Turtle brownies

I’m on a caramel and chocolate quest. My husband brought home from work a caramel-laced brownie that was hard to share. He did get half but I was really hoping he didn’t want it, it was so good. He only works 4 days a month, though, so my repeated requests to get the recipe were forgotten every time. This is a mash-up of my regular brownie recipe and a simple caramel. Fudgy and oozing with caramel, it’s a brownie lover’s dream concoction.

This is multi-step process. Mix up the brownie batter first and bake half of it in an 8″x8″ pan. You can use Dutch processed cocoa in this recipe if you prefer. While the base cools, make the caramel. It will take 7-10 minutes to cook to a temperature of about 350ºF. You don’t have to measure the temperature but I like measures to ensure consistency. You can just try to judge by the color. The goal is caramel that won’t get too hard when cooled, but not be runny at room temperature. If you don’t want to mess with making caramel try caramel bits sprinkled over the base layer. They’ll be chewy at room temperature. The second half of the brownie batter goes on top of the caramel and pecans, then it goes back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

I used toasted, chopped pecans on top of the caramel. Allergic to tree nuts? Leave them out altogether or substitute toasted, sliced almonds. There will be a little more caramel than you need. Let it cool, cover, and save for ice cream topping.

– Joan, 2 April 2021

Turtle brownies

  • Servings: One 8-inchx8-inch pan
  • Print

Brownie batter

  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup (198 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (36 grams) cocoa powder (use Dutch processed if desired)
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped


  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) water
  • 1 cup (198 grams) sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) heavy cream, slightly warmed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8″x8″ pan.

First make the brownie batter. Melt the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Let it cool for a few minutes, then stir in the sugar. When the sugar is all mixed in, add the vanilla and eggs, stirring vigorously to distribute the eggs. Stir in cocoa powder. When the cocoa powder is completely mixed in, add the flour, baking powder and salt.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth it a bit, then bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

While the base cools, prepare the caramel. Put the water and sugar into a saucepan with high sides, set over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar has melted and it begins to boil. Use a dampened pastry brush to wash down the inside of the pan to prevent sugar crystallization on the sides. Let the sugar and water cook for 7-10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. When it starts to turn amber-colored watch it carefully as it can get too dark quickly. If you’re unsure about the color it should be, check the temperature. I cook it to 350ºF. Remove from heat. Stir vanilla into the cream and add it along with the salt. Be extra careful – it will bubble up furiously when you add the cream (that’s why you need a pan with high sides). Keep stirring until it’s smooth. If there are some clumps that won’t dissolve, or there’s some around the outside edge in the pan, set it back on low heat just until it dissolves, stirring continually.

Poke a few holes in the chocolate base. Pour most of the caramel over it (you may not need all the caramel) and sprinkle with the pecan pieces. Drop large spoonfuls of the remaining chocolate batter over the caramel and pecans. You should be able to spread it around a little but don’t worry about it. It will spread out in the oven.

Return to oven and bake 15 minutes, till the top layer looks baked through. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and store in refrigerator.

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