The BEST Turtle Brownies full of tasty chocolate, caramel, and pecans! This ultimate homemade gourmet brownie recipe makes delicious fudgy and chewy brownies that you’ll think they’re from a bakery. Perfect easy dessert for special occasions!
These Turtle Brownies are what dreams are made of. Or at least if you’re a chocoholic like myself. These from-scratch brownies are ooey-gooey, fudgy, and chewy! If you are looking for dry cake-like brownies, these are NOT for you. If you are looking for homemade chunky decadent gourmet brownies, these are for you.
Today, December 8th is actually National Brownie Day. A coincidence? Not sure, but the perfect time to celebrate with some homemade brownies right? No turtle brownie mix needed for these easy homemade brownies.
These Turtle Brownies are a lot like my chunky Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies, another favorite brownie. Again, those are just as chunky and chewy but with lots of chocolate and peanut butter flavor. I love brownies with nuts, don’t you?
I love all kinds of brownies, thin, thick, fudgy, cakey, you name it! These happen to be a bit on the thick fudgy side and full of chunky goodness.
What is a Turtle Brownie
If you’re not familiar with the phrase “turtle”, it generally refers to the combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. “Turtle” Candy was made of the combination and resembled the shape and appearance of turtles.
These brownies have nothing to do with turtles but do contain the classic combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans.
Equipment You May Need
You really shouldn’t need any particular equipment or supplies for this particular recipe, but a few suggestions…
- 13×9 Baking Pan – A good 13×9-inch baking pan, that is not glass or dark metal, I personally think works best for brownies.
- Parchment Paper – Precut parchment paper sheets come in handy if you want to lift the brownies out of the pan for easier cutting.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Turtle Brownies Ingredients
- Butter – Unsalted.
- Dark Chocolate Chips – You could use bittersweet or semi-sweet, but I would not use milk chocolate as it might be too sweet.
- Instant Coffee Granules – This is optional, but does give a nice deep rich flavor to the brownies.
- Eggs – Large.
- Granulated Sugar – Regular granulated sugar.
- Vanilla Extract – You could use your favorite extract if you’d prefer.
- All-Purpose Flour – Regular all-purpose flour.
- Baking Powder – To help the brownies rise a little.
- Salt – For the perfect sweet and salty combo.
- Caramel Squares – You can generally find these (Kraft) caramel squares in the candy aisle. They’re usually individually wrapped but if you can find them unwrapped, save yourself some time and get those.
- Heavy Cream – Not milk if you can. The heavy cream will help make a nice smooth thick caramel.
- Salt – Just a little.
- Pecans – Pecan halves or you can use chopped pecans if you prefer.
- Dark Chocolate Chips – Like above, if you don’t like dark chocolate you could use semi-sweet or bittersweet.
How to Make Turtle Brownies
- PREHEAT. Preheat oven and prepare pan.
- MELT. Melt butter, chocolate chips, and coffee in double boiler or microwave until smooth. Cool.
- COMBINE. Mix together eggs, sugar, and vanilla in one bowl. In another, combined flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk cooled chocolate into sugar/egg, then stir in lour.
- BAKE. Pour half of batter in pan and bake for 10 min.
- CARAMEL. Meanwhile, heat caramels, cream, and salt until smooth. Cool.
- FILLING. Sprinkle pecans on top of brownies, then drizzle caramel on top, and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Spoon remaining batter on top.
- BAKE. Bake brownies.
- COOL. Cool completely before cutting.
(Full printable recipe card with full details is at bottom of post.)
- Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. I kind of like these brownies out of the refrigerator when they’re fudgy.
- The brownies are great as-is, or top with ice cream or whipped cream. They make great brownie sundaes!
- Serve with a delicious coffee, hot chocolate, or chocolate cocktail. Or even homemade espresso would be delicious.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- The caramels can take a long time to unwrap if you can’t find them unwrapped. I’d suggest doing that before you start the recipe.
- Be sure the melted chocolate mixture and caramel are both cooled completely before adding.
- Try not to over bake the brownies. The top should look set but not dried out. They will firm up a bit as they cool.
- If you do decide to use a different chocolate in this recipe instead of the dark chocolate, be sure it’s not a chocolate that is too sweet.
