Coffee Cookie Crack Bars

Chocolate  |  Published Apr 16, 2020  |  Updated Jun 15, 2020  |  By Tawnie

coffee toffee bars on parchment paper

So here’s the story about these coffee toffee bars

Cameron’s grandmother makes a delicious recipe for coffee toffee bars. I’ve had it at her house before and most recently at a bridal shower.

Her recipe is made with almonds and almond extract.

Cameron is allergic to nuts.

I figured other people with nut allergies needed to enjoy this recipe too so we walked over to her house…

I asked if she had the recipe handy. She gave me the recipe which was handwritten on a 3×5 card (and told me it wasn’t even the original, it was a copy!)

I excitedly came home and started testing.

3 batches later and I nailed the recipe for these coffee cookie crack bars and was so happy I had made it into a nut free toffee bar.

Cameron was equally as happy too – haha!

coffee toffee bars on parchment paper

What is toffee?

Toffee (toffy) is a candy that is made by cooking sugar, water (or cream) and usually butter to anywhere from 260° – 310°F on a candy thermometer, depending on whether a chewy or crunchy toffee is preferred. Other ingredients can be added, which is usually nuts.

So in Cam’s grandma’s toffee bars recipe, none of this fancy candy thermometer business was necessary.

I was happy about it because I don’t own a candy thermometer. (oops!)

cookie bars with sea salt on top

Also, the bars aren’t crunchy like perhaps a traditional toffee bar recipe. These crack bars are more chewy & cookie-ish!

What ingredients do I need to make these toffee bars?

cookie bars ingredients
  • Butter: You will want butter softened to room temperature. Take it our of the fridge ~30 minutes prior to baking. Butter is officially softened and ready to use when it can be easily squished between your thumb and forefinger.

And I know, we all forget to take the butter out ahead of time!

Pro tip: Don’t use the microwave to soften butter. The microwave method typically melts the butter a little and melted butter will result in a different baked good that you won’t want.

OK, so how do I soften butter quickly if I forget to take it out?

Two ways I’ve tried: You can cut the butter in small chunks and place it near a warming stove or window seal or put the butter in a baggie and use a rolling pin or meat pounder to flatten the butter.

cookie bars with sea salt on top
  • Brown sugar: I used a dark brown sugar in this recipe. The brown sugar will get creamed with the softened butter in the first step.
  • Instant Coffee Granules: You’ll need two hefty tablespoons of instant coffee. I use Nescafe but any brand works.
  • Flour: All-Purpose flour. I have not tested this recipe with any other flour varieties.
  • Chocolate chips: Milk chocolate chips are the best in this recipe!
  • Sweetened Condensed milk: You will need 1, 14oz. can. This is what is used for the top layer of the toffee bars!
  • Other ingredients needed: vanilla extract, salt and baking powder. (Espresso powder is optional)
freshly baked cookie crack bars

How to make these coffee cookie crack bars:

  1. Cream the softened butter and brown sugar: Cream together using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer.
  2. Blend in the rest of the ingredients: Add in the vanilla extract, instant coffee, baking powder, salt, flour and chocolate chips. Mix until combined.
  3. Press into a 9×13 inch oven safe baking dish: Use clean hands to press mixture down. Or if you feel weird using your hands use the back of a measuring cup or a rubber spatula to press down in an even layer.
  4. Bake this for 20 minutes at 350°F.
  5. Meanwhile, make the top layer: In a small sauce pan over low heat, heat the condensed milk and the butter. The condensed milk will become nice and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. Once the cookie layer has cooked, pour the condensed milk on top. Place back in oven and bake again for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Let cool for about 30 minutes – 1 hour (if you can wait!).
  8. Cut into bars and enjoy!
step by step photos of how to make coffee toffee bars

Can you freeze toffee bars?

Yes, you can totally freeze these. Store them in an air tight container for up to 3 months.

How to cut the bars into diamonds

Cut diagonally across the bars beginning in one corner—the lower left corner is an easy place to make your first cut—and cutting from one toothpick to the next closest on the perpendicular side. Continue making cuts across the bars moving from left to right.

When you’ve cut all the way across, begin cutting from the corner above where you started.

how to cut toffee bars into diamonds
toffee bars with milk chocolate chips
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Coffee Cookie Crack Bars

Coffee Toffee Bars (egg-free, nut-free!) are a delicious no fuss dessert and are totally freezer friendly! These cookie bars have a soft chewy texture making them an ideal dessert…that's literally like crack! So addicting!
4.77 from 34 reviews
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
cooling time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 24 bars
Calories: 194kcal

Ingredients

For the cookie layer:

  • 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks, 16 Tbsp.)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. Instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp. espresso powder (optional)

For the top layer:

  • 1 (14 oz.) can condensed milk (sweetened)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. flaky sea salt
TEXT INGREDIENTS

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream the softened butter and brown sugar: Cream together using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer.
  • Blend in the rest of the ingredients: Add in the flour, chocolate chips, Instant coffee, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract (and optional espresso powder if you have it!) Mix until combined on medium speed.
  • Press into a 9×13 inch oven safe baking dish: Use clean hands to press mixture down. Or if you feel weird using your hands use the back of a measuring cup or a rubber spatula to press down in an even layer.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the top layer: In a small sauce pan over low heat, heat the condensed milk and the butter. Stir occasionally and heat on low until the condensed milk becomes nice and smooth, ~10 minutes. (Keep on low so it doesn't burn the bottom). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Once the cookie layer is done, pour the condensed milk on top in an even layer. Place back in oven and bake again for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, it will be bubbling, and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Let cool for about 30 minutes – 1 hour (if you can wait!). Cut into bars and enjoy. Store in the fridge or freezer. We love these even more day 2 and 3…and 4, so they can easily be made in advance if needed.

Video

Notes

  • We’re all human and sometimes forget to take the butter out early to let it soften. Do not place in microwave, it will melt and we don’t want that in this recipe. If you need to soften quickly here are two ways I’ve tried: You can cut the butter in small chunks and place it near a warming stove or window seal or put the butter in a baggie and use a rolling pin or meat pounder to flatten the butter.
  • But if you have the time I recommend letting it come to room temperature on the counter. Butter is officially softened and ready to use when it can be easily squished between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Store unrefrigerated in an airtight container up to three days, or freeze for three months.
  • If you do want to add nuts like grandmas original recipe, use almond extract instead of the vanilla extract in both the cookie layer and the top condensed milk layer and add in 1/2 cup chopped almonds in the cookie bar layer. 
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Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 194kcal

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29 Comments
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Lianne
28 days ago

These came out fabulous, even though I made some mistakes! I made the original almond flavored recipe, but forgot to add the baking powder to the cookie base and used 2 tsp of almond extract in the topping. We love almond flavor, though, and they are great!

Mimi
1 month ago

Question: I’m wanting to make these yummy bars..in the cookie part, is that instant coffee “granules” we add??
Thank you!

Mimi
1 month ago
Reply to  Krolls Korner

Thank you!

Constance
2 months ago

Would espresso powder work in place of instant coffee?

Emily
2 months ago

My new favourite recipe! These were so quick and easy to make, and they taste amazing. You can’t go wrong with coffee and sweetened condensed milk. I’ve never left a review on a recipe before, but I have to for this one. It’s that good!

Aimee
9 months ago

Absolutely delicious! I didn’t have salt flakes so I just used a salt grinder for the finishing on top.

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