Toffee squares

Last Friday, the day after my birthday, Sam texted me asking if I wanted a cookbook. I said yes. But of course! She said couldn’t find any by Giada de Laurentiis or Ina Garten but there was one by Bobby Flay. I knew she was joking when she mentioned Bobby Flay because he’s one of the celebrity chefs on TV that I like the least. But, never mind, she texted again, she already chose one. What it was, she didn’t say.

Later that night, she posted a photo on Facebook of herself holding a gift bag. The photo caption was a message that I please return the gift bag to her because she would reuse it next year for my birthday.

There’s the photo.

On Saturday, as planned, we went to Chinatown for dinner. We picked up Sam from the condo (Alex came home on Friday evening) and she gave me my birthday gift. I started opening the gift bag when she warned me not to pull out the book in an upright position. I asked why. She said that “things” would fall off. And I wondered what those “things” were. Was the cookbook an old one with pages falling out? Not an old cookbook, as it turned out. A spanking new one. With bookmarks that she was afraid would fall off. Sam had scanned through the pages and placed bookmarks on the recipes she liked. Each bookmark said, “Bake me!” Smart girl. She made me happy with her gift. And she’s going to make herself happy (and her father and sister too) for a long time by making sure that the recipes she likes gets baked at home. Very, very smart.

The book is 101 Fuss-Free Bakes by Hilary Biller, Jenny Kay and Elinor Storkey. These toffee squares was among the recipes that Sam had bookmarked. Toffee squares

These wonderful cookies contain no eggs. The crust and topping are made with a crumbly buttery dough; the filling is a thick caramel. The top and bottom are crisp; the center is soft and chewy. Wonderful. Simply wonderful. And, true to the cookbook’s title, it is fuss-free.

Recipe: Toffee squares

Adapted from 101 Fuss-Free Bakes


For the caramel filling:

  • 1/2 c. of firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps. of butter
  • 2 tbsps. of honey
  • 2 generous pinches of salt
  • 1 c. of cream

For the crust and topping:

  • 125 g. of butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 c. of white sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 c. of cake flour
  • 1 tsp. of instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. In a thick-bottomed pan, mix all the ingredients for the caramel filling until the sugar dissolves. Set over medium heat and bring to the boil.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened (takes about ten minutes). Set aside.
  5. Make the crust and topping.
  6. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
  8. Add the flour, baking powder and coffee granules. Mix until blended. The mixture will have the appearance of pea-sized crumbs.
  10. Take two thirds of the mixture and press onto the bottom of a 7″ x 11″ pan.
  12. Pour the caramel filling over the crust.
  14. Level off the caramel with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
  16. Sprinkle the remaining third of the crumbs over the caramel.
  18. Tilt the pan to distribute the crumbs evenly so that the entire surface is covered.
  19. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  21. Cool in the pan for about 40 minutes. Cut into squares while still warm.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): about 18 squares Toffee squares

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  1. BlondeBomber says

    Oh man, do these look decadently divine! I am tempted to make these, but I will eat them all. I should probably just wait until Thanksgiving, so all the kids can gobble them up! Thanks for sharing

  2. Julius Sinlao says


    >>you said:
    >>Bobby Flay because he’s one of the celebrity
    >>chefs on TV that I like the least.

    Nyahahaha … Mention of Bobby Flay and it reminds me of that
    Iron Chef match between and Morimoto. Flay won the match and in his excitement stood up on top of his Kitchen Table, Cutting Board to cheer his supporters ( It was gesture of disrespect for his Japanese opponent.

    Morimoto of course declared that Flay was not a chef and dishonors the kitchen table, chopping board, utensils, by stepping on them, which according to Japanese culture and religion (Shintuism or Buddhism) are supposed to be treated as sacred.

