The Winning Cookie…Toffee Almond Sandies

Toffee almond sandies

A huge thank you to all who participated in the Le Creuset Cookie Contest! I received hundreds of wonderful and cherished family recipes, and the ones I tried were all delicious.


But even better than the cookies were the heartwarming stories behind them…I loved reading about Kathryn’s Kelly’s Chocolate Nut Drop Christmas Cookies, a recipe she received in junior high, then renamed after her daughter because she went into labor shortly after enjoying them one Christmas night; or Beth’s beautiful Cucidatis (fig cookies) that she grew up baking with her loving Italian grandmother; or Julie’s Double Ginger Snaps that she makes every year with her husband to usher in the holiday season…they wait until their kids are in bed, then make a mess of the kitchen rolling out the dough, baking the cookies and drinking White Russians (how fun is that?). Undoubtedly, for all of us, holiday cookies are as much about family traditions and special memories as they are about taste.

Mexican wedding cookies
Wedding Cookies

There were far too many recipes for me to bake them all, so I had to narrow them down. A vast majority of you love Wedding Cookies (also known as Viennese Crescent Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes), so I eliminated those from the running because the recipes were too similar to differentiate; same goes for holiday cut-outs, old-fashioned sugar cookies with frosting, and all forms of chocolate chip cookies. There were many unique entries; initially, I planned on baking just three, but as you can see, I couldn’t resist trying a few more…

Rasberry almond thumbprints
Rose’s Raspberry Almond Thumbprints…Pretty and Delicious

Twix bars 1
Carrie’s Quick Fix “Twix Bar” Cookies…A Homespun Version of a Classic

Lemon thins
Mary Ann’s Lemon Thins…Delicate and Lemony

Ambrosia macaroons
Susan’s Ambrosia Macaroons…A Delicious Combination of Coconut, Orange and Chocolate

Chocolate turtles
Teresa’s Chocolate Turtles…Chocolate Pecan Cookies filled with pools of Creamy Caramel

I packed the cookies up and brought them to a dinner party of twelve close friends. For dessert, we did a cookie tasting, which—in addition to being great fun—seemed like the fairest way to pick a winner. The Toffee Almond Sandies were the favorite, which was surprising because the others looked far more interesting. But that’s what I love about these cookies: they look plain but when you bite into them, you discover a buttery, sweet shortbread studded with melted toffee bits and crunchy almonds—they’re just wonderfully good.

Toffee almond sandies 2

The winning recipe comes from Kelly in Virginia, who bakes them every Christmas with her family. The original recipe was printed years ago in Taste of Home magazine and was given to her by a close family friend.

Toffee almond sandies 3

The nice thing about these cookies is that they’re perfect any time of day. You can eat them for breakfast, have some with tea in the afternoon, or polish off a few after dinner. They’re light, crisp and addicting–in fact, it’s impossible to eat just one.

Toffee almond sandies 1

They’re also incredibly easy to make and keep well, making them—in my mind, at least—the perfect holiday cookie. Congrats to Kelly and thanks, everyone, for sharing your wonderful recipes!

Toffee Almond Sandies

Print Recipe
Servings: Makes about 9 dozen (you can easily halve the recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies
  • 1 cup Confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups chopped almonds
  • 6 ounces (or 1 heaping cup) English toffee bits

Instructions

  1. Set racks in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, granulated sugar and Confectioners’ sugar until well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula, then add oil, eggs and almond extract; mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix slowly to combine. Stir in almonds and toffee bits.
  4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in sugar, then place about 2" apart on prepared baking sheets and flatten with a fork. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through cooking, for 14-17 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

 

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  • Carin

    Would you please post the recipes for the other cookies pictured in this post? They look amazing as well! Thanks!

  • Renee

    Yum. They all sound and look good. Will you please share recipes for the runners up that are featured? Pretty please!

  • Sonja Denney

    These all look wonderful and I want to try them all…but first will be Toffee Almond Sandies…then Twix bar. Beautiful pictures as usual!

  • D

    All of those cookies look delicious! Could you share the recipes for all the pictured ones???

  • Janise Murphy

    I loved this post. Will you share the other “runners-ups?”

    Janise

  • Yes!! Please print the recipes for the other cookies pictured. I am really interested in the lemon thins!!! Thanks,
    Courtney

  • Anne Ammerman

    What type of Heath’s Toffee bits did you use? I found Milk Chocolate ones and Bits of Brickle Toffee (which is what I purchased) at a Food Lion. I haven’t made them yet.

    Anne

  • Mary Ann

    The Toffee Almond Sandies look delish!

    I am honored that you tried the lemon thins!

    That was a fun giveaway! I hope you will share the other recipes!

  • Ditto… please share the other recipes. They all look fabulous, especially Rose’s Raspberry Almond Thumbprints… they just LOOK like Christmas!

  • Carrie

    Congrats to Kelly! I agree, I would love to see the recipes for the others as well.

  • Lynn

    We loved these cookies! They make A LOT! We’ll be adding this to our Christmas cookie list from now on for sure. Thanks!

