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Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars with Citrus

A delicious shortbread cookie that’s been converted into a bar; full of mini chocolate chips and hints of bright citrus tangelo flavor! These Shortbread Bars are great for large cookie swaps since it makes 4 dozen, and will disappear off your trays faster than you can say HoHoHo!

It’s here!!!! Our first day of our Christmas Baking Frenzy for 2019, and I know you guys are just as excited as I am to see all the delicious treats coming up over the next 2 weeks! Be sure to check our previous years Baking Frenzies to help you prepare your baking schedule for this busy time of year.

Now, if you love a traditional chocolate chip shortbread cookie you are going to LOVE our bar version.

White plate full of delicious shortbread bars surrounded by chocolate chips

Be sure to PIN THIS RECIPE so you have it for later!

Shortbread bars and cookie dough batter long pin

Shortbread bars and Christmas memories

If you’ve been following along with us since we started our annual Baking Frenzy (all the way back to 2015!) then you know that we love to create memories every year by baking up a storm of delicious treats to share with family and friends.

Each and every year we go back to some of our classics like our Chocolate Brownie Biscotti, Italian Amaretti and of course my personal fave our Whipped Shortbread Cookies and as always we whip up new tasty cookies for you to enjoy as well!

That’s where these flaky Shortbread Bars come in. I knew I wanted to make shortbread cookies but I didn’t want to stick with my traditional ones this time around and as soon as I saw the bright orange tangelo staring at me from the crisper I knew exactly what I was going to do! Talk about an amazing flavor combination – sweet chocolate, rich flaky shortbread and zesty citrus.

Freshly baked and uncut shortbread bars in baking sheet to cool

Homemade Shortbread Bar FAQS

Here are some of the questions you guys have asked about making shortbread cookies over the years – if you have a question that isn’t here feel free to leave a comment or email us and we will respond as soon as we can!

Should you chill shortbread before baking?

With traditional shortbread cookies they will almost always tell you to chill your dough first, but with all of our shortbreads we have made we do not require or recommend it! For these bars specifically I have found that they come out perfectly flaky and melt in your mouth when they are baked right away. Saving time is always a bonus when working on our Christmas baking so let’s avoid an unnecessary step mmm-kay?

Why is my Shortbread Chewy?

Overworking your dough is most likely the culprit – but it might not be the only one. I have found that the more you work a shortbread dough the more chewy it will become; you want to mix it and press it into your pan with as little kneading as possible to ensure the butter doesn’t melt into the other ingredients. This helps to keep it light and flaky and will avoid the chewy texture. Secondly; you want to ensure that your butter is not TOO cold when making these shortbread bars to make it easier for the butter to incorporate itself as it bakes.

Is Shortbread still Soft when Cooked?

Shortbread will have a soft, pillowy feel to the center of it when finished baking. You will want to make sure that it is lightly golden on top and a little deeper golden around the edges of the pan to ensure the perfect shortbread texture – light, flaky and melt in your mouth delicious.

More Great Cookie Recipes

We love cookies so much and want to show you some of our favorite ones to enjoy!

Gingerbread Biscotti

Rows of freshly baked Gingerbread Biscotti Cookies cooling on a rack

Wonderfully spiced and perfectly sweet, this biscotti cookie is going to be a new favorite for your cookie swaps.

Chocolate Orange Whipped Shortbread

Freshly baked Shortbread Cookies with chocolate pieces on top - placed on baking sheet

This shortbread cookie melts in your mouth and gives way to a subtle orange flavor that is throughout the cookie,

Christmas Sugar Cookies, a gingerbread man and giant swirled candy

A perfectly buttery cookie with the right amount of sweetness and decorated for the season! A fun cookie recipe to get the kids involved with to make it their own!

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To get the right thickness for your Shortbread Bars you have got to have the perfect baking sheet

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars with Citrus

Easy Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

A delicious, melt in your mouth shortbread bar filled with chocolate chips and tangy tangelo citrus!
Course Christmas Baking, Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine English
Keyword Bar Recipes, Shortbread, Shortbread Cookies
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 50 bars
Author Melissa


  • Electric or Stand Mixer


  • 2 cups Butter – softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Fresh Tangelo Juice *can use other citrus like orange, clementine etc
  • 4 tsp Freshly grated zest from Tangelo
  • 1 cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 4 ½ cups Flour


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet (focusing on the edges) and place a sheet of parchment down to prevent any sticking.
  • Combine sugar with tangelo juice and zest – add in softened butter and mix until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the flour and beat at low speed until it resembles a crumb mixture. Add chocolate chips and use the "stir" function on your mixer or a wooden spoon to mix until JUST incorporated.
  • Turn dough out onto your baking sheet and press evenly – we used a small rolling pin to ensure it was even across the pan, but using the palms of your hands works well too!
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until the edges are a light golden brown. Top will still look pale but should have some golden brown to it.
  • Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. We got 50 bars from this recipe based off our size – you can choose to cut smaller or larger based off your own preference.

Step by Step Making of Shortbread Bars

Mixing bowl with citrus juice, zest and sugar

Begin by adding tangelo juice and zest to your sugar.

Whipped butter and sugar in mixing bowl

Add in butter and mix until well combined and fluffy.

Mixing bowl with shortbread bar cookie dough

Add flour and chocolate chips – mix until just combined and crumbly.

Gently press dough into your prepared baking sheet and place in 350 F oven for 20-25 minutes until they are slightly golden brown.

Remove from oven when they are slightly golden brown, allow to cool before cutting.

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