If you love salted caramel, nuts and fudge brownies, then this salted caramel turtle brownie recipe is for you! Salted caramel turtle brownies are fudge brownies topped with salted caramel and pecans.
For these chocolatey fudge turtle brownies, your ingredients are split into two layers:
- Fudgy brownie with salted caramel chips
- Salted caramel and pecan turtle topping
For the Brownie Base
To make the salted caramel brownie base, you'll want:
- Eggs - as with most baking, these are best at room temperature.
- Oil - use an unflavoured oil, such as canola oil or sunflower oil. If you are a lover of olive oil, the brownies will turn out fine using olive oil here, but the olive oil will impact the flavour of the bake.
- Water - just a couple of tablespoons of tap water.
- Vanilla - I always recommend using a good quality vanilla extract for best flavour in your bakes.
- Flour - either all purpose flour or plain flour will work in this recipe.
- Cocoa powder - for the most fudgy fudge brownies, use a dutch processed cocoa.
- Powdered sugar - also known as icing sugar or confectioners sugar.
- Light brown sugar - a soft light brown sugar, firmly packed. In the UK, this is called muscovado sugar.
- Salted caramel chips - I used these from Hershey's but you can use any salted caramel baking chips or in fact leave them out if you're not able to find them.
For the Salted Caramel Turtle Topping
To make the homemade caramel pecan topping for these brownie bars, you'll need:
- Butter - unsalted butter, ideally at room temperature to make the melting easier. You can use salted butter here, but reduce the amount of salt added in as this will not be necessary.
- Light brown sugar - as with the brownie layer, this should be a soft light brown (muscovado) sugar, firmly packed.
- Heavy cream - or double cream, at room temperature (or near to it). To avoid the caramel seizing, remove the cream from the refrigerator about an hour before using.
- Sea salt - flakey sea salt works best in this recipe, but you can also use kosher salt or rock salt.
- Pecans - shelled pecan nuts, roughly chopped.
Making Salted Caramel Pecan Turtle Brownies
The process for making these brownies is very straightforward and involves two stages:
- Making the brownie layer
- Making the caramel pecan topping
If you've made any of my other brownie recipes, this brownie base follows the same basic steps. Begin by stirring together the dry ingredients (the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar and powdered sugar). In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (the water, oil, vanilla and eggs). Add the dry to the wet and stir with a spatula to combine into a thick fudge brownie batter.
As an addition to these salted caramel brownies, the last step is to add the sea salt caramel chips to the batter. I used these from Hershey's but you could use any brand or size of chip. If you can't find these, try using caramel chips or chocolate chips.
Stir these through to distribute before pouring into a lined baking tin and smoothing out. Bake until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Homemade Pecan Salted Caramel
While the brownies are baking, prepare the salted caramel pecan layer. This starts off by making a quick and easy salted caramel.
Before making the caramel, you'll want to take your cream out of the oven. Chilled cream can cause the caramel to seize, so allowing this to warm up to room temperature is important. I take mine out about an hour before making, but this will depend on the temperatures of your fridge and kitchen (if your fridge is kept particularly low or your kitchen particularly cold, you may want to let this sit out longer).
To start making the caramel, place the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and heat over a medium setting, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. This will take about 10 minutes and the mixture should start to darken a little and come to a boil.
Once the sugar is dissolved, slowly pour the cream into the hot sugar sauce while whisking continuously. This will cause the mixture to bubble up a bit more but it will subside into a boil. Keep whisking for about 1 minute then remove from the heat and add salt. Stir in the salt, followed by the chopped pecans.
Adding Turtle Topping to Brownies
When the brownies come out of the oven, you can pour the warm caramel pecan layer straight over top and spread. If your timings don't line up precisely here, that's no problem at all. I'd recommend topping the brownies while they're still warm and also pouring the caramel while it is still warm, so that it is runny enough to pour.
The caramel will firm up if left to sit too long. If it becomes too solid, you can reheat over a low heat in a saucepan until it is easier to spread.
Once topped, place the brownies in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill and firm up. These can then be removed from the pan to slice and serve.
These salted caramel topped brownies with pecans will keep for about 4 days on the counter in a cool place. You can also store in the refrigerator for about a week or freeze for up to three months.
If freezing, allow to defrost before serving - they will thaw fairly quickly (leave them for about 1 hour) on the counter.
Absolutely! A 'turtle' topping is essentially caramel and pecan with chocolate. This makes it a perfect topping for a brownie. This recipe is for a fudge brownie with a salted caramel pecan top.
No, if you don't like salted caramel or would prefer not to use it for any reason, you can make this same recipe, removing the salt. Replace the salted caramel chips with caramel chips or leave these out entirely. Then simply leave out the salt in the homemade salted caramel topping, to make this a plain sweet caramel. You'll be left with delicious pecan and caramel topped fudge brownies.
Well, technically yes - these salted caramel brownies with nuts would work and be tasty with a wide variety of different nuts. Walnuts in particular would be a suitable substitute here.
Turtle topping, however, is traditionally pecan, which means that if you change the nuts, this won't really be a turtle brownie.
Looking for more brownies and bars? Check out some of these recipes:
Salted Caramel Turtle Brownies
- 8" square baking tray
- medium mixing bowl
- large mixing bowl
Ingredients for Salted Caramel Chip Brownies
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup flavorless oil such as sunflower or canola oil
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar or icing sugar
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar (muscovado)
- 3 oz salted caramel chips
Ingredients for Turtle Topping
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar (muscovado)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy cream or double cream, removed from the refrigerator about an hour before making
- 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
- 6 oz pecans roughly chopped
- Begin by lining an 8" square baking tin with parchment paper and preheating the oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan).
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar and powdered sugar.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, water and oil until combined. Then add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir together with a spatula until you have a thick glossy fudge brownie batter.
- Finally, add the salted caramel chips and stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for about 20 minutes in the centre of the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to top with the salted caramel mixture.
Instructions for Salted Caramel Pecan Turtle Topping
- Add the butter and brown sugar to a saucepan, place over a medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. This will take about 10 minutes. The mixture should darken a bit (see note) and boil.
- Slowly pour the cream into the saucepan, while whisking continuously, followed by the vanilla. The mixture may sputter as it boils up a bit, but should subside to a steady boil. Continue stirring while it boils for about 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and add the salt, stirring through. Then add the chopped pecans and stir to coat.
- Pour the pecan topping over the brownies and spread into a layer.
- Place the brownies (while still in the pan) in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour to allow the brownies to cool and the caramel to set, before slicing.
- When set, remove from the pan, slice and serve.