These raspberry chocolate bars combine a buttery shortbread like crust with tart, fresh raspberries, raspberry jam and bittersweet chocolate for the perfect dessert bar. This easy recipe comes together in one bowl and can be made with gluten-free flour or regular wheat flour.
Assembling the Bars
These bars can make a sticky mess in the pan and be a nightmare to get out once baked. Here’s how to assemble them so that they come out easily.
You’ll first make a parchment liner that goes up the sides of the pan. Then press the dough into the pan and level it. I use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to help level it smooth. Add the chocolate chips and jam, keeping them both about a half inch from the edge of the pan. They will melt and spread to the edge during baking.
Top with chunks of dough and more chocolate chips and you’re ready to bake. Once baked, these bars need to cool in the pan, and chill in the fridge for best results when cutting.
Gluten-Free Flour – I successfully tested these bars with King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour (my go-to) and Pamela’s All Purpose Artisan Blend. Both of these flour blends are certified gluten-free. Cup4Cup, which contains milk powder, is similar and should work well too. King Arthur’s is my preferred because it is widely available and the most reasonably priced of the certified gf flours I have tried. Gluten-free flours for baking are so expensive but with this link from Amazon, Measure for Measure is the most affordable.
I have had a recipe tester try this recipe with regular wheat flour and it worked perfectly. I do not use wheat at all in my kitchen, so friends and family test for me. Whichever flour blend you use this recipe is pretty forgiving. If you use a gluten-free flour blend that does not contain xanthan gum, guar gum or inulin, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe.
If you like a DIY flour blend check out my post which has several gluten-free flours for baking. Making your own is a huge cost-saver and beats many of the store-bought ones in flavor. Vitacost.com is an excellent source for reasonably priced gluten-free flour and other gf products. They have their own line of certified gluten-flours and everything you need to make your own blend.
I love the flavor of butter and it is one of the few dairy products I use in my recipes. If you want to make these dairy-free, Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks are a good substitute. They do make an unsalted version but it can be hard to find. If your vegan butter contains salt, omit the salt called for in the recipe.
Chocolate chips – Use semi-sweet, bittersweet, dark chocolate or whichever chocolate you prefer. For a gluten-free dairy-free chocolate, Enjoy Life Chocolate chips are my favorite and they are free from 14 common allergens.
The combination of raspberry jam (or preserves or fruit spread) with fresh raspberries gives these bars a wonderful tart, fruity flavor. This tart and sweet is so perfect with buttery shortbread and bittersweet chocolate. I highly recommend using organic raspberries and jam. Conventionally grown raspberries and other berries have been found to have high levels of pesticide residue. Since they are not peeled like citrus or other fruits, buying organic is the best way to avoid this problem.
Some vanilla and salt make the crust a perfectly delicious base for these bars.
More Gluten-Free Desserts
Raspberry Chocolate Bars
- 2½ c gluten-free flour* or regular wheat flour
- 1 c sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ c chocolate chips dark, semi-sweet or bittersweet
- 1 c raspberry jam
- About 6 oz fresh raspberries
- NOTE: This recipe can be mixed by hand with a pastry blender or 2 forks or with an electric mixer.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
Make a parchment liner for the pan – 8×8 inch square works best
- Center the pan on the parchment and cut out the corners of the paper.
- Discard the corner pieces.
- Fold the flaps inward and crease.
- Place the parchment in the pan.
Make the bars
- Place the butter, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer or pastry blender to blend to coarse crumbs.
- Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the egg and vanilla. Lightly beat the egg then combine it with the flour-butter mixture.
- Mix until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together.
- Set aside ¾ c of the dough.
- Press the remaining dough in an even layer into the lined pan. Press level.
- Top with 1/2 c of the chocolate chips. Spread them to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Press down very gently on the chips to lightly adhere them to the dough.
- Place spoonfuls of raspberry jam over the chips and spread in an even layer to within ½ inch of the edge of the pan. The chips and jam will melt and spread to the edge during baking.
- Break the raspberries in half and cover the jam.
- Top with chunks of the remaining dough.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Then refrigerate for 2-3 hours before removing them from the pan or cutting.