The Best Turtle Brownies

Turtles. The chocolate-covered caramel and pecan clusters that I can eat 5 of in 5 minutes.

I love those things. But Turtle-inspired brownies are even better.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

These are some of the best brownies I’ve ever had, tied only with these and another version that’s in my first cookbook.

They’re fudgy, not at all cakey, ridiculously rich, boldly chocolaty, and loaded with texture.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

There’s a salted caramel and pecan filling that’s sandwiched inside dense brownies, and there’s chocolate chips and more pecans sprinkled on top. They’re worth every last minute of cardio.

It’s an easy, no-mixer recipe and all my brownie recipes are very fudgy, dense, and what varies is the pan size, ratio and amount of sugars, eggs, and whether I use melted chocolate, cocoa, or a combination.

These brownies are made with melted dark chocolate and baked in an 8-inch square pan. You don’t need a big pan of these babies laying around unless you have a football team to feed.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

Although I’ve previously shunned nuts in desserts, I’ve changed my tune. I blame the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars, another chocolaty, caramely, nutty delight.

I used roasted, salted, unchopped pecan halves from Trader Joe’s. If your nuts are raw, toast them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven to take the raw edge off and enhance the flavor.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

You can either make your own Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce, use Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce, or use another thick, rich sauce. Don’t use ice cream sundae sauce because it’s too thin. You want something really thick so it doesn’t leak and run everywhere.

The hardest part is waiting for the brownies to cool completely before slicing. There’s too much fudginess, drippy caramel, and melted chocolate to slice into until they’ve cooled completely. Slicing too early will result in a hot, gooey mess. I prefer brownies this rich to be served slightly chilled.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

These were show-stoppers and without a doubt, one of the best things I’ve made in 2014.

I’ll never be satisfied with just a plain old Turtle again.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

Print Print Recipe

Turtle Brownies

These are some of the best brownies I’ve ever had. Fudgy, not at all cakey, ridiculously rich, boldly chocolaty, and loaded with texture. There's a salted caramel and pecan filling that's sandwiched inside dense brownies, and there's chocolate chips and more pecans sprinkled on top. I used roasted, salted, unchopped pecan halves and if using raw nuts, toast them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven to enhance the flavor. The coffee and espresso don't make the brownies taste like coffee and enhance the chocolate flavor. Either make your own or use another thick, rich caramel sauce. Wait until the brownies are completely cooled before slicing. Slicing too early will result in a hot, gooey mess. I prefer brownies this rich to be served slightly chilled.

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 squares

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: about 15 minutes + about 25 minutes

Total Time: 6+ hours, for cooling & setting up

Ingredients:

Brownies
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe's 72% Pound Plus Bar)
2 large eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar
tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee (leftover or cold coffee is okay), optional but recommended
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional but recommended
pinch salt, optional and to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Filling
8 ounces (salted) caramel sauce (use The Best & Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce, Trader Joe's, or another favorite; plain is okay but I prefer salted caramel. Don't use ice cream sundae sauce, it's too thin)
1 heaping cup pecans (I use roasted, salted, unchopped pecan halves; toast raw nuts for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven to enhance flavor)

Topping
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with high-quality aluminum foil such as Reynold's Non-Stick (highly recommended so caramel doesn't stick to pan) leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. Brownies - In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter, chocolate, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Allow mixture to cool momentarily before adding the eggs so they don't scramble.
  3. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, optional coffee, optional espresso granules (neither make brownies taste like coffee and both enhance and round out the chocolate flavor), optional salt, and whisk vigorously to combine.
  4. Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
  5. Turn half the batter out into prepared pan (I draw an imaginary line down the center of the batter with my spatula while it's in the mixing bowl andeyeballing it, I pour half into pan); reserve remainder.
  6. Bake for 15 to 16 minutes, or until top has just set in the center; don't overbake because pan is going back into oven. While brownies bake, prepare the filling.
  7. Filling - In a medium bowl, add caramel (microwave it for 10 seconds if your is very thick or hard to get out of the jar), pecans, and stir to combine; set aside.
  8. After brownies have baked for about 15 minutes, remove pan from oven and using a spatula carefully and evenly spread the filling mixture over the brownies, taking care to not let the filling plop down in one spot because it will be difficult to spread without disturbing the brownie layer.
  9. Evenly top with reserved brownie batter, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. It's normal for it to have thickened up some.
  10. Topping - Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips.
  11. Evenly sprinkle the pecans.
  12. Bake for about 24 to 25 minutes, or until center has just set and is no longer glossy. It's a bit hard to tell when done because center is buried under chocolate chips and pecans, but if you look closely you'll be able to determine if you're looking at raw brownie batter or just melted chocolate chips. The toothpick test is unreliable because you're going to hit melted chocolate chips and then gooey caramel sauce so it's better to just eyeball it.
  13. Allow brownies to cool in pan on top of a wire rack for at least 3 hours. Cover with a sheet of foil to prevent fridge smells, and place pan in fridge for about 2 hours, or until sufficiently chilled for slicing. Lift brownies out using foil overhang, slice, and serve. Brownies will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I prefer these brownies slightly chilled and store them in the fridge.

