These Turtle Brownies are rich and fudgy with pecans and salted caramel, inspired by the classic Turtles praline chocolates that we mainly see around the holidays. If you're not familiar with "Turtles", they are clusters of pecans and caramel all dipped in chocolate. The shape of them with a hump of caramel in the middle resembles a turtle shell, hence the name. I've turned one of my favorite fudgy cocoa brownie recipes into the ultimate decadent treat by adding pecans, chocolate chips and drizzles of salted caramel to deliver a nostalgic taste of that famous confection! If you're more of a brownie purist, check out my Better Than Box Mix Brownies, Perfect Shiny Crust Fudge Brownies or Best Homemade Thick Brownies.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Fudgy & chewy brownies - these brownies are gooey with a fudgy texture and chewy edges that you won't resist.
- Rich cocoa brownies - this recipe is made with cocoa powder to deliver intense cocoa flavor and balance the sweetness from the caramel.
- Shiny top brownies - the method of mixing eggs with sugar helps to ensure these brownies have that perfect shiny crust.
- Salted caramel - once the brownies are cooled, you drizzle over my easy and delicious homemade salted caramel sauce..
- Toasted pecans - it's not a Turtles brownie unless there are pecans. I like to toast them for extra flavor.
- Chocolate chip brownies - who ever said "No" to more chocolate?
- Salted butter - the best brownies that have a chewy fudgy texture are made with butter. Salted butter adds extra richness here. You can use unsalted butter in this recipe, but then add a pinch more salt.
- Cocoa powder - I recommend getting some good quality cocoa powder! It’s the main flavor and you want it to shine so use the best you can find. I love to use this Dutch Process cocoa powder for this recipe. Make sure you use unsweetened cocoa powder and not cocoa mix.
- Egg - 2 whole eggs will provide majority of the structure in these brownies for the perfect fudgy texture.
- Granulated sugar - simple fine white granulated sugar dissolves faster and helps give these brownies a fudgy texture.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla is great for enhancing the flavor of chocolate in brownies. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- All purpose flour - regular all purpose flour is perfect to make fudgy brownies. Use unbleached flour which will give you that nice dense texture.
- Salt - salt is important in any baking dessert recipe, but especially here in these brownies! It totally enhances the chocolate and balances the sweetness of the caramel.
- Pecans - to get the most flavor from any nuts when you're baking, always toast them. You can roast them in a moderate oven for 7-10 minutes or toast them in a dry frying pan until they smell fragrant.
- Salted caramel - I use my homemade Salted Caramel Sauce to drizzle over the brownies. You can also use your favorite store-bought caramel (but I highly suggest you try making my recipe because once you learn how, you will never turn back!).
- Dark chocolate chips - little pools of melted chocolate in the brownies are extra decadent and then I sprinkle a few extra on top.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- STEP 1.) Melt butter with cocoa. Heat butter in a saucepan until completely melted and very hot (it will start crackling). Remove from heat and whisk in icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth.
- STEP 2.) Beat eggs with sugar. Place eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until creamy and lemon-colored. You can also use a hand mixer for this.
- STEP 3.) Combine eggs and cocoa mixture. When the eggs are pale and thick, add the warm cocoa mixture and beat for 30 seconds until smooth and shiny.
- STEP 4.) Add dry ingredients. Add the flour and mix it in. It should be smooth and glossy, like thick hot fudge. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
- STEP 5.) Bake. Pour the batter into your prepared pan bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Make sure you do not over-bake these or they will be dry. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let brownies cool completely in the pan. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before lifting out and cutting into squares.
- STEP 6.) Drizzle with caramel. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the cooled brownies, then top with more chopped pecans and chocolate chips. Slice and serve!
EXPERT BAKING TIPS
- Keep the chocolate and butter hot. There is no need to cool the chocolate mixture before adding the eggs. In fact, a warm batter will help the sugar dissolve for a nice shiny top.