  • Jenn

    Hi All, I don’t think I’ll get the other recipes posted before the holidays but if you’re interested in any of them, email me at jennifer@onceuponachef.com and I’ll send them to you directly. Thanks!

  • Jenn

    Anne, Toffee Bits of Brickle is the one to use.

  • I love that you made all of these cookies and then did a “taste test” with your friends. Genius. And what lucky friends you have to taste all these goodies! Happy holiday! (p.s. thanks for your recent comment…so great to meet you).

  • Tom

    Wonderful cookie Jen, I was also curious if you plan on posting the other cookie recipes that were submitted? Always curious to see what other bakers created. As for these Toffee Almond Sandies, I broke mine up in batches and added some ground pecans to one group, toffee speckles (fine ground) to another & chocolate speckles to the third group sprinkling the tops lightly before making any indentations & baking. Another option is rolling them lightly in fine ground pecans or almonds before pressing into a cookie and baking.

  • Great ideas, Tom! So funny because as I was baking them, I wondered how they’d be with both pecans and chocolate, but because it was a cookie contest, I had to stick to the recipe. Thank you for letting me know! I’ll definitely experiment a little next time.

  • Amy

    These are quite possibly the best cookies I’ve ever eaten! I’m so glad the recipe makes 9 dozen. I may eat most of them myself!

  • Natalie

    I made these yesterday slightly deviating from the recipe. Instead of almonds and toffee, I went the pecan sandie route as they are the favorite of my boyfriend’s father. I swapped the almond extract for 2 teaspoons of vanilla, added about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and used 2 cups of chopped/toasted pecans. I knew once I tried the batter these cookies were going to be amazing but that first bite was absolute bliss. They blew me, and everyone else, away. Eat your heart out Keebler elves!

  • alice

    I made these today. Wonderful. I made half the recipe. Definitely use the parchment paper as they do brown on the bottom. How nice to have a new cookie to add to my Christmas cookie collection. Love your site and your recipes. How about a few more Christmas cookie recipes for this year??

  • Rita

    Can’t wait to make these! Would love to try the others, will you please post those recipes as well? Thanks!

  • Michelle

    These cookies were a hit with the whole family and did not last long!

  • Susan Pfund

    I made this at Christmas and dipped half of each cookie in Chocolate. Soooooo good!

  • Crystal Soto

    My girlfriend & I had a bake date, we decided to bake these Toffee Almond Sandies, the recipe was easy to follow and they were absolutely delicious! We sprinkled ground cinnamon on half of the batch, it was a nice touch.

  • Julie K

    I have made these cookies several times and they are always a big hit.

  • Paige

    My daughter and I made these for Christmas. My new favorite for sure! Loved them!

  • Donna

    I just made this recipe today, and it is a hit with everyone in my family. I find it to be the perfect cookie — perfect texture, taste, and look. It is light and crisp. The almonds make a great taste and texture. (I had sliced almonds on hand and just put those in the chopper to use. Very nice.) The cookies are flavorful — not too sweet and definitely not bland. And they have a perfect, light color and look. I know we’ll be making these again and again. I baked on a Silpat rather than parchment paper. Delicious cookies.

  • Amy Simonson

    These are the absolute BEST cookies I’ve ever had! They’re super easy to make and I love that they make so many. I’ve taken them to every function I’ve been to since you posted this winner and each time I get multiple requests for the recipe.

  • Pecan sandies are my favorite store bought cookie. These are even better.

  • Anne

    I have made these twice to give as gifts and the recipients thought they were great both times. We have enjoyed them also.

  • Linda

    I have made these a couple of times and they are great.. I used chocolate covered heath peices on one occaision and they turned out just as good.

  • Janda

    These are my husband’s absolute favorite cookie! Seems like I can’t make them fast enough sometimes.

  • Karen

    Great tasting cookies!!

  • Gayle Snyder

    These cookies are great. Recipe easy and fast.

  • Tamar

    my mouth is watering and I love the Twix bars!

  • Denise

    Delicious…I used unbleached flour since I dint have any whole wheat flour & it worked great. I would love to win the cook wear

  • Lindsay Lutsi

    We added these last year to our annual Christmas cookies to make. They were a hit with everyone who tried them, I wouldn’t change anything!

  • Karen

    I have made these cookies a few times and they always turn out great! I accidentally bought the chocolate covered toffee bits and used them anyway, and the cookies were still good!!

  • Marguerite

    I live in Tasmania, Australia and am unsure what is meant by English toffee bits. Is it crunchy toffee broken into shards? Or small bits of firm caramel, also known as toffee in Britain?
    I would like to try the recipe, but can’t find the product you mention in my local stores. We do, however, have a local sweet shop that sells many traditional British sweets (candies) so I think I could make a reasonable adaptation if I had more of an idea of what I am looking for. Thanks.

    • Jenn

      Hi Marguerite, It is crunchy toffee broken into shards. Hope you are able to find a good substitute…the cookies are delicious!

  • Lillian

    Would really like to try this recipe, just one question…Is it okay to use almond flour instead of the regular flour Somehow I have this bag of flour and is it okay though.

    Thank you and hope to hear from you soon

    • Jenn

      Hi Lillian, I’m sorry almond flour will not work as a substitute for regular flour.

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