Toffee bars are quick and easy to make and a dessert recipe that often gets a special spot on cookie trays around the holidays.
We have been making this toffee bars recipe for years.
It all started when I was a child and we spent the day with my grandmother making cookies for a Christmas cookie exchange.
The plates were full of classic cut out cookies that were decorated with icing and sprinkles.
Around the edges of the platters there were the peanut butter blossom cookies and my favorite, no-bake cookies.
But we needed one more cookie to make the tray look complete.
I begged for lemon bars, but my grandmother insisted that lemon bars were a summertime dessert.
I was too young at the time to argue the point, but let’s just say, lemon bars are definitely an acceptable year round dessert in my book!
The first suggestion from my grandmother was thumbprint cookies. Although they are a very popular cookie, we just didn’t have enough time or energy to make them.
So out came the cookbooks!
After scrolling through the pages and pages of dessert recipes, we all decided that toffee bars would be the final addition to the cookie trays.
Easy To Make Toffee Bars
The main reason that they got the go ahead was two-fold.
They definitely hit the requirement of something that was easy to make, yet tasty.
And secondly, we had all the ingredients on hand! So we cleaned out the stand mixer and got to work!
My favorite job was measuring out the ingredients. I put the flour and salt in the bowl and used a spoon to mix it together.
That is when I learned that I must whisk the dry ingredients rather than just mix them together with a spoon.
Apparently whisking not only helps remove any clumps in the flour and salt, but it also allows air flow between the particles for adequate distribution of the combined ingredients.
Next came the creaming of the brown sugar and butter. It is definitely important to start with room temperature butter for this step.
If your butter is still hard, the mixture will be full of clumps and will cause uneven baking. On the contrary, you don’t want to melt the butter either.
Room temperature butter will combine perfectly with the sugar to make a creamed mixture necessary for the toffee bars to set up properly.
Separating The Egg Yolk
Next comes the breaking of the egg. This recipe only requires the egg yolk.
I broke the egg over the bowl and used the halves of the shell to separate the yolk from the whites.
Back and forth the egg yolk went into each half of the shell while the egg white dripped below in the bowl.
I also had to make sure that the yolk did not crack on one of the sharp edges of the broken shell.
To this day, I still separate the yolks from the whites this way. I have tried other methods, including using a turkey baster to suck the yolk away from a cracked egg.
To me, that just took too much time and why dirty a hard to clean utensil when you don’t have to?
Baking The Toffee Bars
After everything was mixed together, you end up with a crumbly dough that resembles the color of sand.
We like thin toffee bars, so we bake this recipe in a 8 x 11 inch baking dish. However, if you prefer thicker bars, you could opt to make this in a 9 inch square pan.
The important thing to remember is the either spray your baking dish with cooking spray (including the corners) or use parchment paper.
I prefer the parchment paper option. This way I can pull up on the parchment paper when cooled to cut the bars.
It also makes clean up a breeze!
Topping The Bars
Once the toffee bars base is cooked and set, you will add the chocolate on top. Then return it to the oven to allow time for it to melt.
This is where it is important to use the mini chocolate chips. They melt quicker than the standard size chips.
My friends who have also made this recipe will sometimes even put full chocolate bars on top.
Once the chocolate has had time to melt in place, you will need to use an off-set spatula to spread the chocolate evenly on top.
When you start the spreading process the chocolate will most likely start to stick to your spatula. The chocolate will come up in clumps and away from the base.
Do not panic. Keep working at it and it will eventually melt down enough to allow you to spread it evenly across the top.
And lastly, use whatever finely chopped nuts that you prefer on top! I have used pecan, walnuts and peanuts and they have each tasted great!
And if I would happen to have a toffee candy bar on hand, I would definitely consider that as well.
These bars are especially good served with a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter day.
Check out the printable recipe below and all of our recipes and let me know what you think!
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- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup mini milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or substitute another type of nut
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Spray a 8 x 11 inch rectangular pan with baking spray or line with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar together until smooth.
- Beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract.
- Slowly mix in flour/salt mixture.
- Press dough into the prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes or until set.
- Immediately remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and return to the oven for two minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the top. It will become clumpy and pull away from the top of the bars, but keep working it until smooth across the top.
- Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the chocolate, slightly pressing them down into the layer of chocolate.
- Place pan on cooling rack.
- Once cool, remove from the pan and cut into bars.