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From Williams-Sonoma to Martha Stewart, Rancho Santa Fe resident’s gourmet toffee is in demand

Rancho Santa Fe’s Heather Mubarak is the owner of The Toffee Box. Her candy will soon be carried by Williams-Sonoma.
Rancho Santa Fe’s Heather Mubarak is the owner of The Toffee Box. Her candy will soon be carried by Williams-Sonoma.

By Karen Billing

Rancho Santa Fe’s Heather Mubarak has found great success with The Toffee Box, a company churning out candy with “melt-in-your mouth, like-your-grandmother used to make” taste.

“I have to pinch myself sometimes, Mubarak said, noting of course she always dreamed big but to find such sweet success has been a blessing. “It just goes to show that if you work hard, get a great product and just persevere, it’s going to work out.”

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Her toffee was featured on the Martha Stewart Show in February and she recently found out it would be carried by Williams-Sonoma this fall.

“To see my product on Martha, in her hot little hand, talk about my dream come true,” Mubarak said. “Three short years into my business, it was huge. I’ll never erase it (from the DVR).”

Toffee Box treats can be found locally at Harvest Ranch, Jimbo’s (which carries an organic, sugar-free version), Whole Foods, Seaside Market and Country Squire in Rancho Santa Fe.

Mubarak is thrilled by the recent addition of Williams-Sonoma to the list.

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“It’s really exciting for us, that’s the big time,” Mubarak said. “They have a great reputation for high-end gourmet. I think that will really take our business to the next level.”

A Torrey Pines High School graduate, Mubarak grew up in Solana Beach. Her husband Jason grew up in Rancho Santa Fe and they moved back to his hometown a year ago. Their children attend R. Roger Rowe School and Jason works at Morgan Stanley in the village.

Everything Mubarak learned about making toffee she learned from Jason, who learned to make toffee with his mother and grandmother. When she first met him 17 years ago, she would often just watch the process and enjoyed the spoils, never learning how to make it.

Once the couple married, they started making it together with the family’s special recipe at home every holiday season for family and friends, neighbors, teachers and clients.

After the holiday rush, the Mubaraks always joked about starting a business as lucky recipients of their delicious batches always encouraged them to sell it. In early 2009, Jason suggested Heather look into it more seriously—their children were older and her interior design business had slowed down as the housing market declined.

That spring, Mubarak researched every aspect of getting started in the food business. She found a commercial kitchen and selected the perfect box for The Toffee Box — shimmery green, pink and brown boxes, “classic and classy” that would look pretty on someone’s countertop and on the shelves of a store.

“By summer I had the website up and my boxes and I was off and running,” Mubarak said. “I never looked back.”

By her second Christmas, Toffee Box had to move to its current Carlsbad location. “It’s been great, this location has really allowed us to grow a lot,” Mubarak said of their “phenomenal” 60 percent growth in three years.

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The first year it had been Mubarak making all the candy herself, but now she has a staff to make the toffee so she can focus on the day-to-day operations, marketing and sales.

The special family recipe is what has helped keep the Toffee Box business growing, Mubarak said.

“People always say our toffee is on the light side, when others are so hard you think you’ll break your teeth eating it,” Mubarak said. “Ours is still crisp but not so much that you’re worried about being at the dentist the next day.”

Their most popular flavor is the most traditional, the dark chocolate toffee.

Mubarak tries to add a new flavor every year, so Toffee Box now has the options of white chocolate macadamia nut, classic white chocolate, mocha hazelnut and Martha Stewart’s favorite: milk chocolate pecan, “covered in creamy Guittard milk chocolate and dusted with Georgia pecans.”

Mubarak expects a new flavor to be added in the coming months — Jason helps in coming up with new tastes as they play with sample batches.

“We know toffee really well and that knowledge is what out brand is about,” Mubarak said. “There’s a quality we’re looking to have so we have to make sure the new flavor fits with that.”

The toffee can also easily be ordered online, with custom notes available for gifting. To place an order, visit

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thetoffeebox.com

or call (760) 504-6904. Address: 5840 El Camino Real, #116, Carlsbad, CA, 92008.


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