I was surprised when the recipe called for 2 cups of nuts. I can’t think of any other cookie or bar recipe I make that calls for more than a cup of nuts. But, the extra nuts resulted in a wonderful tasting bar cookie.

    1. They were yummy. You’re right; taste is the important thing. Sometimes I think that I tend to worry too much about presentation.

      1. Well, of course you did. You photograph your beautiful dishes for the world to see and usually there is no guiding photograph to help you along! 100 years ago, it wasn’t about the appearance as much as the flavor and nutritional value!

    1. I took “quick oven” to mean a fairly high temperatue – though I actually only set my oven at 375° F. when I made the recipe since that is the temperature that some of my more modern bar cookie recipes call for. Maybe I should have set it higher.

    1. They were very easy to make. It’s nice to know that you liked the way they looked. I wasn’t quite sure about the way the crust crumbled.

  2. I am surprised as well that there is no fat in the recipe. They do look good. I made the camp eggs for my husband and he liked them. They were pretty with the whites visible.

    1. It’s nice to hear that you made the egg recipe. It’s such an easy recipe–and, like you, I thought they looked nice with some of the white visible. My sense is that it’s typically not considered good if the eggs aren’t thoroughly beaten before making scrambled eggs; which is too bad.

  3. These look delicious–like blonde brownies! My mother’s brownie recipe would also result in a cracked crust like this, if you waited too long to slice them. I wonder if that is why the instructions said “partly cooled”? When the brownies were sliced while still warm, the top “crust” did not crack. Her recipe called for chocolate squares melted in 2/3 cup of shortening, so in that case, the fat did not make any difference.

    1. You may be right that I should have sliced the Nut Bars sooner after I removed them from the oven, but they were still warm when I cut them into pieces. The crust seemed like it was raised and separated from the rest of the baked dough when I removed them from the oven so I’m not sure whether it would have helped if I had sliced them sooner.

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