Yummy toffee bars are a cross between a shortbread cookie bar and English toffee ~ the result is a cookie-candy bar hybrid that’s perfect for the holidays!
These toffee bars are the cookie bar version of English toffee, combining a buttery butterscotch cookie base with the chocolatey walnut topping we love in toffee. The recipe is truly vintage, coming straight from the 1963 edition of Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. These are the cookies your mom or grandmom probably made. I had fun leafing through the book because things have definitely changed in the recipe publishing world since the early 1960s, but many of the cookies, like these toffee bars, have stood the test of time. These nutty chocolate cookies are a perfect addition to a holiday cookie assortment, but we just like to stack them next to a glass of milk and watch them disappear.
ingredients you’ll need for toffee bars
- brown sugar
- egg yolk
- for this recipe you’ll want chocolate bars that you can break into squares, I used classic Hershey bars, which are the ideal thickness. Dark or milk chocolate will work. You can probably use chocolate chips, as long as you add them to the crust right out of the oven so there is enough heat to melt them.
- toast them while the shortbread base is baking, then chop them finely. This little extra step makes a big difference in the flavor of these cookie bars.
- all purpose flour
- these toffee bars can be made gluten free using a good quality all purpose gf baking mix, but the texture of the crust will be softer.
- vanilla extract
making toffee bars, step by step
Definitely get the kids involved if you’ve got any around, they’ll love to arrange the chocolate squares on the hot shortbread and watch as they turn into a glossy chocolatey river at the swipe of an offset spatula. What could be more fun than that?
- Bake the shortbread base.
- Arrange chocolate squares over the hot, just baked shortbread.
- Wait a couple of minutes for the chocolate to start to soften. You’ll see it change color and get glossy.
- Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate across the surface. This is super fun!
- Toasted crushed walnuts make the final layer on these bars and really complete the ‘toffee’ effect. Sprinkle them on while the chocolate is soft. You may want to press them in ever so slightly to make sure all the nuts stick.
- Wait (it’s hard, I know) until the chocolate firms up before slicing.
to make toffee bars ahead
These bars will keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature, or in the refrigerator.
to freeze toffee bars
These bars can be frozen in heavy duty zip lock freezer bags or in a freezer safe container. I like to separate the layers of bars with waxed paper so they don’t stick.
more cookie bars!
- Raspberry Almond Bars
- Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Scandinavian Almond Bars
- The BEST Maple Walnut Blondies
- Sour Cherry Almond Bars
- Amish Man Bars
- 9×13 baking pan
- parchment paper (optional)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 7 1/4 ounces chocolate candy bars, broken into squares. I used Hershey's Special Dark chocolate, but milk chocolate or any other type you like is fine.
- 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts*
- Preheat oven to 350. Spray and line your pan with a sheet of parchment paper. This is optional but helps to remove the shortbread for easy slicing. You can slice right in the pan if you prefer.
- Cream the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla together.
- Fold in the flour and mix until the dough comes together.
- Pat the dough in the bottom of your prepared pan. Use floured fingers to get it evenly across the surface, and use an offset spatula to smooth it out.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes, just until starting to turn golden.
- As soon as the pan comes out of the oven, arrange the chocolate squares across the surface.
- Wait a few minutes for the chocolate to soften, then, using your offset spatula, spread the melted chocolate over the surface.
- Sprinkle the chopped nuts evenly over the warm chocolate.
- Allow the chocolate to firm up before slicing into 24 bars.
Questions and Reviews
So glad to find this recipe here! It was always a Christmas staple and somewhere along the line, I lost mom’s recipe. I do remember we used cake flour, so I’m going to try that and see.
I think cake flour would work well in these.
Toasted walnuts. How do you toast them?
Just lay them out on a dry baking sheet and toast in a 350F oven for about 12 minutes. My new favorite way to toast nuts is in the microwave. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and toast on high for about a minute and a half, to two. Check them because they can burn, and the time will depend on your machine.
Hi Sue! I have been following you for years! I love all your recipes! Thank you so much! This one sounds divine. Can I make it with coconut sugar?
That should be fine Darlene, and thanks 🙂