Salted Vanilla Toffee Cookies.

Salty and sweet vanilla cookies loaded with chunks of toffee and topped with a little sea salt. Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness.

Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness!!

I made today’s salty sweet cookies for all my friends visiting last weekend. The batch makes 2 and 1/2 dozen and there wasn’t a crumb left by Sunday morning.

I truly believe that all salty sweet desserts are addictive.

First, you take a bite of salty.

“What is this?! It’s so good! Is that sea salt?”

Second bite. It’s sweet.

“Ahhhhhhh! (actual scream) It’s sweet and vanilla-y too.”

And then, the last bite.

“Ommmg I love toffee. I can’t even.”

Repeat 30 times.

My friends do not talk like this. But for cookie writing purposes, YES they do.

I attribute the cookies’ mass appeal to supreme buttery flavor, all the fresh vanilla, the bits of toffee in every single bite, and the sprinkle of sea salt on top. There is so much going on; your tastebuds will go into overdrive.

Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness!!

My stomach is growling looking at this pile of cookies. ↑

Focus, Sally.

Today’s recipe idea came to me when I began cleaning out my baking closet. Our downstairs closet is technically a coat closet that is 90% baking products, 8% coats, and 2% umbrella. And it was begging to be cleaned out. With approximately 894375394 bulk baking ingredients sprawled out on the floor, I found two packages of the Heath English Toffee Bits ‘O Brickle. You know the kind?

Just so there is no confusion, there are actually two kinds of Heath baking bits found in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips: Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits and Heath Bits ‘O Brickle (I always giggle saying “bits ‘o brickle” out loud. Bits ‘OOOOO Brickle.). For today’s cookies, I used the kind without chocolate.

Gasps.

Sorry, chocoholics.

Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness!!

With a package of Bits O’ Brickle 😉 in hand, I got to work in the kitchen before my friends arrived. To develop this recipe, I used the same base recipe as my Butter Pecan Cookies. Remember those from the holidays? I decided to use that recipe, sans toasted pecans, because I love the flavor of the dough. Most cookie doughs need a little something, like chocolate chips, in order to actually taste good. But this dough? It truly stands its own. It has enough butter flavor to make your extra butter bucket of popcorn jealous. And its the perfect spot for toffee, vanilla, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Speaking of vanilla. For superior vanilla flavor, use both pure vanilla extract and a vanilla bean. You’ll scrape the seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean and add it to this cookie dough. You can find vanilla beans in the spice aisle and in specialty kitchen stores. They are a little pricey, but a little goes a long way. I strongly encourage it for today’s cookies. In a pinch, an extra teaspoon of pure vanilla extract works instead.

See the little black vanilla bean specks? Flavor! Flavor!

Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness!!

I explain a lot about this cookie dough’s ingredients in this post. I won’t repeat it all here, but there is one thing worth noting again:

This cookie dough is supremely soft and a little sticky. You know what’s best for soft, sticky cookie dough? Chilling. Chill this dough for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Trust me about this one. Chilling allows the cookie dough to thicken and the brown sugar*, butter, toffee, sea salt, and vanilla flavors to really come through. The longer you chill, the better. Just remember that the longer you chill the cookie dough, the longer you should let it sit out at room temperature before rolling into balls and baking. The results of chilling this cookie dough are worth the wait.

*I use a higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar in this cookie recipe. Brown sugar = rich flavor, ultimate chewiness, moist texture, and soft cookie centers.

Happy Friday indeed.

Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness!!

By the way, I’m a new contributor to Delish.com. This is a more than perfect partnership for me since I use the word “delish” on a daily basis. It’s much more interesting than the word delicious, no?

Anyway. Today’s cookie recipe is my first contribution to their new and improved site. I’ll be posting new dessert recipes on Delish every other Friday. In case you’ve been wondering, here’s how to turn a watermelon INTO A KEG. You’re welcome.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Salted Vanilla Toffee Cookies

Salty and sweet vanilla cookies loaded with chunks of toffee and topped with a little sea salt. Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean1
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Heath English Toffee Bits 'O Brickle2
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and vanilla bean seeds on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add the toffee bits, mix on low for about 5-10 seconds until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
  3. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes-- if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  5. Once chilled, the dough might be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, into balls. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (11 minutes for crispier cookies), until slightly golden brown around the edges. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy, try gently pressing down on them with the back of a spoon. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional sea salt if desired.
  7. Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked cookies freeze well - up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well - up to three months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw.

