Toffee Squares: Virtual Cookie Exchange

I met Julia 30 years ago in P.M. Kindergarten, where she was my sworn enemy. Despite a year of screeching arguments across the art table, we became best friends a few years later, and now we share recipes from halfway across the country. About her Toffee Squares, Julia writes:

I don’t know how she did it, but my mom used to make 100+ dozen cookies every holiday season. But by the time she was my age, she had both an eight-year old and a four-year old eager to help make cookies and fond memories. The repeat stars every year were crescent cookies, green spritz cookies, and what we called toffee squares.

The first time I didn’t go home for Christmas was just a few years ago, and the one thing that was going to make this fact okay was if I could have some toffee squares. But I had never made them outside of my childhood kitchen and certainly not without my mother’s guiding eye; I was convinced they would be impossible to make. To my surprise, it turned out that for years I had been holding the key on my very own bookshelf – in the Betty Crocker under “Toffee Bars!” Well, as  my coworker says, “That woman can cook,” and I quickly learned that this recipe was so magically easy, I could actually make them all by myself!

Happy holidays, and may you have the most fun making memories with your family.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg yolk in large bowl.
  3. Stir in flour and salt.
  4. Press dough into ungreased rectangular pan (13x9x2 in.) or onto large pizza stone (I prefer baking with a pizza stone because there is no way to burn the bottom of the cookie without also burning the top).
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until very light brown (will still be very soft).
  6. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips onto hot cookie and let sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Gently spread warmed chocolate chips over entire surface of cookie.
  8. Sprinkle chocolate with nuts.
  9. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
  10. Cut into bars while still warm (you can also try using cookie cutters for shaped toffee bars – see the musical notes in the top picture)

About Julia

Lily photo-bombs a picture of the baking process.

I live in Washington, DC, with my husband, Germán, and our Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Lily.


One thought on “Toffee Squares: Virtual Cookie Exchange

  1. Pingback: Cookie Fair | The Reluctant Hippie

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