Secret Recipe Toffee Squares: Now you know!

This is THE recipe to contribute to the bake sale; first to sell out, and always popular. And now, you know the secret.

For years, my friend C. helped me stock the green room for our performing artists at the Roots on the River Music Festival. It was a great deal of fun, and our green room was quite popular because we not only catered to everyone’s special needs, we had lots of homemade items that felt like home for the road weary, from lasagna to special baked treats.

Shh, it’s a secret recipe, kind of

C. often made these toffee squares, and they had to be rationed out so they wouldn’t all disappear immediately. She got the recipe from another friend who cautioned that the recipe was a secret, but eventually I pried it out of her. They were easy enough, and also seemed familiar, for many of our guests as well. I guess that is why they were so popular and comforting.


            Well, one day, while thumbing through my mother’s recipe cards, I discovered the exact recipe, almost word for word, and it had the notation that it was from my Aunt Jeanette who got it from her Betty Crocker Cookbook! I double-checked it on line, and there it was! Every ingredient and instruction exact except for the chocolate chips. My mom’s old Betty also had the recipe, but she didn’t make them often. They were only a vague memory and I would have remembered these if she made them all the time. Perhaps what I remember was having them at Aunt Jeanette’s home. She was always feeding us kids treats because she loved baking as much as my mother, and the two sisters were a bit competitive in that department.

So easy, a leopard can make them!

Last week, a little family leopard helped me make a batch, and she was delighted at how easy they were. Her favorite part was spreading the just melted chocolate over the cookie base! Very satisfying, she said in leopard talk, which I happen to understand quite fluently.

Do you remember?

Yes, you can make them gluten-free. Yes, you can substitute a flax egg for the yolk, or just leave it out. No, you cannot substitute carob, but why would you want to? If I am making them for my whole family, I omit the nuts and use coconut or crispy rice cereal.

But to me, of course, no matter what you substitute, they will forever be C.’s Secret Recipe Toffee Squares, and Betty doesn’t even enter into the equation. Simple, delicious, addicting! You can add your own spin on these, use white chocolate? Add some dried fruit? Any nut will do as well.

A memory?

I bet you knew these bars too somewhere along the way! Take a bite. Bring back a memory or two? I know a little leopard who will have some fond memories of these one day, or at least of spreading warm chocolate.

Secret Recipe Toffee Squares

  • 1 cup butter, or vegan butter, softened
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, or flax egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (we used two because we always add a bit more)
  • 2 cups flour, or gluten free flour of choice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, big pinch
  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, or your favorite
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional, or use coconut

            Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter, sugar, yolk, and vanilla, then add flour and salt and mix until blended.

Press into a greased 13”X9” baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned. 

            While still warm, sprinkle with the chocolate chips and when they melt, spread evenly with an offset spatula (this is a good time to explain to newbie cooks what one uses an offset spatula for!). While still warm, sprinkle with a cup of chopped nuts, or, coconut! I like it with both.

      Cool completely and cut into squares. This is the hardest part of the recipe, but wait you must. Your choice as to size, but I think 24 is just right!

© Copyright 2023– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with  active link and direction to this original post.

The New Vintage Kitchen does not accept ads or payment for mention of products or businesses.

Supporter of:  Slow Food       Fair Trade USA       Northeast Organic Farmers Association     EcoWatch    Let’s Save Our Planet No Kid Hungry   Hunger Free Vermont Environmental Working Group World Central Kitchen

82 Comments Add yours

  1. Christy B says:

    You have me hungry and I just ate breakfast! YUM

    1. A nice little snack, and it’s chocolate and nuts, good for you, right?

  2. These bars look heavenly- who could resist. Great recipe/

    1. They are hard to resist indeed!

  3. Bernadette says:

    Isn’t it funny how a recipe becomes a “secret”? Love your little leopard helper.

    1. We laughed so hard!

  4. Suzassippi says:

    Do you think they will still turn out if I don’t have a leopard to help? I love toffee, so these are on my list for today!

    1. Yes, the leopard is great help, but not absolutely essential – they are too unpredictable.

  5. Ronit says:

    These look dangerously addictive! Great story too! 🙂

    1. They are Ronit! Tread carefully.

    2. Thank you Ronit, hard to eat just one!

  6. Mary says:

    I’m certainly going to make those next time the biscuit tin empties. But my little leopard helper has grown up and gone away. Maybe I’ll just pass her the recipe!! And they have dark chocolate. Yum :))

    1. Mary says:

      Couldn’t wait, made them!! Had to see if a Little Keopard helper would appear!! :)))
      Haven’t tried them, still cooling.

      1. Mary says:

        Even a **Leopard**

      2. I am sure you will be pleased!

    2. You will definitely fill the tin, so when the big leopard visits…

  7. Sheree says:

    These look scrumptious

    1. Merci! They are a favorite in our family now.

      1. Sheree says:

        Wholly understandable

  8. Oh goodness, I wish I could still eat gluten. I love toffee. They look wonderful

    1. These come out beautifully using a good gf baking mix, even a little better texture.

  9. NativeNM says:

    Making toffee has been on my bucket list for the longest time. I still have my old Betty Crocker cookbook and I had to check it out to see if the recipe was there. To my surprise it was! Thank you Dorothy!!

    1. I think it was in a lot of editions!

  10. leggypeggy says:

    I see this in my future.

