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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!

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

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

  3. 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!

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

  5. I love brownies and yours looks great blessing simmy

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

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

    Your brownies look perfect!

  8. 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? 🙂

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

  10. Way to start the week, Lizzy! With decadent treat like these brownies! Love turtle anything!

  11. These look wonderful!, Lizzy! A perfectly delicious treat!

  12. I love that these are called turtle brownies! They sound great.

  13. These turtle brownies look divine, Liz! What a perfect #chocolateparty treat! I seriously would love one right now!

  14. OH MY! These are not only gorgeous, Liz but I can imagine how mouth watering they are too. Chocolate and caramel are really a match made in heaven. And I adore pecans so do save the ones Bill pulls off for me.

  15. We were on the same wavelength with our ingredients! 🙂 Love these turtle brownies!

  16. I love the combination of chocolate and caramel too, Its my fav combination in my ice cream as well:) Love the turtle brownies, cant wait to try it myself!

  17. That thick layer of caramel on top is what’s getting me with these brownies! To die for!

  18. I always love your brownies! I am with Bill on this one though, I am allergic to nuts in my brownies.

  19. OMG Liz. YES PLEASE. I’d eat the whole batch, I swear!

  20. I never meet a brownie that I didnt like! Yours looks great! I love this months ingredients!

  21. I have not eaten a turtle candy in so long, this would be a fantastic substitute too 🙂

  22. How yummy! I love turtles ans brownies and now that they are combined in one, pretty awesome.

  23. Turtle? I thought I was at Kim’s site for a second – these look fabulous.

  24. I love caramel and chocolate together! One of my favorite combos. Your brownies look absolutely amazing!!

  25. I totally agree, chocolate and caramel is the best combination ever! These look dreamy!

  26. Oh boy, look at that caramel layer…yum! There’s no way to be on a diet in your house, hehe. Do you give away most of your tasty treats?

  27. I love brownies and caramel! I just need to find my fork and a pint of good vanilla ice cream! Yum!

  28. Oh I so agree, chocolate and caramel together rocks, then throw in pecans and you have a winner!!! Your turtle brownies look awesome!!! Hugs, Terra

  29. Liz these little caramel brownies are adorable. Glad you kept them the size of a pecan as I am sure they are very low in calorie…wink wink…Happy baking to you. Take Care, BAM

  30. Chocolate and caramel is a match made in heaven 😀 Your turtle brownies look delectable !

  31. Your hubby stories are heartwarming, Liz. They always make me smile. And your perfect pastry shop quality turtle brownies really make me smile =)

    P.s. Your pictures are beautiful!

  32. This is looking very tempting, as always:) like the color of your caramel. Great theme for this month, indeed:)

  33. These turtle brownies are gorgeous and they really do have a turtle look about them. Your husband sound really funny. What a list of things he’s ‘allergic’ to! xx

  34. they look so rich and delicious! Wow, a perfect bite each time. job well done!

  35. ok, in my world – you can never go wrong with chocolate and caramel! These look so decadent. I think I need a square right now with my coffee right now Liz! 🙂

  36. Oh these do look wonderful Liz, homemade caramel is the best and on top of homemade brownies…yes please!

  37. Little squares of pure delight, one of the best combos on the planet!

  38. Loved your “true confessions.” This recipe sounds really amazing and where did you get those giant pecans? Gorgeous!!

  39. Lizzy,
    The brownies look delicious. I’m hoping to get a chance to join the chocolate party this month but I’m not sure I’ll have the time.

  40. Thank you so much for linking this up at Saturday Spotlight! I love all of the sweet treats you share. The new link party is up and I’d love to see you back. Have a great week. 🙂


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