Easy Creamy Chocolate Cherry Fluff Bars Dessert

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Single piece of creamy chocolate cherry fluff bars with almond shortbread crust.

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Republished January 25, 2024

Creamy Chocolate Cherry Fluff Bars with Shortbread Crust are filled with sweet, juicy cherries, dark chocolate chunks, and a sprinkle of sliced almonds on top. It’s a beautiful dessert for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and hot summer barbecues. This cold and creamy chocolate cherry bars recipe combines two favorite treats, creamy cherry fluff and a crisp and delicious shortbread cookie bottom. This is an easy dessert that hits all the sweet spots when you’re looking for something special to make.

Easy creamy chocolate cherry fluff bars in a glass baking dish with sliced almonds and chocolate chunks on top. On a blue and white plaid towel.

Why You’ll Love Chocolate Cherry Fluff Bars 

  • Taste and Texture: The cherry flavor in this great recipe is enhanced with layers of delicious almond essence and crunch. Dark chocolate adds a smooth, rich layer, and the almond shortbread crust adds a cookie snap that compliments the creamy, cream cheese cherry fluff.
  • Two Desserts in One: These bars are like a big scoop of creamy ice cream on top of a crunchy, soft shortbread cookie. The shortbread balances out the sweet cherry chocolate mixture, so you get the best of both cravings!!
  • Easy Make Ahead Recipe: Cherry Fluff Bars is one of those easy recipes that can be made days in advance and stored in the freezer. The cherry mixture won’t make the crust soggy when stored cold and can simply be transferred to the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

What You’ll Need for Chocolate Cherry Fluff Bars 

  • Sweet Cherries: You will need sweet Bing cherries for this recipe. Tart cherries will not be sweet enough. You can also use a ready-made can of cherry pie filling. Jarred maraschino cherries should not be used to make the filling. But you could use them for a topping.
  • Chocolate Bar: This recipe calls for dark chocolate but milk chocolate or white chocolate would also be delicious. Semisweet chocolate chips can be substituted for a chocolate bar making this recipe more like cold and fluffy chocolate chip cherry bars.
  • Cool Whip, Whipping Cream, and Cream Cheese: These ingredients add creamy, rich flavors and texture.
  • Sugars: Both granulated pure cane sugar and confectioner’s sugar are used.
  • Oats: Quick oats add a layer of crunch and fiber to the shortbread crust
  • Sliced Almonds: Almonds and cherries are delicious together. 
  • Lemon: Lemon juice to cherry pie filling balanced out the sugar. It adds a subtle citrus layer.
  • Butter: Butter makes everything better. It helps the cherry filling congeal.
  • Almond Extract and Cardamom: Almonds and cherries are the perfect pair together. Cardamom adds a very subtle spicy tone to the crust. Omit this seasoning if you don’t have it on hand.
Homemade cherry pie filling in a white bowl on a yellow and white striped towel.

Simple Ingredients

Cherry Pie Filling

  • 2 cans sweet Bing cherries, canned dark cherries are the same as Bing cherries 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon, large
  • 2 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/2 stick butter, cold

Shortbread Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp cardamon spice, optional
  • 1 cup cold butter, (2 sticks) cubed

Whipped Topping Ingredients

  • 1 large tub of Cool Whip
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream, or more if needed
  • 1 large chocolate bar of your choice, I used a Baker’s Baking Chocolate Bar

How to Make Creamy Chocolate Cherry Bars

How to Make Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

  • Step One: Drain 2 cans of cherries reserving 1 cup of the cherry juice, and set the cherries aside. Combine sugar, cherry juice, and 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a medium saucepan. 
  • Step Two: Whisk over low heat until the cornstarch has dissolved. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the cherries. Stir until the mixture starts to thicken.
  • Step Three: When the cherry mixture is thick like heavy syrup, add 1/2 the juice of one large lemon, 1/2 of butter (1/4 cup), and 2 tsp of almond extract. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 4 minutes. The cherry mixture should be the consistency of loose jelly.
  • Step Four: Transfer to a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until ready to use.
homemade cherry pie filling 2 picture collage.

Shortbread Crust

  • While Cherry Pie Filling is cooling. Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Step One: Add cubed cold butter to the dry ingredients in the processor. Pulse about 5 or 6 times until the ingredients turn into a crumble. The result should be a moist, buttery, coarse meal.
  • Step Two: Spray the bottom and sides of a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place the crumb mixture in the glass baking dish. Level out the mixture to cover the bottom of the dish.

2 pic collage of almond shortbread crust mixture.
  • Step Three: Firmly press the crumb mixture down using the palms of your hands and fingers. Make sure you go up the sides of the pan with the dough to make crust edges. Make the thickness as uniform throughout as possible. Note: You can also use a flat-bottomed cup like the bottom of the measuring scoop, or a glass-bottomed drinking glass.

Almond shortbread crust in a glass 9x13 pan before it's baked.
  • Step Four: Bake uncovered at 350° for 15-20 mins. Or until golden brown on the edges and middle. Note: baking time will vary.
  • Step Five: Let sit for about 20 minutes to cool.
  • Note: This cooks longer than you would if you were adding a filling that needed to be cooked again in the crust.
Almond shortbread crust in a glass 9x13 pan after it's baked.

While Almond Shortbread Crust is baking make the whipped topping.

