Toffee Almond Sandies

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

Buttery, sweet toffee almond sandies — humble in appearance but wonderfully good.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

These toffee almond sandies were sent to me by Kelly Pittman, along with hundreds of others, for a holiday cookie contest I ran on my blog many years ago. The cookies not only won my contest, they also became a much-loved Segal family favorite. While the cookies may look plain, when you bite into them, you discover a buttery, sweet shortbread studded with melted toffee bits and crunchy almonds. They’re wonderfully good, easy to make, and long lasting. In other words, the perfect holiday cookie.

Heads up: This recipe makes a ton! It is ideal for a bake sale or gift giving, but if you’d like to make less, the recipe can easily be halved.

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Toffee Almond Sandies

Buttery, sweet toffee almond sandies — humble in appearance but wonderfully good.

Servings: Makes about 9 dozen (you can easily halve the recipe)
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3½ 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 inches 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.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To Freeze After Baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

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Comments

  • I’ve been wanting to make these cookies for the longest time, but somehow I never quite had all the ingredients together.
    The toffee bits are are somewhat difficult to obtain, but when I found them, I bought two bags.
    Just took my first batch out of the oven, and they are very delicious.
    I baked them on the shorter side of the time recommended and they are indeed sandy on the edges, but chewy on the interior. Both textures come together in your mouth wonderfully.
    They’re light and flavorful.
    Definitely on the team!
    I used blanched almonds, chopped them and then toasted them in the oven before adding to the batter and it was a nice touch.
    Cheers:)
    Thanks, Jenn.

    • — wendie morin on December 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • I definitely want to make these cookies but have 2 questions. Is English toffee either chopped heath bar or almond roca? Also what measured amount is one inch scoop? Thanks

    • — Chris on December 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Chris, English toffee is like chopped Heath bar. And a #60 scoop will give you a 1 tablespoon ball. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • Delicious cookies! I used raw almonds and toasted them. I baked them for 13 minutes and they were perfect. Thank you for another fabulous recipe.

    • — Amy H on December 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • I am making your Toffee Almond Sandies tomorrow. Can I use Safflower oil instead of Vegetable oil? Also I am wondering why oil is used in this recipe instead of all butter. Thank you. Enjoy your recipes.

    • — Linda on November 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, Yes, you can use safflower oil in place of vegetable oil. And this recipe came from a reader, so I can’t tell you the rationale behind using both butter and oil — I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is truly one of the best cookie recipes ever, and I’ve made many many different ones over the years, in fact I have a huge cookie recipe collection!!
    I make my own almond roca in place of the purchased toffee bars because it is easy and economical, which works really well.
    If your looking for a cookie that surprises people (as these are not the fanciest looking), try these out… boy oh boy are they ever Delish!! as well as hard to stop eating!
    Bravo on this one Jenn

    • — Cherber on September 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • Chef Segal,
    Happy Holidays
    RE: Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crack

    Just a quick question can you share with me the size of the pan in your picture? I have a quarter and full sheet pan so I want to be sure to adjust the recipe accordingly.
    Thank you so very much and I love love the cookbook and continue to appreciate the website. My family demand the carrot ginger soufflé be present at the table every holiday.
    Monica

    • — Monica DeVaughn-Nobling on April 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Monica, So glad you like the cookbook and blog! The baking sheet I use in the Matzo Toffee is 13 x 18-inches. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2021
      • Reply
    • I must say I was disappointed with these cookies! Not to your usual standard! They certainly didn’t look anything close to what the picture in your book is!! I used a scale to measure my ingredients so I know they were accurate. It needs more butter or something. They were dry, little nuggets and did not spread out!
      I made lots of your soups, salads, lemon bars and your ginger bread and ALL were excellent! Your caesar salad dressing is to dye for! Can’t wait for your new cookbook!

      • — Jasha on May 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • These cookies are delicious! Able to share and freeze to share later. So far, everyone loved them. Thanks Jenn!!!

    Kim

    • — Kim on February 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made the full recipe and they were delicious and hard to stop eating! It made way too many cookies for our family, so I just refrigerated the other half of the dough and made another batch the following week. They keep nicely for at least a week. I baked for 13-14 min and prefer that just slightly crisp, melt in your mouth batch better than the 12 minute batch that was softer. But I am not into soft cookies. I used a tablespoon scoop and scraped the side of the bowl and that kept all the cookies a uniform shape. The only thing to note is they are slightly oily (meaning there is a bit of oiliness on your fingers when you pick one up and you can taste that a bit more than a butter cookie but to be expected). I gave some as gifts and someone went out of their way to tell me they were delicious and never had a cookie like that. I believe it is the lovely “sandie’ texture. I will definitely make again and add a bit more toffee next time and use my homemade toffee recipe.

