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Rich and indulgent, these naturally sweetened Chocolate Raspberry Bars feature a chewy, crumbly shortbread base, a bright and tangy homemade raspberry jelly, and luscious dark chocolate.
Well, friends, we’ve reached the end of our #SummerFruitDesserts series and the last few days of June! It honestly seems like only a week ago I was announcing this month’s theme! I thought we’d end on a high note with these Chocolate Raspberry Bars: one of my favourite combinations. I mean, really, was there any question this duo would make an appearance in a series glorifying summer fruit?
I use dark chocolate in this recipe, but these would taste delicious with white chocolate as well. (Maybe for your Canada Day party?!) The homemade raspberry jelly is definitely tart enough to take on the added sweetness of white chocolate – it’s not for the faint of heart! If you’re particularly averse to tart desserts, I would recommend adding at least 2 more tablespoons of maple syrup to increase the sweetness of the raspberry jelly. Personally, I love how the acidity of the raspberries cuts through the rich chocolate layer but to each his (or her) own!
How to make a quick homemade raspberry jelly layer
Layered bars look fancy, but I promise the components of these Chocolate Raspberry Bars are ridiculously easy and take no time at all. If you’ve never made homemade raspberry jelly before, this is a great place to start as it only requires 3 ingredients and 3 steps!
Step 1: Blitz the raspberries and maple syrup together in a food processor. You can mash the raspberries up in a bowl with a fork if you don’t have a food processor. However, this will take a lot more time, and I found that a fork doesn’t make them as smooth. If you’d prefer a smoother jelly, you can also strain the seeds out at this point, but I quite like the extra texture they give the jelly layer.
Step 2: Reduce the raspberry sauce. This will take about 10 minutes. You want to place the sauce in a pan over medium heat and gently simmer it so that the natural sugars in the fruit thicken almost to a craft glue consistency. It should lightly coat the back of a metal spoon once done.
Step 3: Whisk in the gelatin. This is no time to be gentle! Gelatin starts to seize up quickly once added to hot liquid, so you’re going to want to whisk vigorously (but safely) immediately to combine it completely.
That’s it! All that’s left is to layer the sauce over the shortbread crust and wait for it to set into a raspberry jelly in the fridge.
How to make the best chocolate raspberry bars
Here are a few more tips to ensure you serve up the best Chocolate Raspberry Bars this summer:
Please use fresh raspberries. This is a fresh summer fruit series, so it seems silly not to use what nature provides for us this time of year. I haven’t tried this recipe with frozen raspberries, so I can’t vouch it will work the same. Plus, the flavour of fresh raspberries is so unbelievable, it would be a shame to miss out, don’t you think?
Don’t have any maple syrup on hand? No worries! You can sub agave or honey for the maple syrup.
I love this layer bar with a soft, chewy shortbread base. However, if you prefer a crispier base, you can bake the shortbread a bit longer to give it a bit more bite. After the 15 minutes, I would start in 5 minute increments and watch it very closely until you achieve your desired texture. The natural sugars of the honey will make the shortbread burn much faster than refined sugar, so be sure to keep a layer of foil on hand to throw over if it starts to brown too much.
Go crazy with the chocolate and decoration! You can use a mix of milk and dark, dark with white chocolate drizzle, white chocolate with dark chocolate drizzle – the world is your oyster. Create! My favourite baking chocolate brand is Green & Black’s, because they use raw cane sugar to sweeten instead of white refined sugar.
Final chance to enter the #SummerFruitDesserts Month Giveaway! – CLOSED
If you missed my Apricot Upside Down Cake post, I’m holding a baking challenge this month to celebrate the advent of summer fruit. You can bake one (or all four!) of the recipes I publish this month and be entered for a chance to win a £/$50 Amazon gift card!
I hope you’ve loved all of the summer fruit inspired desserts we’ve made this month and have been encouraged to try to eat more seasonal produce as we head into summer! If you make this layered dessert bar, don’t forget to snap a picture and tag me on Instagram – I love seeing what you bake up and sharing your recreations in my Stories!
Looking for more naturally sweetened dessert bars recipes?
Chocolate Raspberry Bars
Naturally sweetened Chocolate Raspberry Bars, featuring a chewy shortbread base, a bright and tangy homemade raspberry jelly, and luscious dark chocolate.
- 113 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 85 g unpasteurised honey
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 125 g plain flour
- 350 g fresh raspberries washed
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 ½ tsp powdered gelatin
- 150 g good quality dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 170ºC (350ºF) and lightly grease and line a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) baking tin with non-stick paper. Leave an overhang of the paper for easy removal later.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and honey in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale.
- Add the vanilla and sea salt and mix to combine. Sift in the flour and beat until all the flour disappears.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tray, smooth to the edges, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Leave the shortbread to cool completely in the tray.
- Tip the raspberries and maple syrup into a food processor and blitz until completely smooth.
- Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat until it starts to boil. Lower to a simmer and let it bubble away until the sauce reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Once the sauce has reduced, sprinkle over the gelatin and whisk vigorously to combine. Layer the raspberry sauce evenly over the cooled shortbread crust and place in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.
- Once the raspberry jelly layer has set, melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
- Gently pour the chocolate over the jelly layer and smooth out to the edges. Place the tray back into the fridge to set the chocolate.
- Once the chocolate has solidified, remove the bars from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before slicing into 12 equal pieces and serving.
- These bars will keep sealed in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- You can make the shortbread layer up to 24 hours in advance.
- If desired, the raspberry sauce can be strained to remove the seeds after processing in the food processor.