Chocolate Cherry Dream Bars

Chocolate Cherry Dream Bars

Chocolate shortbread base holds a coconut and cherry filling topped with a fudgy chocolate frosting.  A real dream of a cookie.

With Christmas just around the corner I thought I'd better start getting a few things baked and stored away in the freezer.  If you are familiar with Dream Bars you'll know what these are like, except instead of a plain or brown sugar shortbread these contain a chocolate base along with cherries in the filling.  Then they are topped with a good layer of fudgy chocolate frosting to complete this rich holiday treat.

I've had this recipe for years but can't track down its source.  I was sure one of my friends gave it to me but when I asked she had no idea what I was talking about.  So I must conclude it's one of those recipes that has always been there, ha, ha.  

I hope you enjoy these tasty bar cookies as much as we do.

Printable recipe at end of post.
Chocolate Cherry Dream Bars

Chocolate Bottom:
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature or very soft
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
How to make the bottom:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or line with parchment paper a 9x9-inch square pan. 

Mix all together until well blended and a medium stiff dough is achieved. You may have to use your hands. It should resemble shortbread dough. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut, desiccated or shredded (unsweetened if possible)
  • 1 cup glacé or maraschino cherries, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Pinch salt 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
How to make the filling:
Mix all filling ingredients together until well blended.  Spread over the prepared bottom. Bake an 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and just set in the middle.  Cool completely and spread with Fudgy Cocoa Frosting.

Fudgy Cocoa Frosting
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
How to make the frosting:
Melt butter in a saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cocoa and vanilla.  Blend in icing sugar and milk until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.

Let bars set several hours or overnight.  Cut into bars or squares and store in covered container or freeze until needed.  

Makes 24-36 bars or squares.

Make the base first.  Make sure the butter is very soft for easy mixing.

Mix until well combined.  It should look like shortbread dough. You can use a mixer but I used my hands.  

Press the dough into the prepared pan.  Make sure it is spread evenly.

Place the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Don't use an electrical mixer on this as you don't want the cherries pulverized.  I used a spoon and gave it a serious beating.

Spread the filling over the chocolate base.

Place the bars in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

 Bake until golden brown and the middle is just set. Let cool completely before frosting.

Once the bars are at room temperature make the frosting.  Melt the butter and remove from heat and mix in the cocoa and vanilla.  Gradually mix in the icing sugar and milk until you have a smooth, thick frosting.  If the cocoa or icing sugar is lumpy sift it before mixing. 

Spread the frosting over the cooled bars. You can make a fancy design on the frosting if you wish.  Let set for several hours or overnight before cutting.  Remove bars from the pan if you wish by using the overhanging parchment paper as handles to lift.

I cut some in bars...

...and I cut some in squares.

Santa approved!

Chocolate Cherry Dream Bars
Santa will have a new tune this Christmas.  
Instead of "Ho! Ho! Ho!"  He be singing "Yum! Yum! Yum!

To print click on arrow upper right side.⇩          


  1. hi lookin for a recipe for the old fashion walnut squares or bars the ones with the shortbread bottom and white icing on the top

    1. I'll look through my recipes and if I have it I'll blog the recipe. I know the square you are talking about. Really delicious.


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