Tender and delightfully chocolatey, Chocolate Marshmallow Shortbread Bars have a creamy marshmallow filling that melts right in to the shortbread and creates a soft, craveworthy cookie bar.
These chocolatey morsels are a riff on one of my favorite cookie bars, Hungarian Shortbread. They use the novel technique of grating the sandy shortbread dough into a baking pan, a trick I first learned from Dorie Greenspan.
Grating the dough creates an impossibly tender and fluffy cookie bar that melts in your mouth, but still has the signature texture and flavor of classic shortbread.
Tips for making Chocolate Marshmallow Shortbread Bars
• I highly recommend using a 7″ square cake ring (essentially, a bottomless “pan”) or an 8″ springform pan for this recipe. The finished shortbread is quite tender and may not survive being lifted out whole from a standard pan (even if you fashion a parchment paper sling that works so well with brownies). A springform pan will give you the same advantage.
• Use the best cocoa powder you can. Traditional shortbread is more about texture than flavor, so to avoid a dull cookie, you’ll want to use a flavorful cocoa powder. I use a high-quality, achingly rich cocoa called Cacao Barry Extra Brute. It’s deep red and creates the most gorgeously chocolate confections.
• Grating the chocolate shortbread dough is much easier than it looks, especially if you have a food processor with a grating disk. I’m usually loathe to dirty up my food processor and attachments, but it’s completely worth it: 15 seconds and you have a recipe full of grates!
• Once in the pan, the grates are surprisingly sturdy and stay-puty, so spreading the marshmallow creme is actually quite easy. Use an offset spatula, and take generous scoops out of the jar — this will help the marshmallow creme go on and spread smoothly.
• The marshmallow creme will melt right into the shortbread grates upon baking, so don’t be surprised if that thick white, middle layer you lovingly created is much less pronounced when you slice into the baked bars. Indeed, no need to be disappointed because: the marshmallow melts into the chocolate. Just wanted to make sure that point was deliciously clear. 😉
I sliced these beautiful Chocolate Marshmallow Shortbread Bars into 8 ginormous triangles. While it’s hard to argue with an abundance of chocolate, I would actually recommend slicing them into at least 9ths or 12ths.
They’re wonderfully rich, and a four-bite square makes the perfect sweet-treat serving.
This is one of those unique desserts that’s well-suited for a party or potluck. They’re familiar enough by sight, but once bitten into, they produce those surprised, happy wide-eyes that say, “Mmmmm!”
I host Christmas evening’s festivities, and, right next to the insanely XXL charcuterie-cheese-fruit-and-nut board that I can never stop myself from putting together, will be a dessert board, featuring all kinds of cookies, two-bite pies, and Chocolate Marshmallow Shortbread Bars.
Chocolate Marshmallow Shortbread Bars
for the shortbread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons*
- 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
for the filling
- 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
- 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- confectioners sugar for dusting
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt together, set aside.
- Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade (or, better, a scraper blade) and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and sugar, and continue beating until completely incorporated, and the sugar is dissolved.
- Reduce speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix only until incorporated (do not over mix).
- Turn out the dough on cutting board, gather up into a rough mass, and then cut the dough in half. Form each half into a thick log, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Freeze the dough for about 30 minutes, until firm (but not frozen solid).
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in the center position.
- Remove one log of dough from the freezer and grate the dough on the large-hold side of a box grater (or use the grating blade on a food processor) into a 7" square cake ring or 8" springform pan.
- Gently pat the dough shreds to even it out in the pan, pushing the shreds into the corners.
- Spread the marshmallow creme over the top, using an offset spatula. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the marshmallow filling.
- Grate the second ball of dough over the filling, and pat to even out the surface.
- Bake for 40 minutes. The shortbread will probably have puffed up from the marshmallow filling - that's okay, it will settle down as it cools. Remove from oven, and immediately dust with confectioner's sugar through a sifter or small sieve. Allow the shortbread to cool in the pan, set on a rack. Cut into squares or triangles, and serve. Store, covered, at room temperature.
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