There is a family recipe that my husband loves called butter tarts. I always make them when his father, Tony (who turns 93 on December 21) comes to visit, because it reminds him of his childhood in Canada.

This dessert combines raisins, nuts, and a gooey sweet filling that is similar to pecan pie. The tarts are easy to make (the recipe is on my website), but I have found an even easier way to make and serve this popular Stanley treat.

Instead of individual little pies, I put everything in one pan and create bars. I’ll probably still make the original version when Tony comes to visit, but who knows, my new variation may become the new tradition.

Belle’s Raisin Pecan Pie Bars


½ cup butter, very soft

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup flour


1 ½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup raisins

½ cup chopped pecans

In a bowl, mix together the butter and sugar. Add the flour and mix well. Press into the bottom of a 9 by 9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. While this is baking, mix together the other ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Pour this over the baked crust and then bake another 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins and a grandmother of eight. She is a cookbook author and novelist. For more recipes and information, visit her website