Chocolate covered Coffee Toffee and my Birthday Cake!

Chocolate covered coffee toffee | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Today is my birthday. I am a woman of a certain age and I think it is worthy of celebrating, so I made one of my favorite candies, chocolate covered toffee, with a hit of coffee. I never buy Health Heath Bars, but every year I manage to convince my boys to give me them from their Halloween bags. This year was no different. Then on my travels for the book tour I ended up with the ultimate version, which has completely ruined me to the Hershey’s product. Not so sweet, a powerful kick of coffee and really lovely bittersweet chocolate. The maker is Poco Dolce and Samantha at Omnivore Books in San Fran turned me onto them after our book signing there. I love her and hate her for that! I bought several varieties and all them were delicious, but the little bag of coffee toffee was like a bag of chips, you can’t eat just one. I brought them home and considered not sharing with my husband, but after leaving him at home for 9 days with the boys I figured it was the least I could do to share my candies. Big mistake. He ate them all. Well not really, but they were gone. I had only one choice, make my own. It is surprisingly easy and perfect for wrapping up as holiday gifts or just hiding in your desk drawer, or both.

Every year my husband and my boys set off on the loving task of baking my birthday cake. This year my husband out did himself and made a devil’s food cake with cream cheese icing and a fresh raspberry filling. You can see his lovely work at the end of the post.

Chocolate covered coffee toffee | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Chocolate covered Coffee Toffee – inspired by Poco Dolce and Emily Luchetti’s Four-Star Desserts
(a must have book)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon molasses

3 teaspoons instant coffee powder (I like to use the new Starbucks VIA)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to just above room temperature.

Prepare a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment or wax paper

Candy thermometer in pot with toffee ingredients | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a medium sized heavy-bottomed sauce pan, with a Candy Thermometer attached, bring all the ingredients, excluding the chocolate, to a boil over medium low heat.

Cooking toffee mixture in pot with candy thermometer Chocolate covered coffee toffee | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Continue to cook and stir the mixture until it reads 275 on the candy thermometer.

Whisking toffee mixture in pot with candy thermometer | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

The mixture will be much thicker. Stir constantly until it reaches 315 degrees, which will happen pretty quickly. Remove it from the heat and stir until very smooth, just a few seconds.

Toffee mixture on baking sheet | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pour the toffee onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Toffee mixture spread on baking sheet to cool | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Using a spatula spread the toffee out into a 1/16-inch thick rectangle. try to keep it as even as possible. Work quickly because the toffee will set fast.

Scoring toffee with pastry wheel | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Using a Pastry Wheel or pizza cutter, VERY GENTLY (you don’t want to cut so deep that it actually reaches the bottom or you may destroy your silpat) score the toffee into bite sized pieces.

Scoring toffee with pastry wheel | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

You should get about 60 pieces. Again work quickly so the toffee doesn’t set before you are done.

Toffee broken into pieces | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Allow the toffee to sit until it is room temperature and then break apart the pieces.

Melting chocolate in double boiler | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler until perfectly smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to just above room temperature. If the chocolate is too hot it will run off the toffee and not give you a nice coating, if it is too cold it will be too thick to work with.

Toffee on baking sheet next to bowl of melted chocolate | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Set up a second cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment or wax paper.

Piece of toffee in melted chocolate | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Drop a piece of the toffee into the chocolate. If the chocolate is a touch warm the toffees may crackle a bit, but that is fine.

Piece of toffee in melted chocolate | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Using a fork flip the toffee over to coat the other side.

Piece of toffee in melted chocolate | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

lift the covered toffee from the chocolate and shake gently to allow the excess to fall away and any large air bubbles to come to the surface. As the chocolate cools down the air bubbles may have to be popped by hand. once this starts to happen, just return the chocolate to the double boiler and reheat for a minute to soften the chocolate slightly.

