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Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread

Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread pack some fantastic flavor in a simple shortbread cookie!

stack of Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread on a white plate

I love to bake all kinds of cookies, but I often turn to shortbread when I want something quick, easy, and crowd-pleasing. These Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread certainly check all of those boxes. They feature simple flavors in a simple recipe. And they’re always such a hit!

The starting point of these cookies is a fairly basic shortbread made with plenty of brown sugar. To that, toffee bits and a hint of cinnamon provide a wonderful flavor. These should really come with a warning because they’re so addictive!

Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread served on a textured white plate

With as much baking as I do, I have the basics on hand almost all of the time. If you bake even somewhat frequently, then you’re likely to have everything you need to make these cookies whenever you want to whip up a batch. I love the toffee bits in them to amplify all of that brown sugar, but you can easily substitute something else (like chopped nuts or chocolate) if needed.

As easy as shortbread is to make, it can also be a bit temperamental. Just be careful to measure your ingredients accurately and it will go smoothly. Shortbread dough is characteristically crumbly, but it will hold together when you pinch it. I almost always finish mixing shortbread dough by hand, which helps it to hold together better.

a textured white plate piled with Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread

I use a simple round fluted cookie cutter to cut out these cookies. My limited kitchen space means I don’t have much variety in the cookie cutter department, but you can certainly use other shapes for these cookies if you like. Just keep in mind that changing the size and shape will alter the number of cookies you get from the recipe.

If you love the flavor of brown sugar, then these Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread aren’t to be missed. The addition of toffee just makes them even better. I love these little guys for everything from a cookie swap to an everyday treat!

Find more cookie recipes in the Recipe Index.

More Shortbread Recipes

Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread

Yield about 36 cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread pack a lot of flavor in a small package. A great simple recipe that's sure to please!

Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread pack a lot of flavor in a small package. Love this simple recipe! - Bake or Break

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 3/4 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (80g) toffee bits

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt, and mix just until combined. Mix in the toffee bits. The dough will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched.
  3. Gather the dough into a thin disc. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  5. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness.
  6. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter (or any cutter of your choice) to cut out the cookies. Gather and re-roll the dough once and continue cutting out the cookies.
  7. Place the cookies on the prepared pan, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are browned.
  8. Cool on the pans for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

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    41 Comments on “Brown Sugar Toffee Shortbread”

  1. I love these! They sound simply delicious, and I will definitely try them soon!

  2. These look delicious. I must try them.

  3. This dough just did not work for me. It would not hold together. Does it need more butter?

  4. I actually went back and added a few tablespoons of butter and mixed it in well – that worked.

  5. Oooh I bet the brown sugar and toffee complement the butteriness of the shortbread so well!

  6. Needs a bit higher butter to flour ratio, especially if your flower is very dry (e.d. Cooking in the Arctic)

  7. Sorry, the golden rule of shortbread is 1/2/3. That is, one measure of sugar to two measures butter, to three measures of flour. Your ratios are off, which is why the recipe isn’t working well. 1/2 cup sugar means 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, and no more than 1.5 cups flour, including rice flour or cornstarch (to lower protein sufficiently and increase “shortness”). 1 cup flour (120 grams) and 1/2 cup rice flour would be perfect. If your readers try that their shortbread will melt in their mouths – which is surely the goal. 🙂

    • Hello! Thanks for your insights. That ratio is certainly one that works, especially for shortbread baked in a pan. For rolling out the dough, I’ve relied on this recipe or a variation of it for many years, and it hasn’t failed me yet. 

  8. Does “all purpose flour” mean plain flour, or can I use self-rising flour?  Thanks

  9. I baked these cookies for the minimum bake time.  Got only 24 cookies from recipe and they are brick hard.  Taste is good but milder than expected.  Guess they are good dunkersor hockey pucks.

  10. I just made these and they came out…ok? They taste fine but maybe I added too much flour because they’re a little floury tasting. Definitely not very sweet at all but they held their shape nicely when I used a dinosaur cutter. 

  11. The toffee bits along the edges of my cookies tended to melt more than in the middle and so my edges aren’t nearly as clean as yours… any suggestions?

    • Hi, Jackie. There’s no way to keep the toffee bits from melting. You can see some around the edges in the cookies in my photos. If there’s a lot of toffee that’s spread out from the cookie, you can always trim that a bit if you like.