  • Step One: In a large bowl, Cream the confectioner’s sugar and the softened cream cheese together using an electric mixer on low speed. 
  • Step Two: Add the extract.
  • Step Three: Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream a little at a time until it is creamy and has a fluffy icing consistency.
  • Step Four: With a rubber spatula, fold in half of the cherry filling into the cream cheese whip. Fold in half of the room-temperature cool whip tub. 
  • Step Five: Repeat folding in the remaining cherry filling and cool whip. Mix until just swirled and mixed. Be careful not to overmix.

collage of cherry pie filling and cool whip and cream cheese mixture.

  • Step Six: Add the cherry cream cheese mixture to the cooled pie crust and gently spread it across the bottom of the crust. 
  • Step Seven: Break up the chocolate bar into chunks, I use a meat malate or the back of a knife. On top of the cherry layer, dot with chocolate bar chunks.
  • Step Eight: Cover loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place in the freezer for about 4 hours. Then let it sit for about 10 minutes on the counter before cutting.
Creamy Chocolate cherry fluff with a shortbread crust in a clear glass baking dish before it's frozen.

Easy Substitutions and Tips

If you want to make this but don’t have the time to make every step from scratch here are a few helpful ideas.

  • Use a can of cherry pie filling and add the lemon juice and almond extract that the recipe calls for. Doesn’t need to be heated.
  • Semisweet chocolate chips or white chocolate chips can be substituted for a chocolate bar.
  • Instead of making the almond shortbread crust, use a store-bought graham cracker crust. You’ll probably need two for all the cherry fluff.
  • You could also use plain graham crackers as a “crust”. Line a cookie sheet with the crackers and spread the cherry fluff on top. Freeze as instructed.

How To Store Creamy Cherry Fluff Bars

These cold cherry bars should be stored in the freezer with plastic wrap temporarily. If you need to store them longer, cut them into serving pieces and place in an airtight container. These bars store frozen for 2 months.

Side view of a piece of chocolate cherry fluff bars with shortbread crust on a glass dessert plate.

More Sweet Recipes You’ll Love

Crazy good Lemon Bars with Almond Shortbread Crust! These are made with the same delicious Almond Shortbread Crust

Best No Bake Banana Pudding Recipe with Cream Cheese

One-of-a-kind Best Homemade Chocolate Pecan Fudge Recipe.

No-Bake Orange Cream Chilled Cast Iron Pie This is one of those “love” treats.

Cherry Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Elise
Beautiful Cherry Pie filling with cream cheese and Cool Whip on a delicious Shortbread Crust
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 14
Calories 276 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cherry Pie Filling

  • 2 cans sweet bing cherries do not drain
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon, large
  • 2 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/2 stick butter

Shortbread Crust

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp cardamon spice
  • 1 cup cold butter, (2 sticks) cubed

Remaining Ingredients

  • 1 large tub Cool Whip
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream or more if needed
  • 1 large chocolate bar of your choice, I used a Baker's Baking Chocolate Bar…in the baking section.

Instructions
 

Cherry Pie Filling

  • Place cherries with 1 can of juice, sugar, and corn starch in a medium sized heavy bottomed stove top pan. Stir while heating on medium until it starts thickening.
    2 cans sweet bing cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup corn starch
  • When thick like heavy syrup, add lemon juice, extract, and butter. Turn down to low and let simmer for about 4 minutes. Should be consistency of loose jelly.
    1/2 fresh squeezed lemon, large, 2 tsp Almond Extract, 1/2 stick butter
  • Chill in fridge for about 20 minutes or until ready to use.

Shortbread Crust

  • While Cherry Pie Filling is cooling. Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place the flour, oats, confectioner's sugar, almonds, cardemon in a food processor and pulse for about 2 seconds…just to incorporate everything.
    2 1/4 cup flour, 1 cup quick oats, 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 3/4 cup sliced almonds, 1 tsp cardamon spice
  • Add the cold cubed butter and pulse until everything is mixed, crumbly but holds together in your hands.
    1 cup cold butter, (2 sticks) cubed
  • Butter or spray oil a 9"x13" glass pyrex pan.
  • Dump flour mixture into center of pan and spread out evenly. Mold mixture to sides and bottom until it is firm and packed.
  • Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. It is done when just turning golden brown on the bottom and edges are a little darker. Let cool until room temperature.
  • Note: You cook this longer than you would if you were adding a filling that needed to be cooked again in the crust.

Assembly

  • Cream the confectioner's sugar and cream cheese together.
    1 cup confectioner's sugar, 8 oz cream cheese
  • Add the extract. Then add the whipping cream a little at a time until it is creamy and has an icing consistency.
    1 tsp Almond Extract, 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Fold in the half the cherry filling to the cream cheese whip. Fold in half the cool whip. Then repeat until all folded in. Be careful not to overmix.
    1 large tub Cool Whip
  • Add the cherry cream cheese mixture to the cooled pie crust and gently spread across all of the crust. Break up the chocolate bar into chunks, I used a malat but you can use the back of a knife. Dot with chocolate bar chunks and crumbs.
    1 large chocolate bar of your choice, I used a Baker's Baking Chocolate Bar…in the baking section.
  • Set it in the freezer for about 4 hours. Then let it sit for about 10 minutes on the counter before cutting.
  • Enjoy!!!

Nutrition

Calories: 276kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 5gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 80mgPotassium: 110mgFiber: 2gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 443IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cherry, chocolate chip cookie bars, Cool Whip, Cream Cheese, shortbread crust
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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