Irresistible Tiramisu Shortbread Bars


Introduction to Tiramisu Shortbread Bars

Tiramisu Shortbread Bars are an innovative dessert that blends the creamy, coffee-infused delight of traditional Italian tiramisu with the buttery, crumbly texture of classic shortbread. This unique fusion creates a dessert that is both sophisticated and comforting, offering a delightful twist on two beloved classics. Ideal for those who appreciate the elegance of tiramisu but crave the simplicity and heartiness of a baked bar, these treats are perfect for a range of occasions, from casual gatherings to more formal affairs.

The appeal of Tiramisu Shortbread Bars lies in their layered complexity. At the base, a thick layer of shortbread provides a firm foundation with its rich, buttery flavor, setting the stage for the luxurious tiramisu topping. Above this, a silky layer of mascarpone cream, flavored with espresso and a hint of cocoa, offers a luscious contrast to the crisp shortbread. This combination not only merges textures but also flavors, marrying the robust coffee tones with the gentle sweetness of the shortbread.

Ingredients and Preparation

Essential Ingredients:

All-purpose flour: 1 1/2 cups
Powdered sugar: 1/2 cup
Unsalted butter: 3/4 cup, cold and cubed
Instant espresso powder: 1 tablespoon
Hot water: 1 tablespoon
Cream cheese: 8 oz, softened
Granulated sugar: 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon
Heavy cream: 1/4 cup
Cocoa powder: 2 tablespoons, for dusting


Prep: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and prep a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment.
Base: Blend flour and powdered sugar, cut in butter until crumbly, press into pan, and bake until golden.
Filling: Dissolve espresso in water, mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and cream, then add espresso.
Assemble: Spread the filling over cooled base and chill until set.
Finish: Dust with cocoa, slice, and serve!
Total Time: About 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 16 bars

Serving and Storage

Serving and storing Tiramisu Shortbread Bars correctly is crucial for maintaining their ideal texture and flavor. Here are some tips on how to present these delightful treats at their best and keep them fresh.

Best Practices for Serving

  1. Presentation: To enhance their visual appeal, serve the Tiramisu Shortbread Bars on an elegant platter. Before serving, you can dust them lightly with cocoa powder or drizzle with a coffee-flavored glaze to reinforce the tiramisu theme and add a touch of sophistication.
  2. Serving Temperature: These bars are best enjoyed at room temperature. If they have been refrigerated, let them sit out for about 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to become more pronounced and the texture to soften slightly, enhancing the creamy contrast to the shortbread base.
  3. Cutting: For clean, sharp cuts, use a knife with a thin blade and wipe it clean between slices. This ensures that each bar looks neat and inviting, with distinct layers visible.

Storage Recommendations

  1. Short-Term Storage: Tiramisu Shortbread Bars should be stored in an airtight container to keep them fresh. If kept at room temperature, they can last for 2-3 days. Make sure the container is sealed well to prevent the bars from drying out or absorbing any odors from the environment.
  2. Refrigeration: For longer storage, these bars can be refrigerated for up to a week. When refrigerating, place a sheet of parchment paper between layers of bars to prevent them from sticking together and to protect their delicate tiramisu topping from being damaged.
  3. Freezing: If you need to store the bars for an extended period, they freeze well. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a heavy-duty freezer bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. To serve, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and then bring them to room temperature for optimal flavor and texture.

FAQs About Tiramisu Shortbread Bars

Tiramisu Shortbread Bars, with their unique blend of flavors and textures, often spark curiosity and questions from both experienced bakers and novices. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions that can help you perfect your dessert and troubleshoot common issues.

1. Can I use instant coffee instead of espresso?
Yes, you can substitute espresso with strong-brewed instant coffee in Tiramisu Shortbread Bars. While espresso provides a deeper coffee flavor, instant coffee is a suitable alternative. Use a robust blend to ensure that the coffee flavor comes through in the creamy mascarpone layer.

2. How do I prevent the shortbread base from becoming too hard or chewy?
The key to a perfect shortbread base is not overworking the dough and not overbaking it. Mix the dough until just combined, and keep an eye on the oven as it bakes. The shortbread should be light golden and still slightly soft to the touch; it will firm up as it cools.

3. What’s the best way to layer the flavors so that each stands out?
To ensure each flavor layer has its moment, balance the quantities carefully. Use a clear layering process: start with a firm shortbread base, followed by a not-too-thick layer of the coffee-infused mascarpone to ensure the coffee flavor permeates. Top with a lighter layer of cocoa or chocolate shavings for a distinct finish.

4. Can I make Tiramisu Shortbread Bars in advance?
Yes, these bars  benefit from being made in advance as this allows the flavors to meld together beautifully. You can prepare them up to two days before your event and store them in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This makes them a great option for events or gatherings where you need to manage your time effectively.

5. Are there any variations of this recipe for those with dietary restrictions?
For gluten-free Tiramisu Shortbread Bars, substitute the flour in the shortbread with a gluten-free blend. For a dairy-free version, use vegan butter and a plant-based cream cheese alternative. Note that substitutions may slightly alter the texture and flavor, so it might require some experimentation to get it just right.

6. How do I cut the bars cleanly without disturbing the layers?
For clean cuts, use a sharp knife with a thin blade, and dip it in hot water and wipe it clean between each cut. This method helps to slice through the layers neatly, preserving the integrity of each layer.


Tiramisu Shortbread Bars are a delightful dessert that combines the rich, coffee-infused elegance of tiramisu with the comforting crunch of shortbread. This fusion creates a unique treat that appeals to a wide range of tastes and preferences, making it a versatile choice for various occasions, from formal gatherings to cozy family dinners.

The process of making Tiramisu Shortbread Bars is as enjoyable as it is rewarding. It allows bakers to explore the art of layering flavors and textures to create a dessert that is both visually appealing and delicious. Each layer—from the buttery shortbread to the creamy mascarpone and the final dusting of cocoa—adds its distinct character to the bars, making every bite a complex and enjoyable experience.

These bars not only serve as a testament to culinary creativity but also offer the opportunity for personalization. Whether adapting the recipe to meet dietary needs or adding a personal touch with different flavors or toppings, Tiramisu Shortbread Bars are a canvas for expression through baking.

In conclusion, whether you are a seasoned baker looking for a new challenge or a beginner eager to impress, Tiramisu Shortbread Bars offers the perfect blend of sophistication and simplicity. So gather your ingredients, embrace the process, and prepare to indulge in a dessert that is sure to delight and satisfy.


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