  12. These are delicious but almost impossible to roll out. I will add more butter or less flour next time. I doubled it and rolled out (laboriously) the half the dough. The second half I’ll pat into a baking dish.

    • Thank you so much for this recipe!!! These are one of my and my friends’ favorite cookies. I made these for a cookie exchange in 2018. I happened to use a bunny cookie cutter and since then, friends lovingly refer to these as “bunny cookies” 🙂  The recipe is perfect and delicious as written. I tend to double/quadruple the recipe and freeze the dough for cookies anytime! First I mix the dough, place some dough between sheets of parchment paper on a baking sheet, roll out to one big flat cookie, and then place the cookie & baking sheet in the freezer (continue with remaining dough). An hour or so later I wrap the dough in a layer of foil and return to freezer. When I am ready to make cookies, defrost a big cookie in the fridge or on the counter. If I am in a hurry, I just use a pizza cutter and cut into squares. But if I have time, bunny cutouts! Then bake as usual. Yum!

  13. Certainly check all of my boxes too 🙂 Thank you !

  14. Can you substitute coconut flour in this?

    • Hi, Amy. I’ve never baked with coconut flour, so I can’t give you a definitive answer. I’d recommend following the manufacturer’s guidelines for substitution. If you try it, let me know how it works!

  15. I love brown sugar and toffee bits. I will certainly be trying these. Thanks for sharing

  16. These are wonderful cookies! Followed the recipe and had no problems. Not a sweet cookie, more like a tea cookie as in a light flavor. Mine were crispy in the edges, soft in the middle, just how I like them. I used a 3″ cutter and it yielded 18 cookies. I will definitely make these again!

  17. Just made these and they are wonderful. I rolled balls and pressed them down like peanut butter cookies.

    • I too had to add additional butter (about 1.5-2 tablespoons) to make these work. I followed the recipe exactly  (and don’t live in high altitude or high humidity) but they were too crumbly to even come together until I added a bit more butter. 

  18. I made this recipe to exact measurements, used the 2 inch fluted cookie cutter, 1/4 inch thick  at the preheated 350 and these just melted, you can’t see the edges at all, I’m not sure what happened but I was meticulous so I wouldn’t waste ingredients and yet here I am with a pan of flat idk What. They melted before they even cooked 

    • I’m sorry you had troubles, Jen! If you didn’t change anything about the recipe, then my best guesses are inaccurate oven temperature or the dough getting too warm. Also, if you’re using a dark pan, that can cause them to spread more.

  19. These look so good! Are other mix ins good with this dough?

  20. Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?

  21. I was a bit pressed for time today but needed to do some baking and when I saw toffee and shortbread in the same recipe I HAD to try it lol. I followed the directions to the point of chilling the dough – but with having a busy day I just didn’t have time to roll out the dough and cut. I just used my cookie scoop and pressed them down a bit with my palm. These cookies are delicious but as I only managed to get 18 cookies out of the batch next time I’ll double it so they last longer than 2 days lol

  22. Unfortunately these cookies did not work out for me. First off my dough was really “wet” almost. So that created lots of sticking problems getting them onto the cookie sheet. I had to bake them for much longer as, again they were so wet and spread like crazy. Mine unfortunately look horrible. But I must say I think it’s your shortbread cuz I made another one of your bars with a “shortbread” crust and had the same weird problems for some reason. So for me I seem to not have any luck with any of your shortbread recipes. It’s too bad. 

    • I’m sorry you had troubles, Nadine! I don’t have the issues you described, so I would guess it might come down to measuring techniques or maybe even the specific ingredients themselves, as not all brands perform the same.

  23. I currently do not have a rolling pin and was considering shaping the dough into a log and chilling it like that, then slicing off rounds to bake. Do you think that would work?

    • Hi, Angela. I’ve not tried that with this dough, but I’m not sure it will hold up well for shaping into a log. I sometimes make shortbread like this just using my hands to flatten and shape the dough, and it works well like that in a pinch.

  24. This recipe looks great. I love me some brown sugar and toffee bits. Thank you for testing it for years and then sharing it with us. If they don’t come out perfect, all on my own I’ll adjust for my elevation, dry humidity, etc. You’ve put up with enough snarky comments to last you a few years.

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