These brown butter toffee cookies are soft with crisp edges, chewy gooey middles, and packed with bits of homemade toffee and chocolate. The toffee melts into the cookie creating puddles of chewy caramel that are just so delicious! The cookie dough has brown butter which complements the deep nutty flavor of the toffee oh so well. This toffee cookie recipe is nut free if you make the toffee at home.
- 🍪 Why you'll LOVE this recipe:
- 📝 Key ingredients
- 📖 Ingredient substitutions and variations
- 👩🍳 How do you make the cookies?
- How to make toffee
- How to make brown butter
- How to make the cookie dough
- 🥡 Make ahead and storage
- ✔️ How to make thin and chewy toffee cookies
- ❔ Why did my toffee separate?
- ❔ How do I prevent toffee from separating?
- ❔ Can I fix separated toffee?
- ❔ Can I fix grainy toffee?
- ❔ Recipe FAQ
- 🍪 More cookie recipes:
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
🍪 Why you'll LOVE this recipe:
- Easy: They come together in one bowl without an electric mixer. You can use store bought toffee to make them even easier!
- Homemade toffee: this recipe includes an easy, homemade toffee recipe that has everything you need to know to make a perfect toffee every time.
- Brown butter: Easy to make and adds so much rich, nutty flavour.
- Texture: They have buttery crisp edges and a soft, gooey middle.
📝 Key ingredients
For a shortcut you could always buy storebought toffee or Skor bars and skip the toffee part of the recipe.
Read through for all the tips you will need for success!
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below.
Foolproof homemade toffee
The lecithin helps make the toffee foolproof and helps prevent it from separating and becoming grainy. It's optional, but if you've unsuccessfully made toffee in the past I recommend trying it out!
- Granulated sugar: I have tried to make toffee from brown sugar but preferred the flavor and more crisp texture of granulated sugar.
- Lecithin: For a truly foolproof toffee, you can use soy or sunflower lecithin, found at your local health food store. I used gel capsules that I squeezed out.
The cookies are made from a brown butter cookie dough which results in a chewy, salted toffee cookie recipe with super crisp edges.
- Butter: You want to use real butter here. I used unsalted butter because I find that salted butter becomes bitter when browned.
- All purpose flour: Weigh the flour to get the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, measure properly by stirring the bag and spooning gently into a measuring cup. Scrape the excess off the top with the flat edge off a knife without packing it into the cup.
- Toffee: This recipe goes through how to make your own toffee at home. If you don't want to make your own just crush some store-bought toffee or skor bars in a bag using a rolling pin.
- Chocolate chips: Chocolate chips or chopped chocolate work great in this recipe. You can use a mix of semisweet and milk chocolate chocolate chips, or just semisweet. For melted pools of chocolate, use chopped chocolate.
📖 Ingredient substitutions and variations
These cookies can easily be made gluten free by substituting the all purpose flour with 1:1 gluten free flour.
- Brown butter chocolate chip cookies: Omit the toffee for regular chocolate chip cookies like in these brown butter chocolate chip cookies.
- Caramel chocolate chip cookies: Substitute the toffee with pieces of soft caramel or caramel chips. Or even butterscotch chips - like these fudgy butterscotch blondie bars.
- Nut free toffee cookies: Follow the recipe instructions to make homemade toffee. Or buy storebought nut free toffee. Skor bars are not nut free (contain almonds).
👩🍳 How do you make the cookies?
For these cookies, first you make the toffee, then the brown butter, and finally the cookie dough.
You can skip making the toffee and use storebought toffee or crushed skor bars instead. Keep in mind that skor bars are not nut free, but homemade toffee is.
Let's be real, the best part of making cookie is eating the dough - check out this safe to eat brown butter edible cookie dough. Just add toffee pieces! And you can even turn it into cookie dough ice cream.
How to make toffee
Step 1: Heat butter and salt until melted. Add sugar and lecithin (optional) and whisk until smooth and thickened. You may need to put it back on low heat to help it come together.
Step 2: Once thickened, stop whisking immediately. Heat the toffee on low heat, stirring gently and sparingly. It will start to turn golden brown quickly.
Tip: To prevent toffee from splitting, keep it on low heat and stir sparingly. Heat jumps can cause toffee to split. You only need to stir a few times once it starts to turn golden brown. Toffee is very delicate and can split from too much stirring.
Step 3: Once the toffee turns golden brown (or 295-300°F, 146-149°C with a candy thermometer), pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet (don't scrape the bottom of the pan). Set aside to cool.
