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The ultimate turtle brownies

The Ultimate Turtle Brownies

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Something magical happens when rich, dark chocolate meets gooey caramel. These Ultimate Turtle Brownies epitomize this classic pairing!!

Turtle Brownies on a small white plate with a bowl of pecans

Ultimate Turtle Brownies

My absolute favorite dessert pairing is chocolate and caramel…so when caramel was selected as our March Chocolate Party theme, it didn’t take me long to decide what to make. I had shared a recipe for the Ultimate Turtle Brownies early in my blogging days.

I was still a naive newbie and didn’t even share my own photograph, just one from Cook’s Illustrated. Naughty, naughty. I now know better. So I knew this party was just the event to redeem myself and properly share these decadent brownies. These take a little finesse but are worth the trouble. You’ll need an instant-read or a candy thermometer to make the caramel and you’ll have quite a few dirty dishes…but you won’t regret making these.

I left the nuts out of the brownies because of the fake nut allergy the hubby claims to have (he also jokes that he’s highly allergic to fennel, mint, coconut, pineapple, mushrooms…you get the picture!). I figure he can pull the one pecan off the top of each piece. But feel free to add some toasted, chopped pecans to your brownie batter.

Turtle Brownies on a square white plate on a checkered napkin

What are Turtles?

Most folks think of the hard shelled, slow moving reptile when hearing the word turtle, but there IS another definition. Turtle candies were first made in the early 1900’s when pecans and caramel were dipped in chocolate. These mounds of deliciousness resembled turtles as the arrangement of nuts sticking out from the sides looked like turtle legs.

Since that time, many desserts featuring the combination of chocolate, caramel and pecans received the “turtle” moniker. These delectable turtle brownies definitely fit the profile!

More Turtle Desserts You’ll Love:

If you’re like me and are head over heels for any dessert labeled turtle, you’ll also swoon over these Turtle Thumbprint Cookies and this Turtle Poke Cake. This decadent Chocolate Turtle Bundt Cake definitely caught my eye as did this marvelous Turtle Cheesecake! Plus check out all my Favorite Brownie Recipes!

The Ultimate Turtle Brownies overhead shot on a small white plate on a red and white checked napkin

Turtle Brownies | a dreamy combination of chocolate, pecans and caramel!

The Recipe: Turtle Brownies

The perfect turtle brownies. Adapted from Cook's Illustrated.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 25 brownies



  • ¼ cup heavy cream plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 8 tablespoons butter (, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 25 whole pecan halves, toasted (may add 2/3 cups chopped pecans to filling, optional)
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips



  1. Measure the cream into a 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup or small bowl. Add salt, stirring to dissolve completely. Set aside.
  2. Mix together water and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Carefully pour the sugar into the middle of the saucepan making none touches the sides. Cook mixture over medium-high heat stirring gently until the edges just begin to boil.
  3. Cover with a tight fitting lid and allow to boil until the mixture is completely clear. Take off the lid and boil until the mixture reaches 290º on a candy thermometer. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, swirling occasionally until the mixture is light amber and reaches 360º.
  4. Remove caramel from heat and stir in the cream. The mixture will bubble vigorously, but keep stirring, scraping the bottom and sides. Once the caramel stops bubbling add butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Set aside and make brownies.


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick foil...making sure to leave some excess overhanging two sides. Or line with regular foil and coat with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Gently heat till chocolate melted. Stir in the unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. In a larger bowl beat the sugar, salt, vanilla, and eggs until pale. Whisk in the chocolate and blend until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder with a rubber spatula until just combined. Mix in 2/3 cup chopped pecans if desired.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into the pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the caramel over top of brownie batter (may gently rewarm caramel if necessary to make it pourable. Add the rest of the brownie batter on top, smoothing top.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and evenly sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the brownies. Cover with foil or cookie sheet and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and smooth melted chocolate over brownies. Allow brownies to cool to room temperature
  6. Gently rewarm caramel to pourable consistency. Pour the caramel over the top of the brownies. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours..
  7. To serve, remove brownies from pan, remove foil and cut into 25 pieces. Top each with a pecan half.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 brownie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 87mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 2g


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42 comments on “The Ultimate Turtle Brownies”

  1. And I thought I had tried every brownie–now you make these and I need one right now! Good job Lizzy.

  2. You’re so funny. At least you knew better than sharing your early photos. Mine are all still up there for the world to see. Ugh. These are gorgeous though. The one time I’ll forgive chocolate for being chocolate is when it’s paired with caramel, but you knew that. Hand me a couple? 🙂

  3. C-A-R-A-M-E-L and P-E-C-A-N-S; ooh la la.

    Your brownies look perfect!

  4. Oh my – these look dangerously delicious! No allergies here :).

  5. I love brownies and yours looks great blessing simmy

  6. Caramel and chocolate in a brownie – wow, bonus!

  7. They look way prettier with the whole pecan on top! Come to think of it I never made turtle anything… this recipe might a great place to start. I´m allergic to fish and shellfish too… it works!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous, love the huge pecan on top! I’ll have your Hubbies please:@)

  9. These are so delicate looking. I am with you on the chocolate and caramel.

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