Recipe Notes:

  1. For best flavor, don't leave out the vanilla bean! You can find vanilla beans in the spice aisle and in specialty kitchen stores. They are a little pricey, but a little goes a long way. In a pinch, an extra teaspoon of pure vanilla extract works instead.
  2. There are actually two kinds of Heath baking bits found in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips: Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits and Heath Bits 'O Brickle (without chocolate). For these cookies, I use the kind without chocolate. You can use either, or you can use chopped Heath candy bars or chopped homemade toffee.

Adapted from Butter Pecan Cookies

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Here are plenty more sweet & salty recipes.

Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness!!

Even though there's no chocolate, these vanilla toffee cookies are INCREDIBLE. My favorite cookie recipe this year!

112 comments

  1. Hi Sally,  I was just curious, what kind of sea salt do you use?  Thanks.

  2. Oh. My. Gosh. I made these for my teachers as a graduation gift and WOW!!! I wasn’t able to get my hands on a vanilla bean, but the extra vanilla extract went a long way; they were a totally favorite! I can’t imagine how much more amazing they’ll be when I try them with the vanilla bean! Thanks Sally!

  3. Made these cookies today & have to say the flavor is fabulous.  The addition of the sea salt adds that little something unexpected!!  These will be on my go to list from now on!

  4. Hi Sally!! I love all your recipes!! I was wondering if you think this could be baked into a giant cookie/cookie pizza? I think this would be perfect for my dad’s birthday. Hope you have a great holiday weekend! 

  5. Way too much butter in these cookies. The dough just melted in the ice and formed one giant cookie because they were SO flat. Didn’t hold any shape whatsoever. Flavour is amazing though. So next time, the butter should be cut in half.

  6. These cookies were actually an epic fail for me. I am by no means a novice baker, I’ve been baking for well over a decade. While the toffee was well incorporated throughout the dough, upon baking in all settled at the bottom of the cookie making it impossible to take off the baking sheet. It’s really disappointing too because the dough tasted great and I was really excited to try out these cookies. I don’t think I’ll be making these again. 

  7. Hey Sally! I made them the dough exactly how you wrote it, but the dough has been in the refrigerator longer than 3 days, can I still use the dough, for should I toss it away? 

  8. Hi Sally,
    I’m pretty experienced baker and a huge follower of your blog–have made your chocolate-chip cookies upwards of 20 times with 3 kinds of chocolate!!–and I love that all of your recipes are so consistent in results and easy to follow. However, I tried these cookies today, and the first time they spread unbelievably and I couldn’t get them off the parchment paper. I just made the dough again and stuck it in the fridge for attempt no. 2 but it still looks too soft. I know I followed the recipe–do you know what happened? I have read all the comments and lots of people have had the same problem. 
    Thanks!!

    • Ok, the 2nd batch I made turned out exactly the same…AGGGGHHHH!!! But they look so good in your pictures! No idea what is going on.  

      • So sorry about the frustrations! How long have you been chilling the cookie dough? Because that can make or break the cookies’ taste and appearance. How about chilling them overnight if you decide to make this cookie dough again? Do you live in a humid climate? The humidity is out of control where I live and I have to be very careful with the cookies I’m making right now. Sometimes I even add an extra 2-3 Tablespoons of flour to make the dough a little sturdier. And it really helps! You can give that a try as well.

      • The first batch I chilled for three days…but I will try the extra flour! Or I might just add toffee bits to your chocolate chips cookie recipe since those are so delicious 🙂 Thanks for the help! Keep blogging–I look forward to every new post! 

  9. These are the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. And I am so serious when I say that. My OLD favorite were oatmeal toffee cookies made with the same Heath bit o brittle candies, but these outshine them by a landslide! I would recommend making a double batch EVERY time because they will be gone QUICKLY! I put salt on them before and after I bake them, and they are just delicious. Everyone that has tried them has asked me for the recipe, and I have directed them all to your site! Xoxo

    • By the way, everyone complaining about the cookies spreading out, I ball the dough and then put the bowl of dough balls into the fridge between baking. If I don’t, the dough gets too sticky and I’m afraid they would run all over the place!