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61 Responses to “The Best Turtle Brownies”

  1. #
    1
    Librarian Lavender — July 12, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Those brownies are looking fantastic! I can’t wait to make some to discover what they taste like as well :)

    Reply

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    Paula — July 12, 2014 at 4:51 am

    These look fully loaded with texture and flavor! I love the filling and chocolate chips….and I’d have to share with my neighbors because these look impossible to resist. I also like chilled brownies–I think the texture is even fudgier.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 12th, 2014 at 5:01 am

      Paula you’ve read every post of mine and made about half of them, and these were crazy, amazing, over the top good! Best ever status, for sure. If you need a dessert for an event (because yes, you do have to either donate these or make for a party :)) but definitely put these on your rainy day, someday, list!

      Reply

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    lisatberry — July 12, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I love nuts in brownies..these looks so dark and nutty can’t wait to try. I like that they make a small batch because I usually eat one or two of something and then I’m ready to move on to something else so a smaller batch always works better in our house.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 12th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      They work better in this house too for the exact reasons you said, coupled with at least 5 new things every.single.week, the less I have to donate, the less money and ingredients I need to spend and use :)

      Reply

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    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — July 12, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Oh my gosh you filled them with caramel and pecans too. I’m bowing down to you, turtle brownie queen!!! Pinned!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 12th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Oh gosh I just remembered that I think you have a turtle brownie recipe…I know you have turtle stuff for sure! Probably truffles (knowing you) and fudge and I think brownies, too! Thanks for pinning! :)

      Reply

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    Chelsea @ Gal on a Mission — July 12, 2014 at 7:02 am

    I might have to say that these are the best brownies ever! The caramel, the pecans – oh, my, goodness! Pinning it! :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 12th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks for pinning and yes I honestly do have to say that not only are they the best turtle brownies, but they’re in my top 2 of fave brownies, EVER. I mean seriously I loved loved loved these things and did not donate a singular one :)

      Reply

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    Medha @ Whisk & Shout — July 12, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I am addicted to pecans… and I’ve seen so many amazing recipes including them recently! But chocolate + caramel + pecans? The best yet! Yum :)

    Reply

  7. #
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    How to Philosophize with Cake — July 12, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Yum!

    Reply

  8. #
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    Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen — July 12, 2014 at 7:43 am

    These are seriously stunning, Averie. Love how you don’t mess around! Pinning to try soon!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 12th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      May as well not mess around when it comes to desserts :)

      Thanks for pinning!

      Reply

  9. #
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    jenna @ just j.faye — July 12, 2014 at 8:48 am

    These looks dangerous… and extremely delicious. Your pictures are gorgeous!

    Reply

  10. #
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    Jodee Weiland — July 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

    These brownies look beyond delicious…they look awesome to a chocolate lover like me! I love this recipe and will be trying it soon. I even pinned it twice…thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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    Kate @ Diethood — July 12, 2014 at 10:44 am

    WOW! GORGE!!! And that texture is beyond perfect!!

    Reply

  12. #
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    Kayla — July 12, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Oh wow… all the gooey-ness and crunchiness… it’s amazing :)

    Reply

  13. #
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    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — July 12, 2014 at 11:43 am

    This looks incredible. I’m always making turtle flavored treats for my mom, and this will definitely be on my list for next time!

    Reply

  14. #
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    Lyuba@willcookforsmiles — July 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Absolutely beautiful brownies, Averie! Drooling!

    Reply

  15. #
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    Mary Frances — July 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Mercy, all that chocolate! And after avoiding nuts like the plague, I now love the richness and texture they bring to desserts. That filling looks to die for!

    Reply

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    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — July 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Wow Averie, that’s some serious fudge factor going on there! Exactly the way I love my brownies. When you can confused brownies with fudge, that’s the perfect texture for me. Cakey brownies just aren’t worth eating — they should be called cake and topped with frosting! ;) It looks like you’ve definitely changed your mind about nuts in desserts after your recent pecan pie bars — these look phenomenal too!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 12th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      When you can confused brownies with fudge, that’s the perfect texture for me. Cakey brownies just aren’t worth eating — they should be called cake and topped with frosting! = THAT’S the BEST thing I’ve read all day! So, so true – both the fudge confusion part and the cake topped with frosting part!

      Reply

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    Meredith — July 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Pretty irresistible! I need a couple of these right now!

    Reply

  18. #
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    Ariana — July 13, 2014 at 12:20 am

    How about some love for those of us who do like cakey brownies? Not really fond of the fiudgy kind. I know it’s heresy but there can be something too chocolatey for some people.

    Reply

  19. #
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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — July 13, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Omg Averie, these definitely DO look like the best. Like you, I can down (way too many) Turtles in no time…these look sooooo much better!