Piece of toffee in melted chocolate | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In order to get a nice smooth bottom, without a bunch of excess chocolate (otherwise known as a “foot”) you want to scrape the bottom of the fork on the edge of the bowl before laying it to set on the parchment.

Piece of toffee in melted chocolate | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Lay them on the parchment until they set up.

Chocolate covered coffee toffee | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Continue dipping until they are all covered in chocolate. Allow them to sit out in a cool spot to set up. Because we are not tempering the chocolate (that is another post) you may want to set them in the refrigerator for a few minutes until they are firm.

Chocolate covered coffee toffee | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

You will have a bit of chocolate left over so you can add some decoration to the tops if you wish with a parchment bag. Allow the decorations to set up and then serve or

Chocolate covered coffee toffee | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Fill decorative Treat Bag as gifts for teachers, co-workers, family or yourself.

Chocolate covered coffee toffee | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François


Thanks Graham, it is the best cake ever. I love you!

107 thoughts to “Chocolate covered Coffee Toffee and my Birthday Cake!”

  1. Happy Birthday!
    I love chocolate covered toffee and this looks incredible. I think I must make some SOON. Thank you for sharing, and I hope you have a lovely birthday!

  2. I am absolutely, 100% making these tomorrow. I adore toffee, and coffee toffee may just be too much to bear! I think I’ll temper the chocolate though, just because I have a tempering machine, not great skills. 🙂

  3. Zoe, the toffee looks fabulous! My birthday’s next week and is a milestone (50, in my case unfortunately), and I think I’ll make some in honor of the occasion! One question… although I’m not a coffee drinker, I don’t mind slight coffee flavor but no one else in my family likes it. How do you think it will work without the coffee powder? Or could I just use a very small amount of espresso powder, like I do for chocolate cakes, etc., instead? Thanks and Happy Birthday!

  4. May I simply remind everyone to pay very close attention to this instruction: “Using a Pastry Wheel or pizza cutter, VERY GENTLY (you don’t want to cut so deep that it actually reaches the bottom or you may destroy your silpat) score the toffee into bite sized pieces.”

    Don’t ask me why I am issuing this reminder.

  5. Happy Birthday, Zoe – The best is yet to come. I can barely remember when I became “of a certain age” – it’s really long ago.

    The chocolate covered coffee toffee is really calling to me. We just had a toffee taste test in my house – first we had some Carolina’s Best Toffee and it really was delicious and then my husband bought some Trader Joe’s which I did like up to now – but I was spoiled by the toffee that costs almost ten times as much as TJ’s – I’m going to make this for sure.

  6. Happy Birthday, Zoe. Two of my best friends were born on Nov. 16, so it must be an auspicious day. The toffee sounds delicious, and if it’s as good as your bread recipes, it must be fabulous.

  7. Happy belated birthday Zoe…beautiful candy & gorgeous cake. Shall need to tell the hub, coz I baked my own cake LOL (14Nov). Am glad you had a deliicous birthday! xo

  8. Lovely toffee. I make chocolate toffee every year for holiday gifts; but have never added coffee (Why? I’m asking myself the same question!).

    Not so this year, thank you for the inspiration; it will be happening this year for sure.

  9. Happy (late) birthday Zoe! I hope you had a lovely celebration with your family. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing the toffee with us – I have a lovely recipe for a mock tiramisu cake that calls for lots of toffee bits . . . and the last few times we’ve made it we’ve had trouble finding the right ingredients. This way I can try making my own toffee. 🙂

  10. Happy Birthday Zoe!

    These look sensational.

    I reviewed Jeff and your book today. I LOVE IT. I love the grains and the vegetables that are incorporated into the recipes. Easy to use and just wonderful.

