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!!

Print

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 (312g) 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

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

132 Comments

  1. dear sally
       hoping you will answer meback for these toffee bites  i actually cant find them in any majer super markets where i live ! any substutance ?? 
    saudi arabia 

  2. Wow! I haven’t been this excited about cookies in a loooonnng time. The combination of ingredients is a match made in heaven.

  3. I don’t even have to taste these cookies yet to know they are my new favorite. Sweet and salty is MY JAM.

  4. Yes to sea salt in baked goods! These remind me of sand dollars and seem like the perfect summer cookie – nice and light and crispy…yummy! Would go perfect with the fruit sangria recipes you have on you blog. Thanks Sally!

  5. I made these today and they ended up super-duper flat, so I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. They still taste good and the dough is excellent, as well. Hmmmmm…. 

  6. The Bits o’ Brickle are unfairly addictive. Why must toffee be so good? For reals, the ‘I can’t even; repeat 30 times’ is my life. I’ve never been able to achieve a good toffee cookie (read: always flatter than pancakes) and the sea salt and vanilla combo here looks incredible. Pinning!

  7. 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).

  8. I’ve got all the stuff laid out to make after work – butter softening, eggs warming up.  It’s family reunion time this weekend and everyone needs to have some good cookies, don’t you think?!  Thank you Sally!

  9. Hi Sally! I am planning on making these for my brother’s birthday! However, he’s allergic to gluten. 🙁 What would I need to change to make these gluten-free? Thanks so much! 😀

    1. Annie, I haven’t found a cup-for-cup GF flour that I absolutely love yet. I would try just using a gluten free flour (one that measures cup-for-cup with AP flour) and seeing how you like the resulting cookies.

  10. 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!

  11. Hi Sally! I know you were in Baltimore recently, and I’m not sure if you are familiar with Bethesda Bagels (in Maryland). I live in Virginia, but I was there a few weeks ago with my parents, and I saw cookies there that I think you would really love! You know those tri-color/Italian rainbow cookies? They sold those, but they were birthday cake inspired! The layers were pink, yellow, and blue, and they had vanilla frosting with rainbow sprinkles. Right up your (and my!) alley! I searched for a similar recipe online, but was unable to find one. Is this something you would be interested in recreating??

    1. I HAVE TO TRY THOSE! I’m going to begin researching. And I need to visit Bethesda Bagels next time I’m in town. Thanks Rebecca!

      1. I knew you’d love the idea! I didn’t think to take a picture, but if I go back there in the near future I will take a photo to share with you! I’m a teacher, but I work at the Barnes and Noble in Arlington, VA (Clarendon) during the summer. Please visit us on your book tour (or at least somewhere close)!

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

  13. 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. 

  14. Oh man I made cookies with broken up heath bars (chocolate + toffee) and I remember everyone at work went bonkers over them!! I bet making them salted would be even more awesome!!

    I’m including these cookies in a cookie round-up at Lifehack if that’s okay! 🙂

  15. 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 🙂

  16. Hi Sally. I am your fan from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I love your blog and wish i can get to meet you in person. I love peanut butter and nutella too. 
    i used to livein san francisco for 10 years and my son was born there. 
     Just a question- we dont have the toffee bits in malaysia. i have butterscotch chips… would that do? and i can add almond nibs together with it?
    please advise

  17. 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.

  18. 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!!!

    1. Amy, what a wonderful comment to read this afternoon– thank you! You’re going to have an incredibly delicious holiday filled with some of my favorite cookies. Love those brown butter ones, especially. So so good.

  19. 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.

  20. Thank you for your wonderful website. I’ve been obsessed with toffee cookies since I ate one from Panera Bread. And now I am going to have to try this recipe. Thank you for putting the dry ingredients in terms of weight; totally helps me cut down on washing extra measuring spoons/cups. Plus, I believe every great recipe should be in weight formats to cut down on errors in measurements, which can affect the overall recipe. Lastly, thank you for the GIANT cookie recipes. I LOVE my cookies really big and I think I’ve bookmarked almost all of your cookies. =] 

  21. Thanks for the recipe Sally, my hubby who doesn’t like chocolate just commented the other day, do you have to make cookies with chocolate in them all the time. Yes, I do, but maybe I can try these so he will be more happy with the weekly cookie offering

  22. 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 

  23. Have you tried this recipe with browned butter? Thinking about trying it and was wondering if you think it would work out nicely, or be too overpowering. Thanks!

    1. I haven’t yet! (I don’t think– I’m losing track of all the cookies I make!) I think the flavor would work wonderfully. I suggest chilling the brown butter so it is solid then creaming it with the sugars.

  24. 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!

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