Turtle Poke Brownies are covered with layers of caramel, chocolate ganache, and pecans. These rich and decadent brownies are sure to become a favorite.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved turtle candies. You know the ones I’m referring to. Those cute little candies that come in packages of three. They are supposed to look like turtles and are made with pecans for feet covered by a layer of caramel then topped with chocolate. I usually got these on a special occasion like Valentine’s Day or my birthday. Valentine’s Day was the best because they came in a larger box meaning there were more to eat. 🙂
As I’ve gotten older, my taste for candy has changed. I rarely purchase a candy bar, a pack of gum, or anything from the “impulse buy” area of the supermarket. This includes my beloved turtles. Finding a way to improvise and make desserts with the same turtle ingredients is relatively straightforward. The tough part is making things turn out the way I like.
One time, I made Caramel Turtle Bars. They looked amazing and that’s about as far as it went. The caramel crystallized to the sides of the pan making it impossible to get the bars out in one piece. The crust crumbled and fell to pieces while the caramel was so thick and sticky, it resembled glue. Needless to say, I would require a lot of practice and patience.
I also tried unsuccessfully to make Turtle Brownies, so I decided to think outside the box. That’s when the idea for Turtle Poke Brownies came along. Judging on past mistakes, I knew I couldn’t cook the brownies with the caramel sauce incorporated into the batter. The Turtle Poke Brownies were the perfect fix!
The holes would allow the caramel sauce to seep deep into the brownies, and I could add additional layers of chocolate, caramel, and pecans on top. I had to try it!! So, I crossed my fingers and got to work.
The result was an excellent pan of Turtle Poke Brownies that the entire family loved. They were ooey and gooey with pockets of caramel. The layers of ganache, caramel sauce, and pecans added the finishing touch and provided the perfect balance of turtle goodness. 🙂 I declare this recipe adventure a success!! I hope you love it as much as we do!
Make the Batter:
Melt the butter over low-medium heat in a medium saucepan. After the butter has melted, add the sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Stir the mixture until well combined. It’s important not to allow the butter to become too hot or it may scramble the eggs. Next, slowly add the flour, cocoa, and salt. I usually whisk the mixture to get all the lumps out. Stir until combined, but do not over mix. Add the chocolate pieces and stir until the pieces are completely melted. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. For thicker brownies a 9 x 9 baking dish can be used, but cooking time should be adjusted. Carefully pour the brownie batter into the baking dish and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes (for 13 x 9). Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. This recipe is for fudgy brownies so there will be some cakiness on the toothpick. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Make the Caramel Sauce:
Place caramel bits or squares into a small saucepan over low-medium heat. I use Kraft Caramel Bits because they are already unwrapped and it saves a ton of time! Add the heavy cream. Stir constantly until mixture is combined and caramels are melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the Ganache:
Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Watch it carefully! If it begins to boil, it will quickly expand over the top of the pan and make a HUGE mess. When cream begins to steam, add the chocolate chips and stir constantly. The mixture will melt quickly and become creamy. After it is well combined and completely melted, remove from heat. Take care not to leave it over the heat too long or the chocolate will scorch.
Using the small end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the brownies about 2 inches apart. Pour half the caramel sauce over the brownies. Using a silicone spatula, smooth the caramel sauce over the brownies so it seeps into the holes. Next, pour the ganache over the caramel sauce and smooth to cover the entire surface of the brownies. Sprinkle the ganache with chopped pecans. Last, use a metal spoon to drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over the brownies.
The brownies can be served immediately or saved. The toppings will firm some as they cool.
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate squares, roughly chopped
- 11-12 ounces caramel bits or squares (Similar to Kraft Brand.)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 9 x 9 baking dish.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat.
Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Add flour, cocoa, and salt. Stir to combine but don't over mix.
Add the chocolate squares and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Place caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir constantly until combined and completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place chocolate chips and heavy cream into a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir constantly until combined and completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using the small end of a wooden spoon, poke holes about 2 inches about in the cooled brownies.
Pour 1/2 the caramel sauce over the brownies and use a silicone spatula to smooth the caramel into the holes.
Pour the ganache over the brownies and smooth to cover the entire surface.
Sprinkle chopped pecans over the ganache.
Use a metal spoon to drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over the brownies.
Serve immediately or save for later.