Brownies and Bars/ Dessert/ Recipes

Toffee Squares

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Still making Christmas cookies? If not, you should be because you’re missing out on one of the finest holiday confections around — my grandma’s toffee squares.

If you’re a chocolate and nut fan, these simple bar cookies are for you! Basically, they are just consist of a shortbread/sugar cookie-type crust with dark chocolate and toasted nuts on top. In other words, heaven on earth and a total classic.

This would be a great recipe to make with kids this weekend because they are so easy to make! Your little ones will love pressing the dough down in the pan or helping to smooth the melted dark chocolate on top. I can’t wait until baby beaugh is old enough to help me in the kitchen. Boy or girl – it doesn’t matter – I’m going to make a little sous-chef out of them!

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Both this recipe and the recipe I am going to share with you guys next Monday are very old family recipes. When I told my mom I was making toffee squares, she got incredibly excited over the phone. “Grandma’s toffee squares?! The ones with the shortbread crust, the chocolate and the nuts?! Those are SO GOOD!!!”

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In my family, we have a deep affection for anything with chocolate and nuts on it.

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In other news, it would practically be considered illegal of me at this point to NOT lick the chocolate bowl completely. I mean, really.


And no, there’s not actually any toffee in this recipe. I’m not sure why grandma named these toffee squares but it just feels wrong to re-name her cookie. It’s her cookie and she can name it what she wants to. My guess is because there is a slight butterscotch flavor in the crust due to the brown sugar.

Whatever they are called, they are delicious and need to be a part of your Christmas cookie spread ASAP!

toffee squares-7505 Toffee Squares

yields about 2 dozen cookies

Print this Recipe!


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

8 oz semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 x 13″ pan well and set aside.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend until a soft dough forms. Press down down into your prepared pan and prick all over with a fork.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before proceeding.

Once your base has cooled, melt your chocolate chips either in a double boiler or a microwave-safe bowl, stirring in 30 second increments until completely melted and smooth. Spread chocolate on cookie base and scatter nuts on top. Place in fridge for 1 hour until chocolate has set, then cut into bars!


active time – 30 minutes

total time (including cooling time) – 2 hours

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  • Reply
    Caitlyn @ City and the Cubicle
    December 19, 2013 at 4:14 am

    These look awesome, Jenna!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 4:59 am

    These look delicious! I’m going to try them this weekend.

  • Reply
    Deb @ Dietitian Debbie Dishes
    December 19, 2013 at 5:03 am

    I needed a cookie recipe for a holiday party – these look perfect! Toffee or no toffee, those squares look so yummy. 🙂

  • Reply
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    December 19, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Oh my gosh, shortbread crust!? That sounds phenomenal! You and Jess from How Sweet It Is have a way of making me want to stay home and bake ALL day!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 5:21 am

    It’s great to use special family recipes and this one looks delicious, but don’t tell me there are people who don’t lick the chocolate bowl!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    December 19, 2013 at 5:26 am

    These sound dreamy! Love this sweet treat!

  • Reply
    Bev @ Bev Cooks
    December 19, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Dear Lord I want these so bawd.

  • Reply
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun
    December 19, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Yum!! These look delicious!

  • Reply
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife
    December 19, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Grandmas totally know best. If your wanted to name these toffee, she can name them toffee. No matter what you call ’em, I bet they are bonkers delicious!

  • Reply
    erin @hooleywithaz
    December 19, 2013 at 6:14 am

    yum! there is nothing like a good old fashioned family cookie recipe.

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    December 19, 2013 at 6:34 am

    anything with choc and nuts = winner!!

  • Reply
    Sanaz@Run for Cake
    December 19, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Ummm. Can we say delicious! I need to make this today. We should all make cookies year round. The world would be a better place.

  • Reply
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs
    December 19, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I was wondering about the name 🙂

    Toffee or no toffee, these look delicious!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Must be a generational thing or regional thing (my grandma was from Chicago). My grandmother and I made these religiously when I grew up. The dough is hard to spread thin without breaking, as is the chocolate, and she used one of those long metal spatulas to magically press them into place. Sadly, she passed away last February, but maybe I’ll make some in her absence.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    December 19, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Toffee is one of my fave things! Buttery goodness all the way around! This looks great, Jenna!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 8:35 am

    You had me at Toffee! I’m not a huge chocolate fan (I know, blasphemy!) but I LOVE your Toasted Coconut Cookie bars (which seems like the shortbread dough is similar). I’ve made them a dozen times and they’re always a hit!

  • Reply
    Bryony @ Friday Night Dinners -- PDX
    December 19, 2013 at 8:38 am

    These look delicious! I have some of my grandma’s recipes with names that don’t really make sense either, I think it’s charming!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I love how pretty winter deserts look!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    December 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I have a friend who makes these but calls them toffee frosties! This post made me smile. 🙂 Happy holidays!

  • Reply
    Kim P
    December 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

    My mama has made these for years – they ARE so good!

  • Reply
    Caroline L.
    December 19, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Okay, I think grandma wins. These look so… so – GOOD! Can’t wait to make them with my mom!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 11:31 am

    My grandma made the same ones! Although what she did for the chocolate was just put a few hershey bars on top while the shortbread was still hot! Super easy 🙂

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I just made these yesterday and we called them toffee bars too. It was my mom’s recipe and we just put the chocolate chips on top while the base was hot. Just spread them around and they will melt to perfection without messing up the top of the shortbread base.

  • Reply
    Coty and Mariah@quirksandtwists
    December 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Always looking for a new toffee recipe! This is fabulous!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Very dreamy looking- yummmm:)

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    My grandmother has this same recipe- I have it in her handwriting and cherish it dearly- this made my day!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Hey Jenna – I am sooo disappointed that the Harry and David giveaway was closed by 8:00 am cst…I am still so bummed that I missed out. Why did it close so early? Now, that is a sweepstakes that made me swoon! I guess I’ll have to place a box on my ‘gift to myself’ list.

  • Reply
    Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent
    December 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    These look so fun. I can see why they became a holiday tradition 🙂

  • Reply
    Emily @ Life on Food
    December 20, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    I think I will end up baking right through Christmas day! These bars look delicious. Adding them to the list of baked goods.

  • Reply
    Caitlin @ teaspoon
    December 22, 2013 at 1:20 am

    grandma’s recipes are always the best. i love toffee and i love shortbread, so i’m presuming i will love these!

  • Reply
    Luv What You Do
    December 22, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I’m still baking and these look like Christmas Crack! How amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply
    December 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I read your blog often and love your recipes………just made these squares…….and they are SO GOOD! I substituted dark chocolate with peppermint for the topping and it’s such an easy delish treat! Thanks!

  • Reply
    December 26, 2013 at 11:02 am

    so funny you posted this. i am so beat down making cookies i whipped up a batch of these and everyone was so impressed. (i don’t count bars as baking) i’ve been making these for years and love them. can’t go wrong w betty crocker. except that her recipe has 4oz of chocolate. nowhere near enough!

  • Reply
    December 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Made these this week, and just ate the last piece. It was very tempting to make another batch right away, but I refrained myself… and made your great grandmother’s gingerbread instead. Oh well. All of which is just plain delicious! Thanks for sharing.

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