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Sea Turtle Brownies

by on June 16, 2009 · 17 comments

This morning I bought ingredients to make one of Bon Appetit’s latest, greatest pies — the Raspberry No-Bake. I’m intrigued because one person gave it 4 stars and another person gave it 1. What’s the story? I have to know and will fill you in later.

For now, here’s another recipe that also just happens to be on Epicurious. That’s not where I found it, though. I found it on a cookie newsgroup that didn’t post the source, then coincidentally I was going through my yellow Gourmet cookbook while the caramel was boiling and there was the recipe again. (Update: What I’ve learned over time is that anything in the yellow Gourmet Cookbook is a winner!)

So this recipe is adapted from Gourmet magazine. I toasted and chopped the pecans and ignored the part about mixing dry ingredients separately, but it’s more or less the same recipe… but with sea salt. Putting a little sea salt on top, an idea validated by another reviewer, takes these to the next level.



Sea Turtle Brownies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Brownies with a topping of homemade caramel, pecans and sea salt.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 64
Brownie Layer:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces (114 grams)
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips (114 grams) = 2/3 cup
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar (210 grams)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (115 grams)
Caramel-Pecan Layer:
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups toasted and chopped pecans, measure before chopping
Garnish — 1-2 ounce semisweet chocolate (optional)
Garnish — Fancy sea salt…the most expensive you can find! (kidding)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square metal pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray. Alternatively, use nonstick foil or grease the pan and line with parchment.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan set over medium or medium low heat. When butter is almost completely melted, add chocolate, reduce heat to low and stir until chocolate is melted. Cool mixture slightly, and with a wooden spoon, beat in brown sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl and with the wooden spoon, beat in the baking powder and salt, making sure they’re evenly distributed. Add the flour and stir gently until it is mixed in.
  3. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake in middle of oven for about 30 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Make caramel-pecan layer: In a heavy medium size saucepan bring sugar, corn syrup, water, and a pinch salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil mixture, without stirring, until it turns a golden caramel – mine was golden in 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and carefully add cream and vanilla (mixture will bubble up and steam). Stir in pecans and quickly pour mixture over brownie layer, spreading evenly. Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack.
  5. Chill brownies, loosely covered, until caramel is firm, at least 4 hours. Lift from pan by grasping parchment (or foil). Cut brownies into 16 squares, then cut each square into 4 squares. Set squares in regular or miniature size cupcake papers and sprinkle sea salt on top before serving. Makes 64
  6. Optional – Melt 1 or 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate in the microwave, transfer it to a heavy duty freezer bag or decorating bag, snip end and pipe over the brownies. You can do this before cutting, though the chocolate will snap a bit, or you can pipe the chocolate on after the brownies are cut – that is, right before you set them in the miniature cupcake cups.
To toast pecans, lay them on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes.


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Published on June 16, 2009

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise June 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm

The reviews on Epicurious for the Turtle Brownies were all over the charts too. I think yours look great and this recipe has been on my list of brownies to make. I should move them to a higher position on the list. These are a different style of Turtle, but these are on my list too. I think they are modified from CI

Sue June 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Wow! Those look like AWESOME “brownies”. Actually they look like really cute candies!
And, I love that you put sea salt on them and called them sea turtle brownies. :-)

Louise June 16, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I bet these would be great with bacon in them. :-)

Katrina June 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Um, YUM!!! Have you seen that annoying judge on So You Think You Can Dance that screams with excitement when she likes a dancer/dance? Well that’s me, but the nice thing is, I’m just screaming my comments, so no one can hear me like the annoying lady on SYTYCD who is on national TV! ;)
I LOVE that they are now SEA turtle brownies!

melissa June 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I have been making these exact brownies every winter holiday season since that issue of Gourmet came out. They are really easy to make and people love them (including me!). I will have to try it with the sea salt next time. They are extremely sweet, so that sounds like a great touch. I store these in the refrigerator before and after cutting, because the caramel gets soft easily. They are really decadent, so the small size is perfect. June 16, 2009 at 3:56 pm

This is a must-make recipe for me, a confirmed chocoholic. They look divine!

janet June 16, 2009 at 5:49 pm

They look like something from a fancy bakery! Very impressive looking…thanks!

Cara June 16, 2009 at 7:50 pm

These look amazing, and I definitely like the addition of the sea salt! I love the extra saltiness with chocolate.

justJENN June 16, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Oh my word. I must make this immediately.

Rosie June 17, 2009 at 8:32 am

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! I have always wanted to try these cookies out after seeing them in varoius cookie books. I must get baking some very soon :D

April June 17, 2009 at 10:16 am

These look phenomenal!

Chaya June 17, 2009 at 10:50 am

Your photo did it. One look and I knew I would have to make this for the weekend. We are having our family barbecue and I have been trying to think of what would go over with everyone young and old and this sounds like it will work. Thanks.

Janice June 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Are these as absolutely amazing as the picture?
Seriously I am swooning!

Shoshana June 17, 2009 at 6:24 pm

These look amazing and I want to make them tonight, but I don’t want to eat the whole batch all at once. How do you think these would freeze?

bakingblonde June 17, 2009 at 7:41 pm

The brownies look tooth achingly sweet, just what i am craving right now!!

Ashley June 18, 2009 at 11:20 pm

I agree – very cute! And quite delicious looking.

Donna May 14, 2010 at 8:36 am

Wow—–these look absolutely amazing! The “sea turtle” part is very catching. Looking for something for our foods class to try. These sound like the ticket:)

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