- Always use room temperature eggs so that they incorporate more evenly and the warmer temperature helps sugar dissolve. TIP: to bring eggs to room temperature quickly, submerge them in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Measure flour accurately. Too much flour leads to a dry brownie.
- Mix the eggs with the sugar first instead of stirring the sugar into the melted chocolate. Sugar cannot dissolve in fat, but it can dissolve in the water within egg whites
- Watch the baking time. In all my experience, most standard 8-inch pan brownie recipes take between 20 and 25 minutes when baked in a metal pan. Start checking after 20 minutes. A skewer should not come out clean -- it should come out with a few moist sticky bits attached. If it comes out clean it may be over baked, and if it comes out with wet batter then it is still a bit raw.
- Cool completely. For the best texture, it is important that the brownies cool completely.
You can use either natural or Dutch process cocoa powder for this brownie recipe. They will perform the same, but the flavor profile will be different. Natural cocoa has a lighter color and fruitier taste with more acidity, while Dutch cocoa has a darker color with more classic cocoa and coffee notes. I like using Dutch cocoa here for the darker color.
This recipe requires cocoa powder. If you prefer to make brownies with cocoa powder only, then check out my Best Fudge Brownies with Shiny Crust recipe.
Yes you can! If you want to leave them out, the recipe will still work.
Brownies are baked when a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist sticky crumbs attached - not wet batter, and NOT clean. If the skewer is clean then the brownies are over-baked and if the skewer has wet batter then they are still raw.
It's about dissolved sugar. If you see my Perfect Shiny Crust Brownies recipe, I explain how the shiny top is achieved when sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Whisk the sugar into the eggs first. This will help it dissolve some, and also the bonds between sugar and egg proteins is what creates the thin tissue like crust. To help this along, always use room temperature (not cold) eggs. The warmer temperature helps sugar dissolve. The longer you whip the eggs with the sugar, the thinner and shinier the crust will be.
TIP: to bring eggs to room temperature quickly, submerge them in warm water for 10 minutes.
The number one reason why these brownies would turn out dry is if they are over-baked. Brownies take no more than 25 minutes to cook if baked in a metal 8x8-inch pan. Measure the flour accurately too because too much flour will make them dry.
Brownies keep really well at room temperature as long as they are stored in an airtight container to prevent drying out. If you plan to keep them for more than a couple of days, then store them in the fridge.
If you love brownies, check out these recipes!Triple Chocolate BrowniesFudgy Grain Free BrowniesOlive Oil Brownies with Date Fudge FrostingFudgy Buckeye BrowniesOutrageous Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake BrowniesThe BEST Small Batch Fudge BrowniesHomemade Cosmic Brownies Recipe!
Give me all the brownies!
Looking for more brownie recipes? Try these:
Baking with caramel...
Do you love baking with caramel? Check out these recipes:
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup 200g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- 10 tablespoon 140g salted butter
- ½ cup 60g icing sugar
- ⅔ cup 56g cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup 71g all-purpose flour
- ½ cup 85g dark chocolate chips (I also love these bittersweet callets) plus extra for topping
- ½ cup 60g chopped pecans, plus extra for topping
1 x Recipe for Homemade Rich Salted Caramel Sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang at all sides.
- Place eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until creamy and lemon-coloured. You can also use a hand mixer for this.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan until completely melted and very hot (it will start crackling). Remove from heat and whisk in icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth.
- When the eggs are pale and thick, add the warm cocoa mixture and beat for 30 seconds until smooth and shiny. Add the flour and mix it in. It should be smooth and glossy, like thick hot fudge. Fold in chocolate chips and toasted pecans.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Make sure you do not over-bake these or they will be dry. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let brownies cool completely in the pan. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before lifting out and cutting into squares.
- Once completely cooled, drizzle brownies with Salted Caramel Sauce and sprinkle extra pecans and chocolate chips on top.