  10. Is it okay if I leave out to corn starch? Or any recommendations for substitutes? Thanks!

  11. Hi Sally, I made these this weekend. I had a lot of the same problem that other readers did with runny dough. My first batch was a disaster. For the remainder of the cookies, I added 3 tbsp of flour to the dough, rolled the dough into balls, and put them in the freezer to chill. That helped the dough spread less. The bottoms of my first cookies were burnt, but that is probably because I only had a dark cookie sheet, so I turned the heat down to 325 and baked for 9 minutes. I couldn’t get the texture of them to look like your picture, but these changes helped save the rest of the cookies. And of course, they still tasted good.

  12. I made your recipe.  Spread my dough lengthwise on waxed paper, rolled in in a tube formation and chilled for 4 hours. Cut a 1/3 section off and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces, placed on parchment and baked…. they turned out PERFECT
    Saving the other section for baking next week.
    Thanks 
    Rachel

    • OOoo – thank you for mentioning this – that’s a fantastic idea. I read the recipe and decided this is what I want to make for my cookie swap this year. I always come to the comments to see what issues/successes others are having with recipes. And it’s awesome to see people comment with things that work wonderfully for them.

  13. Yum! We added these cookies on our holiday cookie list as they are so loved in our home! I agree with the vanilla bean note, and found some beautiful beans on slofoodgroup.com that I used in this recipe. Thank you, thank you. These cookies are delightful!

  14. Over the past few days I have made several of the cookie recipes on this site and all have turned out perfectly. I was looking forward to trying this recipe but experienced the same problem as many others and my cookies turned out flat and greasy (although delicious). I have a theory about what went wrong with my cookies and this may be true for others. The brand of toffee bits I used is Hershey’s Chipits SKOR toffee bits (I live in Canada and this seems the mostly widely available brand). The first two ingredients listed are sugar and butter. I looked up the Heath brand and first two ingredients are sugar and palm oil…and then butter. So the SKOR brand has a higher butter content which melts into the cookie. I had about 1/3 of the dough left after baking my first batch and have now added a full 1/4 cup of four. The dough balls are now firming up in the fridge. I’m hoping for better results.

    • UPDATE– adjusted batch somewhat better but not quite right. Sure enough I checked the SKOR website and they have a similar recipe posted, but only 1/2 cup butter to 2 1/2 cups flour. B I N G O!

  15. This dough tastes amazing BUT I followed the recipe to a tee and they are so flat and stick to the cookie sheet!  I started freezing the balls in between batches and that seemed to help w the flatness a little but they still stick.  These are for a cookie exchange and I’m serving cookies that are a hot mess.  So disappointing something is off in this recipe.  I’ve NEVER had this issue been baking for years!  Such a shame because the flavor is phenomenal.

  16. Hello Sally

    These cookies for me turned out really good. Only two things I did differently   1) I added extra flour. I live in high altitude 2) I baked a little longer

    I think I added about 2-3 tablespoons of flour. They aren’t puffy cookies. They do spread a bit. But add extra flour.

    Wow, very addicting 

  17. Hi Sally!

    So I’m currently baking these cookies and I came across an interesting conundrum.

    So some of the cookies I baked with parchment paper and some I baked with silpat mats. The ones baked with the parchment paper, even though I added the extra flour, still spread out. But the ones that I baked with the silpat mats rose nicely. Apparently I need to invest in more silpat mats.

  18. I just baked these for about the millionth time, and I think I may have added an extra up of flour by mistake. They came out kind of fluffy. Didn’t spread, were crunchy on the outside, softer in the middle. I like them better your way, where they are thinner and get that crunchy/chewy texture, but if you’re into a fluffy cookie, add an extra cup of flour!

  19. Has anyone tried this recipe with browned butter?

  20. Hi Sally! How can I make my own toffe? I’m from Mexico and i cant find Heath English Toffee Bits ‘O Brickle!!!! pleaaaase

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