    • says

      There are only two of his shows that are shown locally — Boy Meets Grill and Showdown with Bobby Flay. In Boy Meets Grill, he is just so sloppy. He slops the food on the grill like, well, he acts like they’re trash being dumped into the trash. I suppose that, to some, it makes him look slick or something. But, to me, it’s just slopping cooking (plus arrogance). He doesn’t look like he enjoys what he’s doing. More like he’s just going through the motions to get the show done. I’ve read reviews that the food at his Mesa resto is good, but as a TV host, he sucks. He’s so dicky.

      • emyM says

        After eating 2 bars of this yummy squares,I realized that the
        crumbly crust and topping is similar to the melt-in-the mouth
        “shortbread” cookies I so love.

        The easy to follow photo instructions tremendously helped me.
        Sam made a great choice.

        I will make 5 dozens of this for our next bake sale at the hospital to benefit needy children.

        Thanks again,Connie.

  3. tangy says

    Hi miss connie,tanong ko lang po anong klaseng cream ang ginamit nyo dito?Pwede po ba yong nestle all purpose cream?Thank u:)

  4. daisy_duck says

    hi! Im just curious with the caramel prep. It states that caramel ingredients will be mixed together until the sugar dissolves, Ive had an accident with my caramel before that I didnt wait till the “white” sugar turned amber in color before adding the “other” ingrdients and it turned out looking like condensed milk. Is it because I used white sugar then?

    This looks amazing and will be planning to make it tonight! Wish me luck! :)

      • daisy_duck says

        Thanks Ma’am! We’ll try this tonight and will provide feedback next week. *crossing fingers here* BTW, I absolutely love your recipes, easy to follow and no frills. I’m no culinary expert, just a mom and a wife who developed a love for cooking. I also shared your recipes with my mom so that she can cook it for my dad who can only eat veggies and fish due to health concerns and my dad loves it! yay!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! :)

    • Deb says

      HI, I live in NZ and love this cookbook. I made the toffee squares for the first time today, (thanks to your site) and declare them delicious. I LOVE the addition of coffee

  5. daisy_duck says

    I made this last Friday, taste was delicious. My batter though wasnt crumbly, I guess I overmixed it but the texture did not affect the over all result. Will make again this weekend! Thanks Ms. Connie!!! :)

  6. says


    I prefer Tyler Florence over Mr. Flay (not because of the above mentioned events), but that’s not my main point for now.

    Your daughter is so sweet ( I’m a bit like her when it comes to gift giving, I sometimes get overboard).

    I’m sure you’ll have good memories and happy tummy(s?) because of her gift.

  7. Kristine says

    hi ms connie. more oven concerns…

    do i need to turn on both the top and bottom heat of the oven? or just one of them?
    also, should i place the pan in the middle rack? or nearer to the top/bottom?

    and i also had a problem with preheating.

    before i venture in making the toffee squares, i tried to make coconut macaroons as my my first baking project since it called for fewer and cheaper ingredients, so that i wouldn’t cry much if it becomes a disaster. the macaroons recipe required 350 F preheating. thus, i set the temp to 350F and timer to 15 mins and put an oven thermometer inside. however, before it reached 10 mins, the temp reached 350 F and was further increasing even if i didnt adjust the temp. fearing that it may become overheated, i set the temp to something lower than 350F. when the temp on the oven thermometer started to drop and reached 350F i then again set the temp to 350F and put the cupcake pan inside, setting the timer to 30 mins as required by the recipe. however, after 10 mins, the top of the macaroons was already golden brown. sadly, when i checked, the middle portion was not yet baked.

    i don’t want this to happen to my toffee squares. i hope you can enlighten me on the things i did wrong.


  8. says

    Kristene, unless otherwise stated, yes, you place the pan in the middle rack.

    As to the rest, I can answer questions relevant to my post but I’ve never even seen your oven much less work with it. It’s your oven and every oven behaves differently. It’s your responsibility to learn how to use it and understand its quirks. Ovens also need to be calibrated occasionally.

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