Step 4: Once the toffee cools, use the back of a knife handle to crack into shards. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days or refrigerated for up to 3 months.
How to make brown butter
Step 1: Melt butter on medium-low heat until it starts to foam and simmer, stirring constantly. The foam will subside and you will start noticing the bits of white milk solids start to turn toasty brown.
Step 2: Once it starts to foam again and turns golden brown immediately remove from heat. You don’t want it to burn! Transfer to a heat safe bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.
How to make the cookie dough
Step 1: Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and sea salt to the butter and whisk to break up any lumps.
Step 2: Add egg and vanilla into the batter and whisk until it thickens and becomes lighter.
Step 3: Sift flour and baking soda into the bowl using a sieve.
Step 4: Fold just until there are no more dry streaks of flour. Use a spatula to not overmix.
Step 5: Add the toffee and chocolate and fold. Reserve a little bit of each for topping the cookies. Scoop the dough into balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet or plate.
Step 6: Top balls with reserved toppings. This makes 12 large cookies (3 tablespoons each) or you could make smaller cookies. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to chill completely (or 30 minutes in the freezer), or overnight.
Tip: The longer you chill the cookies, the thicker and more flavorful they are. You can chill them for up to 48 hours in the fridge.
Step 7: Preheat oven to 355°F (180°C). Bake 3 cookies at a time, leaving lots of space in between. Bake for 10-12 minutes for larger cookies or 8-10 minutes for medium cookies. The cookies are ready when the edges are slightly browned and set, and the middles are still soft and slightly puffed.
Step 8: Scoot the cookies by placing a cookie cutter or bowl that's bigger than the cookie over it. Gently move around to push in any uneven edges. This makes the cookies perfectly round and thicker. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
Tip: The cookies are delicate right out of the oven so let them cool and set for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack or plate.
🥡 Make ahead and storage
The toffee cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
Make the toffee up to a week ahead of time and store at room temperature in an airtight container.
The cookie dough can be prepared and scooped up to 48 hours ahead of baking. You can freeze the cookie dough balls in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 months. Then you can bake cookies at any time! Add a minute or two to the baking time if baking from frozen.
You can also freezer prep these small batch chocolate chip cookies and these peppermint shortbread cookies.
✔️ How to make thin and chewy toffee cookies
This recipe used to make thin and chewy toffee cookies but it seemed like everyone wanted a thicker cookie. I've changed this recipe to make a thicker, chewier cookie.
If you prefer a thinner cookie then use 1 1⁄3 cups flour (160g) instead of the amount in this recipe. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking pan because they'll be very soft and delicate until they cool down.
❔ Why did my toffee separate?
The toffee may have separated because the toffee was heated on too high of a heat. When the heat abruptly jumps, the toffee can separate. I like to keep the heat on low the whole time. My toffee would separate halfway through every time I had it on a higher temperature.
It could also be because you're mixing too quickly. Toffee needs gentle stirring from time to time to prevent it from burning and to keep it combined.
This banoffee cake has a homemade toffee sauce and caramelized bananas if you want to try out making homemade toffee sauce.
❔ How do I prevent toffee from separating?
To prevent toffee from separating make sure that the heat is on low and that it stays on low (no abrupt heat increases). It takes a while for it to reach the hard crack stage but it’s worth it. Stir the toffee gently to help keep it combined.
My friend and professional candy making guru Hannah from One Sweet Mama also recommended adding a bit of sunflower or soy lecithin (found at most health food stores) to help prevent the toffee from separating. This is optional but highly recommended. Check out her handy toffee guide!
❔ Can I fix separated toffee?
You can try to fix toffee that had separated by whisking as soon as you notice to try to bring it back together. If it doesn’t work, I'm afraid that it’s too far gone and you will need to start over.
❔ Can I fix grainy toffee?
You can certainly try to fix it! Sometimes it helps to add a tablespoon or two of water and stir on low heat until the sugar crystals dissolve and the toffee starts to increase in temperature again. I have saved a batch successfully through this method (but it doesn’t always work).
Brush down the sides of the pan with a bit of water to prevent it from getting grainy again.
❔ Recipe FAQ
Yes, you just want to watch the toffee carefully and take it off the heat when it looks golden brown (see process photos for reference). If you're unsure you can always use a candy thermometer. Toffee needs to reach 295-300°F (146-149°C) on a candy thermometer.
I find that when I use salted butter it ends up having a bit of a bitter aftertaste. So I just stick to unsalted butter and add salt. And don't overcook the toffee.
Make sure that your candy thermometer is calibrated. Stick it in a pot of rapidly boiling water (don’t let it touch the bottom) and see what temperature it reads. Boiling water is 100°C (212°F). However many degrees your thermometer reads above or below 100°C (212°F) is how many degrees your thermometer is off. Just keep it in mind and adjust your target temperature accordingly. My thermometer was off by a whole 9°C and trust me, it made a huge difference!
This could be because the cookie dough wasn't chilled long enough or the oven temperature is too low!
Chilling the cookie dough is super important, I can't stress this enough! As the dough chills, the butter will resolidify causing it to spread less in the oven. If you chill the dough long enough - say, overnight - then the sugar crystals will dissolve better and the flour will be more hydrated creating a much more flavorful cookie.
Brown butter cooks down in volume because the water content evaporates as the butter caramelized. If you use regular melted butter, I recommend using 2 tablespoons less butter.
There could be a whole many reasons. First of all, did you measure the flour properly? Weigh your flour to get the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, measure properly by stirring the bag and spooning gently into a measuring cup. Scrape the excess off the top with the flat edge off a knife without packing it into the cup. Have you checked your oven temperature? Did the dough chill completely before baking? These are all super important to get the perfect cookie!
Your cookies might look like this because of the pieces of toffee. They melt a little messy in the oven and pull the cookie dough with them creating a messy circle! Just push in the uneven edges with a spoon as soon as the cookies come out of the oven.
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Toffee Cookies with Foolproof Homemade Toffee
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 grams sunflower lecithin or soy lecithin (optional)
- 1 cup butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ⅔ cup all purpose flour 200 g
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅔ cup toffee or skor bars crushed into pieces
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, I use a mix of milk and dark
- 1 teaspoon flaky salt
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter and salt on low heat until melted completely.½ cup butter, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Add sugar and lecithin to the butter, put back on heat, and whisk until smooth and thickened. Stop whisking. Keep oven on low, and heat until it starts to bubble and turn golden brown. Stir gently occasionally, just to help prevent burning. See notes for more tips on preventing the toffee from separating.½ cup granulated sugar, 2 grams sunflower lecithin
- As soon as the toffee is golden brown and smells amazing, pour it onto a lined baking sheet and push it around with a spoon to form a thin toffee layer. Do not scrape the bottom of the pot out.
- Let the toffee cool completely and break it up into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to three weeks.
- Melt the butter on medium-low heat until it starts to foam and simmer, stirring consistently so it doesn’t burn. The foam will subside and you'll start noticing the bits of white milk solids start to turn toasty brown.1 cup butter
- Once the butter starts to foam again and turns golden brown immediately remove from heat. You don’t want it to burn! Transfer to a heatsafe bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
- Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and sea salt to the butter and whisk to break up any lumps.¾ cup brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Add egg and vanilla into the batter and whisk until it thickens and becomes lighter.1 large egg, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Sift flour and baking soda into the bowl. Fold just until there are no more dry streaks of flour.1 ⅔ cup all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Add the toffee and chocolate and fold. Reserve a little bit of each for topping the cookies.⅔ cup toffee or skor bars, 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Scoop the dough into balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet or plate. If the dough is too soft to scoop, refrigerate for a few minutes. I made 12 large (3 tbsp) cookies but you can use a smaller scoop for smaller cookies.
- Top the cookies with more chopped chocolate and toffee. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to chill completely or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 355°F (180°C). Place cookie dough balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet leaving 4” space in between each cookie. They will spread out.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes for larger cookies or 8-10 minutes for medium cookies. The cookies are ready when the edges are slightly browned and set, and the middles are still soft.
- Place a round cookie cutter or bowl that's slightly larger than the cookies on top. Move the bowl around the cookie gently to push in any uneven edges. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack or plate.1 teaspoon flaky salt
I failed on a huge batch of Christmas crack candy and instead of throwing it out , I used it in these cookies in place of the toffee and chocolate. I was worried the crackers would be weird in it but they completely got absorbed and we're unnoticeable. Your recipe came to the rescue - thanks!
So, so amazing and truly foolproof! I was able to make the toffee without the candy thermometer, just using the ice water truck. After you make the toffee, the rest is a quick process. Such a rich flavor and gorgeous cookie!!
Thank you so much! I'm over the moon, so happy you loved it 😀