Candy Cane Chocolate Cookie Bar

On the fourth day of Christmas, there was peppermint + chocolate, a match made in the North Pole. When I say I love chocolate and peppermint together, that means that I can easily eat an entire tin of Williams-Sonoma peppermint bark by myself. That’s $40 well spent, my friend. Now, I’m pretty sure at one point you’d have never been able to convince me that there was anything better than that combination. Once Bon Appetit added shortbread to the equation, however, I was hooked. I say the word “shortbread” the way Garfield says “lasagna.” This easy-as-all-get-out Dark Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread bar cookie has a tender, buttery, classic shortbread base under a bittersweet chocolate layer and is sprinkled with shards of candy canes. Yes, please.

The original recipe has a finish of melted white chocolate, but I omitted it to let the bittersweet chocolate shine in all its chocolatey glory.

Never thought smashing candy canes could be so therapeutic

My two favorite moments in making this decadent treat are 1) getting out all my aggression by smashing the candy canes by hand and 2) smoothing the melted chocolate all over the shortbread. One of the things that makes this recipe so easy (and part of the reason I skip the white chocolate) is that there’s no melting chocolate step. Chocolate can be fickle, and if you’re dealing with high quality (read: expensive) chocolate, the last thing you want to do is burn it or have it seize. The latter can be fixed; the former is bound for the garbage. So instead of painstakingly melting chocolate in a double boiler or being a loose cannon and melting it in the microwave (I’ll let you guess which one is my method), you just sprinkle the chocolate over the shortbread immediately after it comes out of the oven, pop it back in for a minute, and then out comes glossy, melted chocolate you need only to spread over the cookie base. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top and chill until set, and you’ve got yourself an easy Christmas cookie to bring to a party, give as gifts, or (who are we kidding) eat on the couch while watching Elf.

The chips retain their shape, but an offset spatula does the trick.

Go on, you know you want to make these.

Peppermint Chocolate Shortbread
3.72 from 7 votes

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread

What is better than dark chocolate, shortbread and candy canes? Not

Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24
Author Amanda



  • Nonstick spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 9 unwrapped peppermint candy canes



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare pan: spray 13x9x2-inch metal or glass baking pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on both sides of pan.
  3. Put candy canes in a plastic gallon-sized bag and whack with the back of a heavy metal measuring cup (or any other metal tool) until candy canes are smashed but still in pieces (not dust).
  4. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes.
  6. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk.
  7. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.
  8. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly.
  9. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.
  10. Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 40 minutes. Place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over.
  11. Return pan to oven for one minute.
  12. Using offset spatula (recommended) or the back of a spoon, spread the chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over.
  13. Chill until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
  14. Using paper overhang as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface. Using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in refrigerator in airtight containers between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper.
Peppermint Chocolate Shortbread
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread