Salted Caramel Turtle Brownies are the perfect bite of gooey, fudge brownie with chewy caramel and topped with toasted, roughly chopped pecans. This is the ultimate "doctored up" boxed brownie recipe with a chewy Kraft caramel hack that cravings are made of.
With the holidays upon us, these brownies are the ideal dessert. They’re easy, fast, rich, and delicious. I brought these salted caramel turtle brownies to a family party as a last minute dessert request. My only requirement was to bring something "handheld." That left a lot of room for creativity and I was craving Pixies from Fannie May (IYKYK), so I pulled as many components together from them as possible. Chewy caramel and milk chocolate are the stars of the show, but Pixies also have pecans and a gentle crunch. I toasted them for this recipe but toasting is totally optional.
Tips and Tricks
They're already easy to make, but follow these steps to keep this recipe totally fool-proof.
- Parchment paper is a must. Use the parchment paper to easily lift the brownies right out of the pan. Grease the parchment paper to make it easier to peel off when caramel has hardened a bit.
- Baking or cooking spray on top of the parchment paper to peel off the parchment paper easily. Don’t use butter.
- Open the Kraft caramels and throw them in a bowl before you start the recipe (it saves time and I already learned the hard way). 11 oz bags of Kraft chewy caramel can also be purchased as small beads that aren't individually wrapped.
- Toast the pecans first and set aside. This ensures that they’re ready when you sprinkle them on the warm caramel and gives them time to set with the caramel.
- Use Pillsbury's "Family Size 9x13" chocolate fudge brownie mix (x2). Other mixes could work but this recipe is based on that particular mix.
- Add some instant espresso powder to really enhance the chocolate flavor. Espresso powder is commonly found in "from scratch" brownie recipes and adds depth to the chocolate.
- Use sea salt flakes to sprinkle as a finishing touch-not Kosher salt. The flakes are finer and bring the flavor without the crunch.
Order of Operations
- Chop and toast the pecans (see details below). Set aside in a small bowl.
- Line the 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and grease the side edges with cooking spray.
- Prepare both brownie mixes in one large mixing bowl, following the instructions on the box. Add in espresso powder. Pour the contents of both prepared mixes into the 9x13 pan.
- Bake the brownies for 45 minutes and then check the center with a toothpick. Some gooeyness is ok, but make sure it's not batter. Add a few more minutes of baking time if the center of the brownies is too much like batter.
- Remove brownies from the oven and set aside. Melt (4 tablespoons) butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the Kraft caramels and toss in the melted butter. Stir frequently until the caramel has completely melted.
- Stir in the vanilla bean paste completely, and last, slowly stir in the heavy cream.
- Remove from heat and pour over the brownies, making sure the caramel stays within the edge of the parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the chopped and toasted pecans over the warm caramel and gently pat down with a spatula.
- Sprinkle sea salt flakes over the toasted pecans.
- Allow caramel to cool completely (at least an hour). Lift brownies out of the 9x13 pan by the edges of the parchment paper.
- Peel off the parchment paper to cut the brownies and serve. Then sit back and be amused by how amazed everyone who tries a brownie is.
How to Toast Pecans
*To toast the pecans, add remaining butter to a frying pan and melt.
*Stir in the pecans and continue stirring for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until they have a nutty aroma.
*Remove from heat and chop roughly.
Salted Caramel Turtle Brownies
- 2 boxes Pillsbury Fudge Brownie Mix
- 4 large eggs
- 1⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 bag chewy kraft caramel
- 8 oz heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 4 tablespoon melted butter
- sea salt flakes (to sprinkle on top)
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoon melted butter
- Toast the pecans: Add butter to a frying pan over medium heat, and add in the pecans when the butter is melted. Stir consistently for 3-5 minutes. Pecans will have a nutty aroma when they're finished. Remove from heat, allow to cool down, and roughly chop them.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.Prepare Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge brownie mixes according to the box instructions (add vegetable oil, eggs, and water). Stir in espresso powder.
- Line 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper (with extra length all around the sides). Spray parchment paper around the sides with cooking spray.
- Pour brownie batter into lined 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center of brownies is no longer moving or batter-like.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan and add Kraft chewy caramels. Toss them to coat and stir frequently as caramels melt.
- Add in vanilla bean paste and stir well to combine. Slowly pour in heavy whipping cream, stirring constantly and remove from heat.
- Pour melted caramel over the top of the brownies (if they're still warm, it's OK). Sprinkle with toasted pecan pieces and sea salt flakes. Gently pat the pecans down with a spatula and allow the caramel to cool and set before serving. (1 hour).
- Lift brownies out of 9x13 dish by the edges of the parchment paper and peel off the parchment paper before slicing to serve