- I like to grease the pan, then line the pan with one piece of parchment paper that goes along the long side of the pan, over the bottom of the pan, then up the other long side all the way to the top of the pan or a little above the sides. Then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper too. This makes it really easy to lift the brownies out of the pan and cut them after they’ve cooled.
Turtle Brownies FAQ
How to tell when brownies are done?
It’s a little tricky because you can go from underbaked brownies to overbaked brownies quickly. the top should look “set”. It might look slightly jiggly and underdone but they will firm up as they cool.
How to cut brownies?
If you are particular about getting those perfectly cut brownies, I would be sure to line your pan with parchment paper so you can lift the brownies out of the pan and place on a cutting board. I’d also suggest refrigerating or freezing the brownies before cutting to get nice smooth sharp edges.
How should I store the brownies?
For storing brownies, I would store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Although you can also store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
Can I freeze brownies?
YES! These brownies freeze great.
How long do brownies last?
They brownies will last at least a few days at room temperature or probably about a week in the refrigerator and a few months in the freezer if well wrapped.
Instead of dark chocolate, you could use bittersweet or semi-sweet. Milk chocolate might be a bit too sweet in these brownies. Instead of pecans, you could use walnuts.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
You can try using lower fat margarine and milk instead of cream in the filling but I can’t say for sure how it will turn out.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You can add other “mix-ins” like toffee chips. You can add more salt to the caramel filling to be like salted caramel brownies.
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – You’d have to make a lot of substitutes, so might be difficult.
Vegetarian – The brownies are vegetarian.
Low-Carb – These are definitely high carb, but to lower the carbs you could try a sugar substitute and low sugar chocolate. You could also cut the caramel filling in half.
Gluten-Free – You could try a gluten-free baking flour that has a 1:1 ratio substitute for all-purpose flour.
Other Brownie Recipes You May Enjoy
- Mint Brownies – Fudgy homemade brownies with a mint chip frosting.
- Cannoli Brownies – A fun twist on the Italian classic pastry. These brownies are topped with a delicious cannoli inspired frosting.
- Chocolate Brownie Cake – Part brownie, part cake. The ultimate birthday cake!
Hope you enjoy this best ever chunky from scratch Turtle Brownies recipe! Tell me in the comments if you made any changes and how you liked them!
Turtle Brownies Video
Check out this how to video to see how these brownies come together…
You might also like these Chocolate Turtle Cookies with the same great combination of flavors!
Best Turtle Brownies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish. If desired, line the pan with parchment paper so that paper is along bottom and up the two longer sides and goes a little above top of pan sides.
- Place butter, 1 (12 ounce) bag of chocolate chips, and coffee granules in top of double boiler over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, heat mixture until smooth (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and set mixture aside to cool. [OR you can place ingredients in microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.]
- Whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla until well combined in a large mixing bowl. In a separate small mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk cooled chocolate mixture into sugar/egg mixture, then stir in flour mixture until just combined.
- Pour about half of chocolate brownie mixture into bottom of prepared 13x9-inch baking dish. Spread batter to cover bottom of pan into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place unwrapped caramels, cream, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool. [OR you can place ingredients in microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.]
- When bottom brownie layer is done, remove from oven. (don't worry if it's not fully cooked). Sprinkle pecans on top of brownie layer. Drizzle cooled caramel on top, then sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top. Spoon remaining brownie batter on top and gently spread batter over chocolate chips to edges of pan to cover filling.
- Bake brownies an additional 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until almost set in middle. Brownies may appear slightly underdone, but that's ok. Be careful to not overbake and dry out brownies.
- Cool completely. For easy cutting, place brownies in fridge for several hours over overnight to firm. Gently lift on parchment paper to remove brownies from pan and remove paper. You may need to run a sharp knife around edge of pan to remove brownies. Cut brownies into squares. For a firmer fudgier brownie, store in fridge. Otherwise, store at room temperature for a few days.
(Nutrition data is provided when available for informational purposes only and calculated using an online nutritional calculator. For the most accurate information please calculate based on specific ingredients and brands you use as well as any changes you made to the recipe. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietician and any nutritional information provided should only be used as a general guideline and estimate.)
This post was originally published in February 2014, but updated in December 2020 with additional information.