    • — Rosalee on February 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • These cookies are super delicious! Great for gift-giving, too, since they pack well in bags or tins without crumbling or falling apart. Freezing the dough for baking later works great: roll the dough into balls, depress them slightly with a fork, freeze on cookie sheet, put in freezer bags, then store in freezer until ready to bake. Easy-peasy! Tip: Slivered or sliced almonds are much easier to chop than whole ones; toast before chopping for additional flavor.

    • — Kathryn on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made the toffee almond sandies for a family gathering and they were a huge hit. The texture and balance of flavors was perfect.
    I consult the site for recipes all the time.
    Everything has been a success. Thank you.

    • — Mei on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I followed this recipe exactly and baked them for 14 minutes, rotating once halfway through, and I put them in a airtight container right when they cooled. The cookies came out very hard and crunchy. A disappointment. I think, for some ovens, these need to be slightly under baked, perhaps taken out at 12 minutes. That might do the trick for soft cookies. The taste was pretty good–good enough for me to try again–but I didn’t think they were the yummiest cookies I’ve ever had, like some readers said. The oil is a bit confusing to me. Perhaps it’s needed for the texture but it doesn’t do anything for the flavor.

    • — Robin on December 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • I agree with Robin. The cookies came out too crumbly at even 12 minutes for me. I wanted to like them, but the flavour was lacking something. Perhaps some of the oil could be switched for some melted butter. Or some of the butter could be browned??

      • — Lana on October 25, 2021
      • Reply
  • My daughter is a nurse working on the frontlines. I wanted to make some special treat for her and her coworkers. I made these amazing cookies and my daughter proudly shared them with these brave people. These cookies absolutely deserved the first place prize. So much flavor and the texture is so light and crisp. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe which made some special people happy.

    • — Trudy Black on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • 💗 Please thank your daughter for everything she and her co-workers do!

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    I’m really looking forward to making this recipe. I was wondering how chopped the almond pieces need to be. Also, would reg score bar toffee bits work or is English toffee a must?
    Thanks so much!

    • — Jennifer Patzer on December 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, do you want to chop the almonds pretty finely but not so much so that they are crumbs. And yes, Skor toffee bits will work just fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 15, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn! Just one more question. What type of whole wheat flour did you use? For bread or pastry? Thank you and Happy Holidays!

        • — Jennifer Patzer on December 18, 2020
        • Reply
  • Is the metric for the chopped almonds correct? It comes to only one scant measuring cup of chopped almonds per my scale and the non- metric measure is for 2 cups?

    • — Linda Beren on December 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • No — you’re correct! It’s actually more like 240 g. I apologize for the confusion and appreciate you pointing it out!!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • I love all of your recipes! My husband and I have a dairy allergy. Could I substitute unsalted stick margarine for the butter?

    • — Robin on November 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • I haven’t tried this with margarine, so I can’t say from experience, but I think it should work. Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made these today and they are delicious

    Wondering if they can be mailed without breaking.

    • — Paula Wipf on November 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you like them! They’re fairly sturdy, so as long as you pack them very carefully, I think you could get away with it. Hope your recipient enjoys!

      • — Jenn on November 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • I now have a new favorite cookie! Have had a positive experience with other recipes here but this is my favorite.

    • — Karen Connolly on October 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is my all time favorite cookie recipe. I make it for special occassions, and when I want to wow the crowd.
    I make my own almond roca and use that in place of purchased toffee… thanks for sharing this amazing cookie!!!

    • — Cher Chaster on October 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Going to freeze the dough for two weeks. So, when should I roll the balls in sugar ( before I freeze, when I take out of freezer)? And if after they are frozen, will the sugar stick to the frozen balls?
      Thx!

      • — Kris Buchanan on December 10, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Kris, You can go either way, but I’d probably roll them in sugar before freezing them. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on December 11, 2020
        • Reply
  • Another winner! Toffee and almonds you can’t go wrong! It’s almost like a sweet shortbread cookie. Soooo delicious. I can see why it won!