  11. You definitely meant to refer to HEATH [not health] bars in your note, but nonetheless — as the next door tester, I promise that these toffee bars are to die for. All restraint goes out the window. Yum. Thanks

  12. Hey everyone, thank you so much for the wonderful birthday wishes! 🙂

    Kathy, thanks for catching my typo! You really are the best neighbor and I’ll bringing over the next post for you to test! xo

    Cheers, Zoë

  13. I hope you had a fantastic birthday, Zoe! I adore chocolate covered toffee…and I am totally drooling over these right now. And your boys did a fabulous job on the cake 🙂

    (p.s…thanks you for taking the time to comment on our PPBrioche posts…it meant so much!)

  14. hi there!I’m quite new to the blog!congratulations-lovely recipes(I also love your book)
    I have a question.I can’t find molases in any of our local super markets(maybe it’s not that common here in greece)so I was wondering if I could substitute it with some other ingredient….

  15. Happy Birthday! I have been dreaming about making candy after successfully making the cashew brittle in The Craft of Baking. Now I’m going to have to try toffee. Thanks!

  16. Zoe,
    Your recipes and techniques are amazing. Everything I made with your guidance has been a success !! Wish you all the best!! Happy Birthday!!

  17. Happy B-day Zoe ! So nice that your husband and boys take time to make you a birthday cake, the sweetest thing ! I am sure you can appreciate that, as you do the same for them with so much love.

  18. Happy Birthday! I hope it was as wonderful and delicious as your pictures. Here’s to another wonderful year! Thank you for providing so many of us with your (and Jeff’s) wonderful bread books.

  19. They taste delicious!! And to the one who said she was addicted to Daim (from IKEA), well get started because they tasted EXCATLY like that. I did not expect the toffee to get hard, so it was a nice surprise for me that they are crispy…uhmmmmm!

  20. Hi Mei,

    Thank you so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it went! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed them. I just found a stash that my husband hid and have been sneaking them all day! I guess I should be happy he hid them or I’d eat them ALL!


  21. I just made these today and they are fantastic…
    I did not have all sweetened baking chocolate, and had to use part unsweetened, threw in some sugar, and it still worked.

    My question is can you double this batch? I am thinking ahead to Christmas giving.

    (Belated Birhtday wishes..
    and I love the new HBin5 book and that web site, this is my first time baking from this one!)

  22. Hi Mandy,

    These are a great treat to make for Christmas. You can store them for a long time, at least a week, if not more. You will need to find a very dry, cool place for them. I even stored them in the refrigerator for several days, very well wrapped and they tasted great! One thing to keep in mind is that when you do that the chocolate may bloom (the fat rises to the top and it turns milky in color), but it still tastes great!!!

    Given that you have the right sized pot it should double really well!

    Enjoy, Zoë

  23. I hope you are having a fabulous time on your cookbook tour!

    I love the step-by step. This is absolutely my favorite kind of candy. Never have attempted it myself. btw… I’ve destroyed a silpat with a cutter before. guess I wasn’t careful enough!

  24. Just made Coffee Toffee Pecan Pie, which was outrageous. Sooooo, this is right up my alley- may roll this all in chopped toasted pecans. Love using the Via coffee, also.
    Happy Birthday!

  25. Hope your birthday was wonderful! I’m a new follower of your blog, and I have to tell you, I love what I see! So sweet that your husband and kids baked you a birthday cake. I also have 2 sons – a 3-year-old and an 11-month-old, and the big one loves to bake.

    If you do a book tour in the northern Illinois area, I’d love to bring him to meet a real chef in person. He’d get a real kick out of that. 🙂

  26. Happy Belated Birthday, dear Zoe. This Toffee is to die for! I make toffee ever year for Christmas gifts. The recipe was from a fabulous friend, who not only shared her recipe, but had us over for a “let’s make them” party. It is your recipe minus the coffee and molasses (and a candy thermometer) I use a small iron skillet and when the consistency is right, I pour it onto the Silipat. I tried your recipe and I am a convert. Thanks so much. First your fabulous bread book and now this. By the way I love your blog tag: “Eat dessert first”. It goes with my life philosophy which is: “Think of all those people on the Titanic who passed on the dessert cart”. Have a beautiful holiday season.

