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.
To develop this recipe, I used the same base recipe as my Butter Pecan Cookies. 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. 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.
Craving more toffee-inspired treats? Try these brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies, a fun spin on my chewy chocolate chip cookies!Print
Salted Vanilla Toffee Cookies
- Prep Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours
- Yield: 30 cookies
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean*
- 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups Heath English Toffee Bits ‘O Brickle*
- sea salt, for sprinkling
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
- Vanilla Bean: 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.
- Heath Baking Bits: 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.
Keywords: vanilla toffee cookies, salted toffee cookies
Reader Comments & Reviews
This was a bust for me. Flat, greasy, sad cookies. I’m an experienced cookie baker, did it all right, and chilled overnight, but these were a failure.
I love this recipe! Yes, they spread out and I love it that way! I made these for friends and there were none left over at the end of the evening. The flavor combination of sweet and salty is a favorite of mine. I made a second batch so I could send a few to my grown kids and keep some for myself to have with morning tea.
Oh, I should have read the comments first. Like a lot of others, my cookies spread out cracker thin and unusable to take to a party as I had intended. I tried all the tricks, forming them into towers instead of balls, freezing them for twenty minutes before I baked, but no luck. If I was a more experienced cookie baker, I’d experiment with the recipe to try to make it work, I was very excited about the flavors in this cookie.
Same problem as many seem to have. Very thin cookies and a little greasy. I was making these for Christmas but they don’t look very pretty. Followed all the tips to prevent thin cookies, chilled the dough for over 24 hours but no luck. First SBA recipe that didn’t work out prefectly. Very tasty though, we ate a bunch straight out of the oven!
Hi Sally. I have a question about when they are done. I know the recipe says to use 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough. I want to bake larger cookies and I use 2 ounces. At 350 ; I am having to cook them 15 to 18 minutes. At that point they are way to brown. What can I do to have them light colored?
Thank you so much.
Hi Nancy, it sounds like your cookies may just need a minute or two less in the oven next time. The cookies are done when the edges start to slightly brown. A lighter colored baking pan (if you happen to be using a dark pan) will help to keep the bottoms from burning as well. Hope this helps!
These cookies spread and look horrible. So disappointing.
Hi Nicole, Thank you for trying this recipe. Cookies over-spreading is certainly a common problem. If you ever need help, here are our 10 tips to prevent cookies from over-spreading. For this particular recipe, make sure the butter isn’t too warm. You want room temperature butter to be cool to the touch. Additionally, if you try it again a little extra flour can help too– even 2 extra Tbsp or about 15-20g.
I made this using homemade toffee bits since it’s hard to find Bits o Brickle in stores around me. The cookies came out flat and too buttery. I figured the culprit was the toffee, since it adds so much butter to the cookie . So I made the cookies again, this time decreasing the butter in this recipe by half and that modification did the trick. Also: I recommend rubbing the vanilla seeds into the granulated sugar instead of dumping it with the eggs and vanilla extract. Helps release the vanilla flavor a bit more.
I made these cookies yesterday. I had the same problem as others; flat, greasy mess. Mine were chrisp on the edges, greasy and not done in the middle. I think the culprit is too much butter. One half cup butter would be plenty. Will make these again with less butter and give an update.
I had the same experience, my first SBA fail. I would like to make these again, and I agree with you about cutting the butter. The flavor is wonderful!
My dad actually hides these cookies he loves them so much. Had to make multiple batches to bring to a party because they never left the house. Needless to say, amazing cookies and yet again never let down by Sally’s recipes!
We’re thrilled these cookies are such a hit, Meghan!
I know when I see a recipe on this website it is going to be good. This did not disappoint. Great flavor and soft. We’re nutty, so I put pecans in.
I made these cookies and they were fabulous! my husband, not a fan of sweets, is begging me to make more! my question is: can the recipe be doubled?
thanks again for a wonderful recipe! I am busy trying more!!
Hi Rebecca! We’re thrilled you enjoy this recipe. We always recommend making separate batches instead of doubling for best results.
I have a tree nut allergy so I can’t eat toffee because of the almonds. Is there anything you’d recommend to substitute for it?
Hi Michael, Butterscotch chips or white chocolate chips would be delicious in these cookies!
Could you use milk chocolate Heath bar bits in these cookies?
Hi Susan, We don’t see why those wouldn’t work – hope you love these cookies!
Flavor was excellent, but like other reviewers said they spread when only chilled for 3-4 hours. I rolled the dough into balls and froze overnight and that helped a little with the spreading. I followed the recipe exactly, weighed my flour, used a silpat, so I think the culprit is the toffee. I couldn’t find the bits o’ brittle in the store so I made my own toffee like the recipe said we could. It turned the cookies into a flat, greasy mess when baked. Like another reviewer states, the second ingredient in the heath toffee bits is palm oil, which I think is what’s helping the cookies hold their shape and maybe not melting as much in the oven. I’d love to try these again and see if I can get a better result because the flavor really is excellent.
