Chocolate Chip Dream Bars

The gluten-free bar cookie dreams are made of! A brown sugar shortbread base and a chocolatey toffee-like chewy (gooey when it's warm!) topping. And they are super simple to make, using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com
Chocolate Chip Dream Bars

Easy recipe for the yummiest, decadent gluten-free bar-cookie!

So excited to share our new favorite bar cookie… Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Dream Bars!

Recipe adapted from my aunt, who adapted it from a King Arthur Flour cookbook, they have been on repeat in our house the last few weeks!

It is a really simple recipe, using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and it comes together quickly.

And they are soooooo yummy!

A brown sugar shortbread base and a chocolatey toffee-like chewy (gooey when it’s warm!) topping…. what’s not to love?

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

I did a little research and found out that Dream Bars actually originated during the Great Depression when people were badly in need of sweet dreams… feels a bit ironic that I’m sharing them for the first time during a pandemic…

Along those lines, it is no surprise that these Gluten-Free Dream Bars remind me of my grandmother’s Magic Bars (which I need to share with you!) but have a shortbread base rather than a graham cracker crust.

So let’s make them!

First we need to make the brown sugar shortbread base…

It’s just 4 ingredients and comes together quickly.

You’ll need butter or dairy free butter, brown sugar, gluten-free all purpose flour (we use GFJules – affiliate link), and salt.

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

As an aside, you may have noticed that we are affiliate for GFJules.  To learn more about why we love GFJules flour and why we have used it for 10 years, click here. Bonus: at the bottom of that post is a one-time use affiliate Discount Code.

And importantly, purchasing through an affiliate link does not change your cost at all. It generates a small percentage of the sale for me, and purchasing through an affiliate link helps me fund this website and all the recipes I share, so thank you!

Back to the Gluten-Free Dream Bars….

To make the shortbread base, all you do is cream the butter (make sure it’s softened to room temp) and brown sugar, then add in the flour and salt and mix until a dough forms.

As I am often asked, I made this in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer (Amazon affiliate link). If you followed me a while, you know I use our Kitchen Aid for everything and have had the same one for yearrrrs.

Press the batter into a pan either lined in parchment paper or greased and floured. And bake 10 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

When you take out after 10 minutes, it may not look “fully” baked but it’s perfect.

Just note the the shortbread base cooks at 300 degrees F and the topping at 325 degrees, so after you remove the base from the oven, also raise the temperature.

Meanwhile, while the base cooks, put together the top layer.

The top layer is chewy, and gooey when warm, and tastes like a combination of a chocolate chip blondie and a toffee-bar and is sooooo yummy!

You’ll need brown sugar, gluten-free all purpose flour (we use GFJules – affiliate link), 1 egg, baking powder, unsweetened shredded coconut (I always use Let’s Do Organic Brand (amazon affiliate link), diced walnuts (or pecans or nut of choice), and semi-sweet chocolate chips (I’ve made them with both Nestle semi-sweet chips and enjoy life dairy free chocolate chips (amazon affiliate link)).

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

This too come together quickly.

You first mix the brown sugar, flour and baking powder. Then you add in the egg. Then add in the coconut, walnuts and chocolate chips.

The topping will be very thick.

Top baked shortbread base with the topping by spooning it on and then spreading with a spoon or spatula.

Top with extra chocolate chips if desired (always in my house!) and bake!

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

That’s it!

25 minutes later, your house will smell amazing and you’ll have the yummiest Dream Bar ever!

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

If you eat them warm (even though you’ll be tempted, let them cool a little so don’t burn your mouth!), the topping with be not only chewy but a little gooey with lots of melty chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Dream Bars gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

Hope you love them as much as we do!

Scroll down for recipe and leave a comment if you make them.

Recipe

 

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5 from 4 votes

Dream Bars

The gluten-free bar cookie dreams are made of! A brown sugar shortbread base and a chocolatey toffee-like chewy (gooey when it's warm!) topping. And they are super simple to make, using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert, Cookies/ Bars
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Optional
Keyword: easy gluten free dessert recipe, easy gluten-free cookie recipe, easy gluten-free baking, gluten free bar cookies, gluten-free dream bars
Servings: 16 bars
Author: Healthy Gluten-free Family

Ingredients

Cookie Layer

  • 5 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter softened to room temp
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed * *1/4 cup for less sweet cookie layer
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons gluten-free all purpose* we use GFJules - affiliate link *2/3 cup for less sweet cookie layer
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Top Layer

  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free all purpose flour we used GFJules - affiliate link
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup diced walnuts or pecans or your favorite nut
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or dairy-free chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degree F and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper OR grease and flour the pan.

Make the cookie layer

  • Cream butter and brown sugar till well combined and smooth.
  • Add flour and salt and mix till well combined.
  • Press batter in the prepared pan, spreading it out.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees F.

When cookie base comes out of oven, raise oven temperature to 325 degrees F

    Brownie top layer

    • While the cookie layer bakes, mix together the top layer
    • Wipe the mixing bowl clean and using the same bowl, combine brown sugar, flour and baking powder.
    • Add egg and mix until well combined.
    • Add in coconut, nuts and chocolate chips and mix till well combined. Batter will be thick.
    • In big spoonfuls, spoon the batter on to the cooked base layer (remember the pan will be hot! You can let the base layer/pan cool a bit and it will be fine) and use the spoon or spatula to spread it out evenly.
    • Top with extra chocolate chips as desired.
    • Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
    • Let cool, remove parchment paper from the pan to lift out the baked bars and cut into 16 pieces.
    • Enjoy!
    • Store in a sealed container at room temperature for several days.

    Notes

    *for a less sweet cookie base, use 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed and 2/3 cup cup gluten-free flour.
    Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyGFFamily or tag #HealthyGFFamily!

     

    20 thoughts on “Chocolate Chip Dream Bars

    1. Hi there!

      Have you tried any other GF flours? I am wondreing if brown rice flour could be subsitutued instead.

      Thank you!

      1. Great question! I’ve only ever made these with GFJules all purpose gluten-free flour. That said, flour is not the main ingredient making this recipe work so might be able to try another flour such as brown rice flour but as I’ve never tried it, I can’t be certain of the texture. Let me know if you try.

    2. I made these for guests last night and they were devoured! I didn’t have gluten-free flour so used white all-purpose. Instead of walnuts, I used candied pecans from Trader Joe’s broken into pieces. The bars were chewy, crunchy, savory and melt-in-mouth delicious. I’m making again tonight! Thanks Karen – I love your recipes!

    3. 5 stars
      I made these for guests last night and they were devoured! I didn’t have gluten-free flour so used white all-purpose. Instead of walnuts, I used candied pecans from Trader Joe’s broken into pieces. I didn’t top with extra chips – thought the chips in the brownie top layer mix were the perfect amount. These bars were chewy, crunchy, savory and melt-in-mouth delicious. I’m making again tonight! Thanks Karen – I love your recipes!

    4. These were the BEST bars ever! So delicious and they FLEW off the plate. More non-GF people ate them then GF people 🙂 10/10 will be making again

    5. 5 stars
      OMG these are so delicious! These bars are very rich, extremely delicious and addictive. I did have a bit of a challenge while spreading the shortbread but had an easier time once I buttered my hands. I will definitely make this again and again and again!!!!

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