  27. The toffee looks nothing short of fabulous! Love the “Z”! I make toffee for my neighbors at Christmas each year, I think I’ll change it up this year and do it your way- very beautiful.

  28. Hi Zoe! Once again you’ve made something that I just had to try! These Coffee Toffees are delicious and I’ve made a whole bunch to send to family members for Christmas. Mine were not nearly as pretty as yours, but I’m more concerned about flavor. Thank you!

  29. Hi Zoe,
    I noticed in your recipe you cook the candy to 315 and all of the other toffee recipes I have seen only cook until 300.
    Is there an difference in the final texture of toffee cooked to 315 vs 300?

  30. Hi DebB,

    Going to 315 may make them a bit harder than ones cooked to 300 degrees. Are the toffees you made very brittle? I’d have to try it to know for sure? Sounds like a tasty experiment!

    Thanks, Zoë

  31. Thanks so much for the recipe,Zoe; it looks gorgeous!
    What size and brand of saucepan is that which you used? I must invest in a heavy bottomed pot for candy making………always nearly scorch my mixtures. Any info or suggestions on the saucepan is appreciated!

  32. Hi Emilie,

    Sorry I missed your question before. It will work beautifully with coffee or espresso powder. Happy Belated Birthday!

    Hi Janet,

    My pan is a 2 1/2 quart Calphalon. I love it and use it for all kinds of things.

    Hi Dawn,

    I warned you about the addictive nature of this candy! 😉

    Thanks, Zoë

  33. I tried making it.. and they burned. pretty bad too. I even got a candy thermometer and sat there and watched it, and before ya know it, the place was smokey and i had to open a window! yikes. I guess next time I should just let it get to 275 and then just take it off because it started when I was waiting for it to go up to 315. 🙁 waaaaah!

  34. Can’t wait to try the devil’s food cake with cream cheese icing and a fresh raspberry filling. Thank you! What kind of pans did your husband use to get a cake this shape? Also, how did he make the raspberry filling?

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      My husband did use a loaf pan to bake the cake. If I remember correctly he mixed raspberry jam with part of the cream cheese icing as the filling. As I get older I forget details like this! 😉

      Thanks, Zoë

  35. Zoe, I drooled over these toffees when you posted them last year and vowed to make them — and I finally did! They are so easy and were a big hit. I bagged them up and gave them out to teachers and friends. I only wish I had a few more left over for me! This is going to be my new holiday tradition.

  36. Hello Zoë,
    Great looking sweets! The toffee recipe I’ve been enjoying (from david lebovitz) uses half the butter for equiv. sugar — if I’m not missing something. So a burning question for my engineering mind is whether you have insight on the ratio of butter/fat to sugars and how it relates to the finished product, assuming all other variables remain the same? Is it just more decadent with extra butter or will the texture and/or brittleness change?

    I contemplate the same questions with caramels…

    1. Hi Wayne,

      Like many things in baking, there is not just one way to get there. The more butter in the candy the richer the flavor and texture will be. It will have a slightly softer bite (still brittle, but a touch creamier) to it than one made with less butter. The only way to determine the ratio you like best is to try many recipes. This will be the same issue with caramels.

      Enjoy the research! Zoë

  37. I am confused. You say to put all ingred. in the pot including the chocolate but then tell us to melt the chocolate to cover the toffee. Which is it?

  38. OMG this was the hit of our church Tea Party over 100 ladies ate the 6 different Bite size desserts I made. From Lemon Raspberry Petite For to Strawberry Charlottes everything I made was first time trying. But this recipe was the easiest, cheapest, most fun and most definitely most delicious. It does take a little while to dip in chocolate had to re heat several times. Maybe because cut them so small had over 70 pieces. Totally worth it , making a batch again right now for bible study class tonight . Thank you fir the recipe

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