chocolate-cherry tart bars (no mixer, one bowl easy)

It was interesting and comforting to receive emails from some of you telling me you loved the "no mixer" recipes I shared.
Definitely comforting as I always felt like the oddball for not having a mixer.
I want one, just don't have the money for one.
Other priorities pop up in life, and the luxury of buying a mixer gets thrown on the back burner yet again.
And you see that book ---> "Baking By Hand"  yes that one, I can relate!
Every year I promise myself I'll get one, and I even post here that I will, but it never happens, so in the mean time I'm more than happy to keep creating "no mixer" and "one bowl" easy recipes.
I think you guys like it too.

These chocolate-cherry tart bars are pretty much like a cross between a shortbread and tart, definitely have the taste and feel of a rich chocolate shortbread.
I wanted to freshen them up a bit with some cherry jam and a hint of texture and crunch with toasted sliced almonds.  You can get creative and use whatever jam you like.
So easy to put together.
As long as you don't mind using your clean hands to mix the dough.
I actually prefer using my hands to mix breads, shortbreads, pastry, and cookie doughs.
You get a better feel for the dough and you have a less chance of over-mixing/over-working the dough.
No one will ever know that you threw this together with no mixer, in one bowl and in minutes.
IMG_2158 (1)
Such a pretty tart isn't it?
For me, making it in a round form makes it more fancy schmancy.

chocolate-cherry tarts bars
recipe from vanillasugarblog.com
print recipe

19 TB unsalted butter, cold
1 cup granulated sugar
3 TB unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch process)
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ ts baking powder
1 ts sea salt

jam filling:
¼ cup +/- of cherry jam

Toasted, sliced almonds for decoration & crunch

Cook notes: I did not use a mixer for this as I don’t have one, but feel free to use one.
Just don’t over-work the dough.  You can use any jam you like, I wanted to see if cherry would go well with this and it did. Don’t spread the jam to the edges, it will ooze out when baking and make it very hard to remove tart from pan.
I used a 9 inch cake pan, you can use an 8 inch or other tart pan if you have one.
If you're kitchen runs really hot or it's summer, after you've assembled raw tart, pop in fridge for a few minutes to firm up before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter and/or non-stick spray up  8-inch cake pan.
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Next add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt right on top of the creamed butter. Using your hands mix until you have everything ‘just’ mixed.  It might be a little dry, and that’s fine.
Take your greased cake pan, spread out 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the pan, making sure to get all the sides well covered. Please make sure to push this down, so there are no cracks. If you do get a crack, just pinch the dough together.
Next spread down a layer of the cherry jam, not letting it get to the edges.
Take remaining 1/3 of dough and making giant crumbs (by squeezing clumps of dough) and place on top.  No need to cover the top completely, we want to see the jam on top and the giant crumbs on top will make a nice crispy topping.
If you want to use almonds, sprinkle a handful or two on the top.
Bake the dough for 23-30 minutes, until the tops of the crumbs are lightly crisp; the dough will still be a bit soft, so let it sit for about 30-60 minutes to firm up.
Once it’s cooled and firm, carefully remove tart from pan using a frosting knife or thin spatula.
Use a sharp knife to slice into wedges.


  1. I lived without a mixer for many years, and then I won a KitchenAid and I don't know how I lived without it for some things. Keep on making these recipes as many of us feel the love.

  2. Last week I made choc cherry brownies with cherry jam. I am loving this flavor combo lately and GREAT job on the tart. No mixer, one bowl, not fussy. Amen girl :) Merry Xmas!!! xo

  3. I love baking without a mixer...makes me feel like I'm really MAKING something. 19 tbs of butter? So, low fat? ;) Worth it- they look amazing!

  4. Yay for no mixer! I technically own a mixer, but it doesn't fit under my cabinets, so it doesn't get much (read: any) use, and I'm always looking for good recipes sans required mixer. And this one sounds fabulous! Clearly the best use for jam ever. ;)

  5. Whoa! Easy peasy! I love this. I bet it tastes great too. Thanks! And Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  6. I am always amazed at all you do without a mixer!! Keep the awesome recipes coming! Chocolate and fruit are perfect for each other - case in point. Happy holidays love!!

  7. I love the process of baking by hand and getting into the 'dough' of the matter... Absolutely love this recipe! The idea of a mix between shortbread and tart won my heart! Have a super wonderful Christmas week!!

  8. Around Christmastime, I am always needing to wash out my mixer to make something else. I love that there is no need for that in this recipe. Happy holidays :)

  9. Terry Covington12/24/13, 1:55 PM

    I'm sure mixers are great and convenient. But there is a lot to be said for the satisfaction of baking something by hand. And if it's bread dough, it's fun! Great way to get out your frustrations. :-) Thanks for the recipes.

  10. This looks delicious. Have a wonderful holiday!

  11. Looks absolutely delicious. Merry Christmas!

  12. Easy so totally works for me. These look terrific. I hope you're having a wonderful holiday!

  13. These look very festive and awesome! Great idea!

  14. Looks so simple and delicious!

  15. Whether you have a mixer or not-anything one bowl, no mixer is great! And these look spectacular! Hope you had a great holiday, Dawn!

  16. I am a huge fan of your no mixer recipes. You inspire me to keep mine there in the corner quiet and to work out my arms a little more while making a delicious treat! I hope you had a nice Christmas, my friend. xo

  17. ooh, i made a small batch of raspberry jam that this would be amazing in!!

  18. Yay for no mixer recipes! I want a slice of this right now... :)

  19. Love the addition of cherry jam! I mix things by hand often, but with a spoon or spatula so I don't get nail polish in the food ;)

  20. cherries and almonds make a great pair, though i'm not sure i could part with my cherry jam for any reason other than biscuits or toast--i love that pure flavor. nice recipe, dawn!


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