  • Can I use vegetable oil instead of butter? PS – I really appreciate your quick responses to my questions.

    • Unfortunately that won’t work here – sorry!

  • These cookies are absolutely delicious! I could only find heath bits with chocolate so I used those and I also had some turbinado sugar so I rolled them balls in that instead of regular sugar. My entire family loves these cookies and they may now be #1 in the cookie list! Thank you!

  • Hi Jen,

    I made these cookies last night and the batter was delicious, but the bottom of the cookies burned in the oven every time. I tried with and without parchment paper, I tried reducing the cook time to 12 minutes and I even tried reducing the oven temperature to 325, but they were still burning. Do you know what I did wrong?

    Thanks,
    Ellen

    • Hi Ellen, Are you by chance using very dark pans?

    • Did you use white whole wheat flour in this recipe?

      • — Mary on May 31, 2020
      • Reply
  • Lovely and delicious. Deceptively simple…the flavor is layered and complex, but these are so easy to make! Instead of using a fork to press into them (such a peanut butter cookie signature, I wanted to distinguish these from those), I took out my mom’s vintage potato masher. It makes a waffle-shape indentation, unusual and pretty!

    • — Judith vanBever-Green
    • Reply
    • Great idea!

      • — Paula on December 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • There are no words to describe how delicious these cookies are. I made them at Christmas for family, friends and business associates and needless to say they were a big hit. The recipe makes 9 dozen and I followed it exactly. I used a 1” scoop which worked out perfect and I was done in no time at all. This is my new go to cookie.

  • These cookies were the hit of my 2019 Christmas cookie tray, they were the first ones to go everywhere I took them! They are addictive!

    • — Karen Holtzman
    • Reply
  • Awesome recipe received with lots of “yums and oooohs”! Thank god the recipe makes a lot so now I have plenty of scooped balls in my freezer, ready to bake at a moments notice. I did, however, switch out the almonds for pecans and vanilla extract for the almond extract with excellent results( my bad for not checking my nut inventory before starting to bake….)As a former professional recipe developer/tester, I truly appreciate Jenn’s well- written and thorough recipes….I’ve yet to encounter a dud on her website!! Hurray for Jenn!!

  • Melt in your mouth wonderful! This is a keeper! So happy to find a good large-batch, easy, cookie recipe!

    • — Edie-Beth Collova
    • Reply
  • I made these yesterday for a cookie exchange, and they turned out great! Unlike a couple other reviews I read, I didn’t find them greasy or oily at all. Thank you for another great recipe, Jenn!

  • Delicious! This recipe will be part of my annual Christmas baking from now on.

  • I didn’t love this cookie despite really wanting to! I found it too greasy. The flavor was ok, but texture just a bit too “sandy” for my taste.

    • You think you could substitute macadamia nuts for almonds and vanilla flavoring instead of almond flavor? I’m not crazy about almonds and saw what I had here at the house!

      • Sure, Staci. I would use 2.5 teaspoons extract if using vanilla (almond extract is very strong).

  • I’ve made these cookies 3 times already this holiday season. Another reader suggested a 1/2 Tablespoon measure and that also worked for me. For this size, 14 min. in the oven was just right. Tried both turbinado and granulated sugar for rolling–preferred the granulated. The rolled balls freeze great. Unassuming in appearance but great texture and taste!

  • Hi, Jenn!

    Are you using blanched almonds in these? Also, are you toasting them, and how finely are they chopped?

    • Hi Terri, Yes, I’m using blanched almonds and I don’t toast them for this recipe but you can if you’d like. (And I coarsely chop them.) Hope you enjoy!

  • I understand why this was a contest winner! They are a huge hit!

  • Very good cookies! Thank you for the recipe!

  • I made these cookies and used a tablespoon scoop; did not roll them into balls, but did sprinkle the top with demara sugar prior to pressing with the fork. I used silpat liners and was able to fit 9 on each sheet. Used a convection oven at 350 for 13 minutes. Ended up with 72 divine cookies! This is absolutely a keeper recipe!

    • — Mary Christine Weinberg
    • Reply
  • Amazing recipe! Definitely the hit of my 2018 Xmas baking.

    • Made these gems with all purpose flour only (didn’t have any whole wheat)… also used an 1/8 cup of light brown sugar in place of 1/8 cup of the granulated sugar. Also dusted the tops with powdered sugar for a little texture differential…
      These cookies were great!
      For those complaining that they were too hard, I don’t think you understand what a SANDY is supposed to be like…. it’s supposed to be kinda brittle and have a “sandy” texture in your mouth.
      Cookies are light and delicious! Next time I’ll add a little more toffee, as I really like toffee!