I’ve never had a baking fail with any Sally recipe but these spread out like crazy for me. Still tasted great!
hi there! This looks delish and i would loke to try today but indont have cornstarch. What can i substitute? Can i just add an extra tsp of flour?
Hi Kay, The cornstarch keeps these cookies extra soft. You can skip it if you don’t have any- no other changes needed. Hope you enjoy these cookies!
I would like to make these cookies but I only have vanilla bean paste, will the measurements be the same as using vanilla extract?
Hi Melva! Yes, 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. So for this recipe, use about 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste.
I was so excited to try this cookie but very disappointed with the final result—they were so flat and spread out, but tasty. I read all the comments before I made them. Because of the comments, I followed your instructions and even read your tips to prevent spreading before I started. The dough was chilled overnight and the formed balls kept in the fridge until their turn on the baking tray. I was confident mine would look like yours. I’m part of a cookie group, posted a picture and asked for comments. Based on suggestions from that group, if I make them again, I will definitely add a little more flour. The group suggested that I switch out half the butter for shortening? (Used parchment paper to bake on).
Hi Sherry! Thank you so much for trying this recipe and I’m here to help. Toffee can be a funny add-in in cookies because the texture ranges between brands or if it’s homemade– did you use the Heath bits o brickle or another toffee? Regardless, make sure your butter isn’t too warm. It should be cool to the touch, at the proper room temperature consistency. You can certainly try swapping half of the butter for shortening, but you’ll lose some flavor. Another option is to remove 1 egg white (so you’re only using 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk) or add another 2-3 Tablespoons of flour to help soak up the butter.
Delish and makes more than 30 cookies! I got 45; probably would have had 50 if I hadn’t been sampling the raw dough!
Just tried these. I can tell they would be lovely, but mine turned out SO flat. I used the right amount of butter (at room temp) and refrigerated for 3 hours. Any suggestions for next time? Thanks!!!
Hi Robin, Without knowing exactly what went wrong, you can use my 10 Guaranteed Tips to Prevent Cookies from Spreading to help troubleshoot. I hope it helps!
So yummy. I’m embarrassed (or proud?) how quickly my hubby and I finished eating a batch of these cookies. Blame it on the ?
I tried this recipe on a whim. My two sisters (who don’t even like cookies) were burning their fingers trying to eat these off of the pan as they came out of the oven. When my mom got home from work, she said these were the best cookies she’d ever put in her mouth. I particularly love how these turn out soft and chewy without being doughy, instead of crumbly and dry like many homemade cookies tend to be. Five stars.
Read a lot of comments of the cookie spreading thin and not being chewy or tasting too buttery so I was skeptic at first when I tried the recipe. I agree the dough spread in the oven but the cookie was still amazing in taste and it was still as chewy as you’d expect it to be. For people getting crunchy cookies, bake them for less time or put the dough in the freezer. I’d say salt is a must, not an optional as the cookie is sweet and needs a balance of salt. I had to make a second batch because the first finished so fast.
I have not yet baked these cookies but have read the reviews and noticed many reviewers had a problem with flat cookies. Your problem may be caused by your brown sugar. Dark brown has more molasses and therefore more moisture. Try light brown sugar next time. I have found this with other recipes. I prefer flat crisp cookies so always use dark brown.
Hello again Sally
I started making your recipe here 2 years ago. I live in very high elevation. I made the cookies always as written. Only thing is I add 3T of extra APF. King Arthur of course. Ha.Anyway, I just had to say I have Never had a problem of spreading. I use a silpat instead of parchment paper. I just cannot wait for hours in refrigerator. After blending the batter I start baking them. I do need to say though, one time I didn’t have vanilla beans, when I thought I had. Anygway. I added additional vanilla, after researching how much vanilla to add if I didn’t have vanilla beans. They were good, BUT! There is a difference without these real bean, along with vanilla. Anyway, now I decided I just cannot make these without adding the vanilla bean. Also, do you have any idea as to how to keep the one vanilla bean fresh longer, without making the real vanilla extract? I don’t want to make extract. I just want to keep the bean fresh. I noticed they don’t last that long, then they start to get hard. Thank you! Bonnie from Markleeville, CA. Ps. This is a 10 star recipe
I’m glad you enjoy this recipe, Bonnie! For fresh vanilla beans, make sure they are soft when you buy them. Store them in a completely airtight container away from heat and light at room temperature. They should last about a year!