Turtle Brownies

One of my projects of late has been weeding through cookware. Over the years I’ve accumulated tons of it, but not all of it is good. What I treasure now and want to make room for more of is my All-Clad. It may sound melodramatic, but cooking with good quality metal pots and pans has changed my life — or at least my cooking, which is a big part of my life so it’s fair to say. If I had to take one piece to a desert island it would be my All-Clad saute pan because I use it almost every night making dinner, but a close second would be the lidded saucepan because it’s what I use to make awesome homemade caramel to drizzle on top of things like turtle brownies.

Turtle Brownies

I’m not sure I would have ever learned how to make caramel without my metal saucepan. It’s heavy, durable, conducts heat well, and I can scrape things off the bottom without worrying about damaging it. Making caramel shouldn’t involve scraping, but it does involve keeping a consistent heat, covering the caramel for a brief stint to prevent crystallization, and keeping an eye on the color of the sugar so you’ll know when it’s ready. Another advantage of metal saucepans is that you can see the color better than you can with a black pan.

So back to the brownies. These are something I made spur of the moment using my new skill of caramel making and foregoing the need to go to the store and buy little candies. I love being able to make it at home with just cream, sugar, butter and vanilla. For the brownie base I used an old recipe from Every Day Food which is also made in the saucepan, but you can use whatever 8 or 9 inch square pan brownie recipe you like.

Turtle Brownies

Start with a good base brownie recipe. For this, I used Saucepan Brownie Recipe. If you use this recipe, make sure to use 8 oz of good quality chocolate and not chocolate chips. Chocolate chips work, but the brownies will be slightly dryer.

Caramel Topping for Turtle Brownies:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, room temperature
Tiny pinch of salt

Bake the brownies as directed using your favorite recipe.

Prepare Caramel Topping.

Heat sugar and water over medium heat, uncovered, in a heavy metal lidded saucepan. Swirl pan occasionally until sugar is dissolved (this will only take a minute or two). At this point, sugar should be boiling. If it’s not, increase the heat. Otherwise, just cover pan and boil syrup for 2 minutes. Remove cover and continue boiling for another minute, swirling pan once or twice until mixture begins to turn amber. Swirl pan until it takes on a uniform amber color. Remove from heat and whisk in butter until smooth. Whisk in cream (it will bubble up). When cream is thoroughly mixed, whisk in vanilla and a pinch of salt. Let the caramel cool slightly or just until it is a good consistency for drizzling. With a big spoon, drizzle it over the brownies. Sprinkle some more nuts on top. Let cool completely, then chill for an hour or two. Lift foil from pan, set on a cutting board and score into squares.

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  1. says

    I remember a roommate in college making a fabulous brownie with homemade caramel in the middle, I need to ask her for that brownie/caramel recipe. In the meantime, I need to try this and see if it compares to my memory.
    Funny–I read you post as dessert island.

  2. says

    Good quality cookware makes a huge difference in a cook’s life, so I don’t think your comment is at all melodramatic. About two years ago we also invested in All-Clad, and we also love it.
    These brownies look to die for! Now that’s melodramatic! 🙂

  3. MaryBeth says

    I see those chocolate chips on there!! lol

    I can’t imagine some toffee bits hurting much either. 😉

  4. says

    I’m so glad to see this recipe, Anna! Last year, someone brought some caramel brownies to a big event I went to…and I loved them, but never took the time to track down the woman who made them. Hers did not have nuts…just a super rich and chocolatey brownie with caramel.

    Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  5. Nikki says

    I have to agree with you about the All-Clad pans. Did you know they have a ‘seconds’ sale twice a year? I live in the Pittsburgh area, home of All-Clad, and have found some great deals on the cookware. You should consider a field trip to Western PA. I love the paella pan!

  6. Judy says

    I buy all my All-Clad from Cookware & More. They have semi-annual sales in November and March with some very good sales.

  7. Katy Glass says

    Hi Anna,
    I have a great All Clad story. I have used it for about 20 years. My nonstick pieces became really worn over time. I called the company to see if they could be refinished. They don’t refinish, but they will replace the pans for free if they pass inspection and it’s clear the lifetime warranty hasn’t been violated (evidence of metal utensils, scouring, etc) I sent in 4 pans and they sent me 4 BRAND NEW pans. No receipt required. The retail value of the new pans was almost $1000. Another reason to love All Clad!

  8. Hilary Purcell says

    Anna: I purchased several pieces of All Clad at Sur La Table with my American Cancer Society’s Holiday Shopping Card in Houston a couple of years ago and received 20% off. I know Austin has an ACS Holiday Card but not sure if the Sur La Table in Austin participates. Check it out because its a win win for ACS and happy shoppers! Congratulations on the caramel… the brownies look awesome!

  9. Anne says

    My teeth hurt looking at those brownies but not enough that I won’t make (and eat) them! They are gorgeous! I can only add that I have the All Clad square grill pan I got at Williams Sonoma about 5 years ago. I love it. Happy cooking everybody!

  10. Louise says

    A lot to be said for no “hot spots” in your cookware. I’ve had a large collection of All Clad for thirty years. When we remodeled our kitchen three years ago and changed to an induction cooktop, I had to replace the majority of my All Clad with magnetic Stainless All Clad. Not all of their stainless is magnetic. Big expense, but there’s the added benefit of it going into the dishwasher, which wasn’t a concern when I got the original 30 years ago. Electrolux gave me several pieces of Chantal, which is enamel on steel. I expected it to be absolute junk, but it’s actually really nice cookware and also perfect on the induction cooktop. I love all my cookware.

  11. says

    I love these turtle brownies. I make a version from Gourmet every holiday season to give away, and then end up eating a fair share… since they are so rich, I like to cut them into 4ths and make minis. 🙂

  12. Linda says

    Hi Anna,

    I LOVE your website!!!

    My family LOVES turtle brownies, but I hate having to unwrap all those little caramel squares. I’m anxious to try your recipe so that I can say goodbye to those little cellophane blocks forever!

    I know that you like to halve recipes and I’d like to make a batch in a 9 x 13 pan, so I’m wondering if I need to double your measurements. What size baking pan does this caramel recipe cover? 8 x 8? 9 x 13?

    Thanks for your help!

  13. says

    Hi Linda,

    The caramel made just the right amount for the 8 inch pan, so you’d have plenty if you doubled it. I think if you made the caramel recipe as is without doubling, you just wouldn’t have enough. Let me know how it goes!

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