    1. I’m glad your crystal ball is working so well!

  11. This is ridiculous, I’m actually panting like a dog, and maybe drooling a little! Dorothy, I adore you, but if we were neighbors, I would have absolutely no self control. I’d sleep on your porch and walk on your flower beds to see what you were cooking in the kitchen. This is perfect for Easter! Thank you. Hugs, C

    1. It’s a great Easter treat because it makes a lot with little time.
      (I think I tripped over you last night in the dark kitchen…),

  12. nancyc says:

    These bars look like such a treat! You can’t go wrong with chocolate and toffee! 🙂

    1. A winning combination!

  13. lisinmayenne says:

    Mmm, they look so good! I’ve bookmarked them to try next time our own little leopards come visiting . . . 😉

    1. Wonderful! It’s a great way to keep leopards happy!

  14. I remember these bars. And they are great to make with kids!

    1. Glad I could tickle your memory bones!

  15. sunisanthosh says:

    Oh these are drooling recipe. Surely I will try to do.

    1. Once you try them, you’ll be hooked!

  16. Cooking with a little helper is the best cooking of all. 🙂 I love this recipe, and I’m headed out to get some coconut this morning to make them. We are a nut-free household because a family member has food allergies. I can hardly wait to make them.

    1. I love them just as much as with the nuts! Enjoy!

  17. Gail says:

    Chocolate is my friend and since I want it every day, toffee convinces me that permission is granted!!! ❤️🤎❤️

    1. They are always in cahoots!

  18. Jenna says:

    Good old Betty Crocker. so easy, so good!

  19. OMG!! How I love these! I have the Betty Crocker Cookbook – an engagement gift from my mother-in-law. After almost 55 years, have no explanation as to how I could have missed this recipe in that wonderful old book. What a great Saturday morning find!

    1. They disappeared from our house in absolutely no time!
      I have my Mom’s BC cookbook, and I put a little sticky note on that page. The Secret Cookies.

      1. They are the best! I remember my mom buying these somewhere when I was a kid and I’d practically eat the whole box by myself!

      2. I can believe it! Every time I walked by the treat plate, another one was missing, and I wasn’t the one who ate them…

  20. These sound and look amazing! Can’t wait to make them!

    1. Thank you! I think you’ll be pleased. A crowd pleaser for sure!

  21. angelamara says:

    This post literally made me drool! Thanks for sharing this recipe, Dorothy! And for giving a nut-free option. When I bring baked goods to bake sales, I always try to make them nut-free. I think I will have to try it with the crisped rice – YUM!!! These will be dangerous to have in my kitchen…

    1. I make them nut free for bake sales, and on the label I even identify the type of chocolate so they know they are safe, With a daughter and a granddaughter both with severe nut allergies, I’ve learned to maneuver the ropes over the years. And at the sales, I often have that granddaughter with me helping and she lets them know they are safe.

  22. TaMara says:

    Oh, yum! I was trying to think of what sweet I could make my dad that would freeze and thaw well and I think this is it.

    1. Oh yes, this is the ticket! I have over half of what I made and didn’t give away safely secured in the freezer! (PS I shouldn’t tell you, but they are even good still frozen…).

  23. Ally Bean says:

    My mother made these at Christmastime. The nuts had to be pecans. I haven’t made them in years and now if I made them I’d probably do almonds, mother forgive me.

    1. One must always follow the nut of one’s choice!

  24. JOY journal says:

    These are so wonderful! And, they bring back an odd memory. When I was a young journalist, newspapers ran standard-form obituaries for free. One funeral home expressed their pleasure in our accuracy every Christmas by sending toffee squares to the whole staff. They were made in the funeral home itself, which was also a home to one of the directors. As a 20-something, this creeped me out a bit. But, not enough to prevent me from enjoying them!!

    1. What a great story! From one former young journalist to another, I know how those little treats helped through some dismal news!

    2. this is a really funny story!! I would have found that a little creepy too – I mean what else were they cooking in there?

      1. We don’t want to ask!

  25. Addicting indeed 😋😋 Your leopard is really cute 😉

    1. Thank you! She’s a really good leopard helper!

  26. I haven’t had Toffee Bars since I was a kid! This looks delicious Dorothy!

    1. You’ll have to make them some time, just for old times sake!

  27. They do look familiar!!

    And you are right – waiting for them to cool would be the hardest part!

  28. terrie gura says:

    I could eat the whole plate of this myself! How do you say, “yummy” in leopard-speak? 🙂

    1. I can’t tell, it’s a secret…

  29. These look delicious. I was looking for a square to use in lieu of cake for my husband’s birthday tomorrow!

    1. So easy, makes a lot and they freeze well!
      Tell him Happy Birthday!

      1. Thank you, Dorothy! He is off (indoor) golfing this morning so I will get on making this amazing looking bar soon.

      2. Let me know how they come out!

      3. It came out good! I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and coconut for the topping. It came out tasting like a Twice bar (with coconut).

      4. Wonderful! It’s really nice with the coconut!

      5. It is. 🤗

  30. Carolyn Page says:

    Oh Dorothy! These look absolutely amazing, and I will, like everyone, keep this secret – forever! Hahah.. 😀
    Loved the whole story – still chuckling!

    1. I am so glad to be able to trust you with the secret!

      1. Carolyn Page says:


  31. AOC says:

    What a perfect munch

    1. They really are, and a great mood lifter!

  32. Leah says:

    This looks so yummy! I now know what I’m going to do this weekend.

    1. They are fun to make, and universally liked!

Please leave your valued comment here...