Salted Toffee & Coffee Blondies

April 21, 2023
15 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • makes 16 blondies
Author Notes

Some may think blondies exist for those who can’t decide between brownies and chocolate chip cookies. However, I believe they are very much their own being. They’re dense and chewy, butterscotch-rich, and perhaps most importantly, take to just about whatever mix-ins you throw at them. My recipe developer brain can’t keep quiet whenever I bake a batch. I find myself rummaging through the pantry for add-ins beyond chocolate chunks or chips like nuts, pretzels, candy bars, and beyond.

This is my current favorite iteration. It’s inspired by the coffee Heath bar ice cream from my favorite Cape Cod ice cream shop, The Ice Cream Smuggler. I spent summer after summer frequenting the local haunt as a kid and while mint chip was my go-to back then, it’s now far and away their chocolate-coated, toffee bar-studded, coffee flavor. The combination of bitter coffee and sweet toffee is yet another culinary proof that opposites attract.

To mimic this marriage, a couple of tablespoons of instant espresso (or espresso powder) are stirred into the buttery, brown sugar blondie batter. I opted for a decaffeinated instant espresso, which is a little harder to find, but in my opinion, worth the effort so I can sleep through the night. If you’re less caffeine-sensitive, just go with the regular stuff. Any chocolate-coated toffee bar can be chopped up beautifully and folded in the batter here, but Heath and Skor are the two most popular brands you’ll find in grocery and convenience stores. The finishing touch is a shower of flaky sea salt, which elevates just about any dessert—these humble blondies included—and makes it all too easy to reach for a second (or third).
Sheela Prakash

What You'll Need
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso or espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 (1.4-ounce) chocolate-coated toffee bars, such as Heath or Skor, coarsely chopped (a scant 1 cup)
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center.
  2. Cut the butter into 4 pieces and place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring between each, until the butter is mostly melted and only a few small pieces remain, about a minute total. (Alternatively, melt in a small saucepan on the stovetop over low heat then pour into a large bowl, or in a large bowl set over a double boiler.) Set aside to cool for a few minutes and to allow any remaining pieces of butter to melt. Meanwhile, line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two opposite sides like a sling (this will make removing the blondies from the pan easier).
  3. Add the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract to the bowl of melted butter; using a rubber spatula, stir until combined and smooth. Add the flour, instant espresso, baking powder, and salt, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped toffee.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake until the edges are firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Use the parchment sling to lift the blondie slab out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Carolyn
  • SophieL
  • jpriddy
  • Nancy Mck
    Nancy Mck
Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year and Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.

11 Reviews

Carolyn May 12, 2024
These did not work for me. I didn’t mind the strong coffee flavor but the recipe seemed very skimpy. When poured in an 8x8 pan the batter was maybe 1/3 inch thick tops. Thought they might rise from the baking powder but they did not. Stayed the same thickness or maybe less. I baked for 25 minutes - which in hindsight was probably my problem and a mistake - and they were almost like a thin hard cracker. No way should this be called a blondie. Will not make again.
SophieL February 5, 2024
I'm a big coffee lover and made these blondies as per the recipe, trusting that the recipe was test kitchen-approved. But 2 tablespoons of espresso powder (I used King Arthur Espresso Powder) overpowered the butterscotch toffee, making these even a little bitter. Next time I'll reduce the espresso powder to 1 tablespoon.
Nancy M. October 13, 2023
I like the idea of these better than the reality. They are way too sweet for me. The one piece of advice I can give you is to chop the toffee bars smaller than I did, which would be 1/4"ish.
Kaja1105 July 19, 2023
I have now made these a number of times, and they are fantastic. I brought them to a gathering, and people I was meeting for the first time thanked me profusely for bringing them when we were saying our farewells. The first time I made them, I used regular Medaglia d'Oro espresso powder (which was what I had on hand) but used only one tablespoon since I can be sensitive to caffeine late in the day. (The instructions on the jar suggest using one teaspoon for a six-ounce cup of coffee.) That seemed perfect. I then ordered Café Bustelo decaf espresso powder and found it much less intense. Bakers should add espresso powder to taste, but many may prefer two tablespoons if using this product. I will also note that if you have access to Trader Joe's, they sell a box of toffee chips (half milk and half dark chocolate) that provides the perfect amount for two batches. You'll definitely want to make them again.
Veggie A. May 13, 2023
Oh, these are WONDERFUL! My oven can sometimes run low, so I ended up baking for 35 minutes. They’re just heavenly - what a delightful combination of flavors.
Ann May 3, 2023
Sorry but not my favorite. They are very sweet, which I should have realized given the ingredients and their amounts. There was absolutely no taste of salt, even though I dusted the top with flaky sea salt. And despite the toothpick coming out “mostly clean” as directed, they tasted almost raw in texture. I wouldn’t make them again. Just not for me.
jpriddy April 30, 2023
Maybe three and a half stars. Rich, thin, pretty.

I might make it again, but with 2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of espresso powder. I was skeptical of 2 tablespoons and found the coffee flavor completely overwhelmed everything else.
jpriddy May 1, 2023
I will also note that unless you use decaffeinated espresso, these bars would not be a wise choice if children are around. Two 2" bars is a shot of strong espresso.
txchick57 June 14, 2023
who cares
cmasters April 29, 2023
These are yummy and a breeze to make!
NibbleMaster April 25, 2023
Absolutely the best dessert ever! Super simple to make and a great combination of bitter, sweet, coffee, and toffee! Would make (and eat) them everyday if I could.