    Reply

  20. #
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    Ami@NaiveCookCooks — July 13, 2014 at 6:45 am

    These brownies look so super chewy and moist and those pecans and chocolate chips on top are making them extra special!! Averie you surprise me everytime with your amazing recipes!!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 13th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks for the nice compliments, Ami!

      Reply

  21. #
    21
    Paula — July 13, 2014 at 7:39 am

    You are my dessert idle! Absolutely worth a longer run! But, I have to disagree with one point, no way could I wait for them to cool. I know me and I’d have a fork in them as soon as they wouldn’t burn a layer of skin off of my mouth!… Pardon me while I drool a few minutes longer!
    (Pinned)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 13th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks for pinning and the dessert idol compliment :) Totally worth long runs. Even no runs, these were so worth it!

      Reply

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    Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice — July 13, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Turtle brownies are the best, and yours look amazing, Averie! Your pictures definitely capture the chocolatey-caramely goodness!

    Reply

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    Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugar — July 13, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Love how intense the fudge factor is in these brownies! They look amazing! Pinned. :)

    Reply

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    Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats — July 13, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Get in my belly now! Anything turtle rocks, then put it in brownie form and OMG!

    Reply

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    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — July 13, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I would be having portion control issues with a pan of these! I would eat them all!

    Reply

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    Samantha K — July 13, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Made these last night for a world cup party, and they are indescribably delicious. I normally dislike fudge-y brownies compared to more dry, chewy ones, but these changed my mind. I used only 1/2 c of sugar (my family likes things less sweet), and the brownies turned out perfect. I really like the pecan and dark chocolate additions because they make the brownies buttery and rich tasting. I have to say mine turned out a little less pretty than yours (pshh who needs 5 hours of cooling time when they can have instant brownie gratification), but nobody minded after taking a bite.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 13th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      So glad these changed your mind about fudgy brownies!

      they make the brownies buttery and rich tasting. = agreed!

      instant brownie gratification = love that :) And if you’re not taking pictures of them for a food blog, who cares if they don’t look totally pristine. It matters how they taste! Thanks for trying them on the same weekend I posted them!

      Reply

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 13, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Gorgeous, these look like brownie heaven. Pinned!

    Reply

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    Amy @ The Blond Cook — July 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Oh my goodness these turtle brownies have me drooling! I’m making these for my very own birthday treat next month with a tall glass of milk :-)

    Reply

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    Jessica @ Sweet Menu — July 13, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Wow! This look like the most EPIC brownies ever!!! I would love to gobble one of these up right now.

    Reply

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    Alyssa {Cake, Crust, and Sugar Dust} — July 14, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Ok you just took turtles to another level! These look absolutely loaded to the brim with turtle goodies! I don’t normally like nuts in brownies, but I think the fact that they are on top as well with chocolate chips and caramel would give the brownie a great texture that I’d be totally into :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 14th, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      I used to be anti nuts but lately have been loving them in chocolaty, rich desserts. May as well just make it richer and add a pound of nuts! :)

      Reply

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    Valerie — July 14, 2014 at 8:28 am

    *squee* Look at that fudgy texture!! I’m not a huge nut fan either but turtles are in a league of their own; pecans are allowed!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 14th, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I know I used to be anti nuts but lately have been loving them in chocolate, rich desserts. May as well just make it richer and add a pound of nuts, right :)

      Reply

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    Karen @ Lushious Eats — July 14, 2014 at 8:46 am

    omg these look amazing!!! I have a party coming up and I’m thinking these need to be on that table!!! :) Awesome recipe!

    Reply

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    Christi @ Love From The Oven — July 14, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Seriously, there are no words. Those brownies are PERFECTION.

    Reply

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    marcie — July 14, 2014 at 11:37 am

    These brownies are a work of art — they’re gorgeous and they look beyond delicious!

    Reply

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    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — July 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Oh my goodness! This could be the most delicious brownie I have ever seen! I’m going to have to make these :)

    Reply

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    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — July 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    YUM!!! These brownies look over-the-top delicious.

    Reply

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    Kevin @ Closet Cooking — July 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Turtles are the best and these look even better!

    Reply

  38. #
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    Jocelyn@BruCrew Life — July 21, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Can I move in with you, and eat all of the delicious food that you make?! I swear, your food always has me drooling! These turtle brownies look downright sinful! :) Pinned!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 22nd, 2014 at 2:15 am

      I wish I had you and your kiddos to help me eat all my goodies! I would love some company :)

      Reply

  39. #
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    Mary Akis — July 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    As I scrolled down your page of pics, I felt as though I could just reach into the screen and grab the decadent treats…great pics

    Reply

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    Fatima — August 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    These look absolutely delicious! I’m going to make them tonight and was wondering if regular caramel sauce was ok instead of salted caramel. And maybe adding some sea salt on the top?

    Fatima

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 5th, 2014 at 3:38 am

      That sounds like a great plan to me!

      Reply

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    Matea Milojkovic — August 18, 2014 at 5:24 am

    I love Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bars! They would go great in baking (if they ever lasted that long in my house!)

    Reply

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