      • Thanks, can’t get to store right now for whole wheat flour. I was even considering using oatmeal- just blending it down to powder.

        • — Laurie Welsh on May 24, 2021
        • Reply
  • Stupid questioion. But where can one purchase toffee bits? I live near Trader Joes, Giant Supermarket, Shoprite, Acme and Whole Foods, if that helps. Thank you.

    • — Ulana Campbell
    • Reply
    • Hi Ulana, I am always able to find them at Giant around holiday time.

    • I purchase bagged Heath English Toffee Bits in the baking aisle at Publix grocery store. It is located near the chocolate chips and other baking items. The bag holds 8 oz. I use the entire bag and therefore cut back a little bit on the almonds to keep the balance. I love these cookies. They are a BIG hit!

      • — Christine Ulichney
      • Reply
    • HEB, Kroger, Walmart had them

      • — Laurie Welsh on May 24, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made these for Christmas gifts. The recipe makes a lot which is good because I ate half of them. They have a tender crumb and a great flavor. I didn’t change a thing. They are perfect!

  • I made these as written and thought they were good but not sure I would make them again as a favorite…

  • These are delicious. I do wish I would’ve taken note that the recipe makes 9 dozen! Although, maybe not…I now have this fantastic cookie dough in the freezer for future yumminess. Seriously, I loved this cookie. Thank you!

    • — Kathleen Tatarek-VanPeursem
    • Reply
  • Hi,
    I only have a hand mixer and was wondering if you have an alternative technique to the suggested paddle attachment of the electric mixer?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Joel, A hand mixer is fine. Enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn. I love this recipe. I’ve made it before, but only put one baking sheet in at a time. I don’t quite understand what you mean by rotating baking sheets. Do I put one on the bottom shelf and middle shelf and then rotate them halfway through? I would like to try this if this is correct, as it would speed up the baking process. Thanks!

    • Hi Minnie, Yes, you’re correct that you would switch the baking sheets between the two racks. When you do that, I’d also recommend turning it 180 degrees so that the back side of the pans are now facing you. Hope that clarifies!

  • can dough be refrigerated overnight and then cookies baked the next morning? i love everything i have tried of yours. Seriously.. you are amazing. Thank you!

    • Glad you like the recipes! 🙂
      Yes, you can refrigerate the cookie dough overnight. Enjoy!

  • Help! I’m not a baker. 1″ balls. What would that be in teaspoons? Thanks!
    Every recipe, non treat, I have used from your website is 5 stars. Some of the best dishes to ever come out of my kitchen!

    • So glad you like the recipes, Renee! 🙂 I’d estimate that you’d need about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough to create 1 inch balls. Hope you enjoy the cookies!

  • Perfection! It’s a keeper recipe. Using the food processor to chop the slivered almonds I had purchased made it easy. I followed the recipe exactly as written. They were easy to make and will be a great addition to my Christmas cookie and candy trays I give this Christmas. What is there not to love with a combination of almonds, toffee and butter?

  • Do you need to use wheat flour? Could more white be substituted? What exactly does the wheat flour do? Flavor? Consistency?

    • Hi Ruby, the whole wheat flour impacts the consistency of the cookies a bit, but you can definitely use all all-purpose flour if you’d prefer. Hope you enjoy!

  • What advice would you give about freezing cookies that are baked? We just did a bake sale and 2 days of being on your feet 8am to midnight is just too hard on me anymore. Can all cookies be frozen? For how long?

    • — Barbara Patterson
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, while it really depends on the cookie recipe (as one size doesn’t fit all), here are some general guidelines: Cookie dough can often be frozen for up to 3 months: Roll the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To freeze them after baking, let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature. Hope that helps!

  • Yum! Everyone thought they were pecan sandies at first but then loved the almond brittle twist. Another great recipe Jenn!

  • Delicious!!

  • Jenn- have you ever tried any of the variations mentioned in many of the reviews, ie: substituting pecans and vanilla extract, dipping in chocolate, rolling in nuts, etc.? Just trying to see if the original recipe was made even better for a cookie contest I’m attending next week.

    • I can’t say that I have, Beth – sorry! Good luck with the cookie contest. 🙂

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