This refined sugar free Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars recipe is naturally sweetened with honey, infused with fresh orange zest, and covered in a layer of rich dark chocolate. It’s a small-batch recipe, yielding just 6 buttery cookie bars – the perfect treat for a smaller family or couple!
A crumbly, buttery chocolate orange shortbread recipe
While I love shortbread cookies, there’s just something way less intimidating about bar cookies.
Perhaps it’s the lazy baker in me, but I’d much rather bake a cookie bar than a batch of actual cookies. These one-bowl Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars are a mix, dump, and bake recipe – they couldn’t be any easier!
The crumbly, buttery shortbread base is infused with fresh orange zest and naturally sweetened with honey. It literally smells like heaven in your kitchen! Topped off with a layer of rich dark chocolate, these bars are perfect for any holiday cookie platter or box you might be making.
Ingredients in these Shortbread Bars
7 pantry staple ingredients come together to make these delicious Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter: Butter provides the crumbly texture of these cookie bars and makes them melt in your mouth.
- Honey: Our natural sweetener of choice for this recipe.
- Orange zest: It would be hard to make chocolate orange flavoured shortbread without the orange! Just a little zest goes a long way to create incredible flavour.
- Vanilla extract: For a little sweetness and seasoning.
- Sea salt: A little salt is necessary to season the dough.
- Plain flour: Provides structure to our shortbread bar.
- Dark chocolate: A good quality chocolate is necessary here; 70% cocoa solids or higher!
How to make Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars
Got 15 minutes on your hands? That’s how long you need to prep this one-bowl Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars recipe. Here’s how to do it:
- Cream together your honey and butter until fluffy.
- Mix in the rest of the ingredients to form a smooth batter.
- Scrape the batter into a prepared loaf pan and bake.
- Once the bars are cooled, melt chocolate over a double boiler.
- Pour the chocolate over the bars, allow to set, and slice!
Full details are in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Use a neutral or light flavoured honey. Dark or strongly flavoured honeys will come through in the flavour of the bars. For the most authentic flavour, be sure to use a mild tasting honey.
- Zest the orange straight into the mixing bowl. Zesting on top of the butter and honey will ensure that all the essential oils from the orange end up in the bowl to flavour the batter and not your cutting board.
- Work the batter as little as possible. Don’t over-whip once you add the flour into the batter. Overworking it will develop the gluten and result in tough shortbread bars. Mix just until the batter comes together smoothly.
- Keep an eye on the bars in the oven. Naturally sweetened baked goods brown and burn quickly, so check them frequently in the last 5 minutes. Once they’re golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan, they’re done.
Looking for more refined sugar free Christmas cookies?
If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love this Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars recipe by leaving a comment and rating below!
Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars
Crumbly Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars naturally sweetened with honey, infused with orange zest, and covered in a layer of dark chocolate.
- 113 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100 g unpasteurised honey
- 2 tsp fresh orange zest
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 150 g plain flour
- 125 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- ⅛ tsp pure orange extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170ºC (340ºF) and grease and line a 450g (1 lb) loaf tin with non-stick parchment paper. Leave an overhang of parchment for easy removal.
In a large bowl combine the butter and honey. Beat together with a hand mixer until pale and fluffy.
Add the orange zest, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine. Add the flour and mix on low speed just until it comes together into a thick batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and evenly smooth the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides and top are golden and the bar begins to pull away from the sides of the tin. Place the tin on a wire rack and let the bar cool completely in the tin.
Once the shortbread bar is cooled, create a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Ensure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
Tip the chopped chocolate into the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the optional orange extract; stir to combine.
Pour the chocolate over the shortbread bar and evenly smooth out the layer. Allow the chocolate to set overnight on the counter or in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Once the chocolate has set, remove the bar from the tin and slice into 6 equal triangles.
This shortbread bar will keep sealed in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature.