Christmas Cookies: Dark Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookies

I rarely eat sugars and grains, and even more rarely post a recipe that uses them.  But these cookies are too good not to.  This week we get to indulge and celebrate the season and the blessings of the past year. Moreover, I don’t remove this recipe from my blog because so many gluten free/celiac peeps find me because of it. Then, hopefully they’ll try other recipes of mine and see the joys of what we all feel when we spend the rest of the year not eating sugars and grains. That’s my evil plan, and I’m sticking to it.

Years ago, I made these Dark Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars, and I gave a good many of them to my friend JoAnn Neil of Daily Cup of Jo (and her family) as a thank you for taking my child for the day. I received a call from her in hushed tones saying they were so good, she hid them from the rest of the family and ate them all by herself.

That’s what I call a testimonial.

So gather the kids around and make some homemade gluten free cookies together.  Give them away to friends…but save a few for yourself.  I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season.

Note that the shortbread crust dough could also work for any shortbread cookie or spritz cookie recipe.

Dark Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Course Sweets/Desserts
Cuisine Vegetarian



  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose GF baking flour mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk, or more to moisten crust as needed


  • 10 1/2 ounces 85% cacao dark chocolate, chopped (approx 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sea salt for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


  • Make the crust: Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter parchment, excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add GF flour, xanthan gum and table salt, and beat until just combined. Add in milk by tablespoons as needed to moisten dough.
  • Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
  • Make the chocolate caramel: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.
  • Pour mixture over shortbread crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Run a knife around edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt, and cut into bars.
Keyword celiac
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  • These look amazing! I totally dig your blog. Keep up the great work!

  • Thanks, Lori! Great to have you pop by! More xmas cookie recipes coming in the next 48 hours…yum.

  • Faith G. / Reply

    So glad to be following you and this awesome blog! Our daughter is new to GF and I am trying out a low carb, plant based diet. These recipes look yum. Keep up the funny work-we love it! Miss you!

    • Awww, thanks, sweetheart! Great to see you here, hope I can help with some recipes for you guys!!

  • Oh wow, this is my faorite treat ever. and this recipe turned out just perfect for us. Thanks for sharing.


    • It’s a yummy, indulgent treat when it’s time to splurge!
      Thanks for stopping by, Simon-

  • Anna,

    I have both your cookbooks, love them so much I bought several to give as gifts…thank you for making life so much sweeter in the kitchen! All in for NSNG…

    • You just made my day!
      If you’re all-in for NSNG, don’t make these cookies unless it’s a special occasion!


  • Rachel / Reply

    Hi Anna I’ve been eyeballing this recipe for awhile but haven’t been able to find gf baking flour in the grocery store. They either don’t carry it or they’re out of it. It happens especially when there website tells you they carry it but you NEVER EVER find it on the store! Is there a substitute I could use in this recipe for the baking flour?

    • Rachel / Reply

      A second question I had is could I use an 8×8 baking pan instead of a 9inch?

  • Rachel / Reply

    I found gf baking flour t the store finally. It helps to go to the store mid week especially when your not sure when the next shipment is.
    I can’t wait to try making this recipe.
    I think I’ll try it for Easter and see what the family thinks.
    Get going on that third book Anna!! The more recipes I have to choose from the closer I get to getting the crackers and sandwich bread out of the house.

  • This sweet treat was so good!!
    Talk about having a sweet tooth. It only took a small slice to satisfy my taste bud.
    Thanks Anna!!
    I think next time I’ll use half the chocolate it was a little to sweet for the sopping with the pan I used.

  • Topping

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