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.

salted vanilla toffee cookies

Heath bits 'o brickle pieces

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.

salted vanilla toffee cookie dough balls on a silpat baking mat

stack of salted vanilla toffee cookies

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salted vanilla toffee cookies

Salted Vanilla Toffee Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 30 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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 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

Instructions

  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. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Adapted from Butter Pecan Cookies.

Keywords: vanilla toffee cookies, salted toffee cookies

68 Comments

  1. Have you tried forming the dough into balls before chilling? Or is the dough simply too soft?
    Can’t wait to try them!

    1. Simply too soft. You could chill and then form into balls and chill for longer to bake at a later time (up to 3 days).

  2. I have this recipe chilling in the refrigerator right now(!!!). I tasted some of the dough and it was AMAZING. I’ve never used vanilla bean before and it was exciting using it in a recipe. I can’t wait till I bake them tomorrow!

  3. Carol Paluszkiewicz says:

    These are soooo goooodddd!!!! OMG.  Sally you’re the best.  I love that you provide such great instructions for all of your recipes.  Thanks!!

  4. Not sure why all my cookies spread thin on baking, and won’t stay thick, but these, in particular, I would not under-bake, and finish on the pan outside the oven.  I accidentally left one pan in for 12 or 13 minutes, allowing them to get more golden-brown all over, and those were the best of the lot.   Maybe its the humid climate in which I’m currently living, but the results were disappointing when I followed the baking instructions to the letter.  Very tasty, but not the greatest texture.  

    1. Yeah. I too had the same issue. They spreaded out too thin. I followed the recipe exactly. Not sure what all possible reason there could be.
      Sally, please help us.

    2. Humidity has everything to do with the final texture and appearance of a cookie. You can avoid a thinner cookie by adding a little more flour to soak up the moisture. I’d say around 3-4 Tablespoons extra. Make sure you are chilling that dough as well. 

  5. Hi Sally! I just wanted to tell you how much I love these cookies! I baked some this past weekend and my husband and I couldn’t stop eating them! I’ve only used vanilla extract in cookie batter before, but the addition of vanilla bean seeds are awesome! Also, love the salt sprinkle on top. They are delish! Just wanted to tell you how much I love your baked goods 🙂

  6. Hi Sally,

    I just tried baking these from frozen dough that I prepared a few weeks back and they spread like crazy, some even fell off the side of my cookie sheets. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do to prevent this?

    Thanks!

    1. Did you thaw out the dough, Jayne? Avoid thawing it out if you are. If you’re baking them frozen, unfortunately there is no way to avoid the spreading at this point. If you still have plenty of dough leftover, you can bake the dough into cookie bars in a 8×8 pan. If you try the cookies again, you can add 1/4 cup of flour to the cookie dough to help firm it up.

  7. So I’ve been baking up a storm here during the holidays and this year I’m only using recipes from your blog! I wanted to try these since I’ve had a bag of skor toffee bits in my patnry for MONTHS and had no idea what to do with them (my boyfriend snuck them in the grocery cart one day lol). So last night I had a great idea…why don’t I make Sally’s XXL cookie but a vanilla toffee version? Just to try it out and if I liked it then later on this week I would make an entire batch. Well oh my lanta….this flavour is just ridiculous. AMAZING. My boyfriend didn’t even miss the chocolate chips (his fav) so that is saying something!! Can’t wait to make the entire recipe. So far I’ve made a batch of cut out sugar cookies, gingerbread men, soft baked sprinkle sugar cookies and now these…..and finally I’m gonna make your brown butter choc chip cookies. I’ve never browned butter before so I’m excited to try the “king of choc chip cookies!” I LOVE Christmas <3 and you!!!

  8. Hi! I just bought all the ingredients for these. Couple questions – what is the purpose of chilling the dough? And do these have the ability of being soft and chewy and not crispy by baking for less time?

    1. The purpose of chilling to to prevent the dough from spreading all over the baking sheet. It must be cold. Yes, they can be super soft or more crisp based on the baking time.

  9. Hi I made this a few times before and they taste incredible but I always come across the same problem they’re greasy on the bottom and greasy in general should I add more flour or did it have something to do with the butter by the way you have an amazing blog Thanks 

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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. 

  14. 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!!

    1. 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.  

      1. 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.

  15. 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

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

    1. You can simply leave it out.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

    1. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

    1. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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 

  23. Last year, I was looking for a copycat recipe for my favorite starbucks “toffeedoodle” cookie when I stumbled upon this recipe. My family adored them! Just finished baking them again for my husband’s work holiday party. Just as fabulous as I remembered! I add 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon to mine to make it more like the toffeedoodle cookie which sadly was discontinued this year! Womp womp womp. But these are a fantastic rendition with the added cinnamon. 

    To those having difficulties with spreading, chill the dough overnight. Take it out 20 mins before baking to take the chill off, but put it back in the fridge between batches. You do not want the dough to get soft or anywhere near room temp or they will spread too much during baking. I always test a few cookies to see where to time/temp needs to be for my oven/ pans. For me, rounded tbsp balls on a parchment lined sheet pan baked at 340° for 12 mins works best. Comes out slightly flatter than the cookies pictured here but we really love that chewy on the outside soft on the inside texture over fluffier cookies.

    Thanks for a solid recipe! This will be in our holiday rotation for years to come! 

  24. Hi Sally, my first batch came out absolutely perfect but the second and third seemed to really spread. Do you have any tips for making it more consistent?

  25. These are absolutely amazing. I ate six the night I baked them. I couldn’t help myself! So, so good.

  26. I have made this recipe several times and have had rave reviews every time! My work teammates request them for bake sales and birthdays. I too, ate several as I was baking them – super hard to resist!! I am not really a baker, but do follow directions well. The only real issue now is is I am having trouble finding the Heath bits without chocolate these days!!

  27. Holy schnikes!! These are the actual best cookies I’ve ever made. They are now my and my girls’ favorite cookies. Well done!

  28. Hey Sally, I was wondering what does cornstarch do to cookies?
    My cookies are generally soft in the middle even when I bake them for 20 minutes at 180, would adding a bit of cornstarch help or worsen the situation?

    1. Hi Prateek! Cornstarch keeps cookies, like these, thick and soft.

  29. “If cookies are too puffy”?! I can’t even imagine. First, this is maybe the best tasting cookie dough of all time, but getting these cookies not to completely flatten in the oven is driving me bananas. First batch (which had been chilled for over 24 hours and popped in the freezer again right before baking) completely melted. Second batch I added over 1/4 cup of flour to the recipe. (Both times, btw, measured everything with a kitchen scale.) Still flat. Replaced my baking soda and checked my oven temperature, too. Ugh. I’d hate to cut the butter because I feel like it adds to the recipe, but this is incredibly frustrating. Maybe I’ll just eat the dough…

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you so much for trying these vanilla toffee cookies! I agree, the cookie dough is AWESOME. Let me try to help with the over-spreading issues. I published a post about this: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/tips-for-cookie-spreading/

      Some of those tips will definitely be helpful for you. Are you at high altitude? You can reduce the butter by 1-2 Tbsp to see if that helps too.

  30. Baked up perfectly but I did have to add 2 mins on to the time, but that’s normal for my oven. Very tasty but a little too sweet for my personal taste. The kids however thought they were delicious. I made a 2nd batch and added chopped pecans to them to help balance the sweetness and left off the sea salt topping and they were divine! Totally going to be making these regularly from now on. Thank you for the recipe!

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