Chewy, Gooey Layered Turtle Brownies are perfect anytime but even more so for your sweet honey bunches this Valentine’s Day. I whipped up a batch of these decadent brownies earlier this week and OH MY – so delicious. I think you can tell from this photo that all that delicious caramel is just waiting to ooze out of those brownies!
These are so incredibly good – I can’t even wait to tell you about them. I first learned of these from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. When I saw her make this recipe, I was immediately drooling and feverishly searching the internet for the recipe. I mean I’ve made Turtle brownies before but always feel they fall a little short on tasting like actual turtle candy – there’s just never enough caramel. These Layered Turtle Brownies totally solve that problem! Ree calls these brownies the “Knock You Naked” Brownies – which she said actually sounded perfect for Valentine’s Day – although she was making them for a big Arizona vs Arizona State football game.
They start with a boxed German Chocolate Cake mix. Simple enough. Instead of following the package instructions, you add:
some evaporated milk …
… and some melted butter. That’s it. Mix that all together to for a thick brownie type dough that cannot be poured. It will have to be evenly divided into two halves and then patted into a prepared baking dish. That goes into the oven for 10 minutes to set up the dough so the next layer can be added.
Caramel. Oh the caramel! While the first layer is setting up in the oven, unwrap and melt your caramels in the microwave. Yep, three minutes is all you need to get the job done – which is a welcomed relief after unwrapping of those caramels! Unlike Ree, I helped myself to one (or two) while I was unwrapping them. Obviously, I don’t have her willpower.
Once your caramel is melted and free of lumps, pour all the delicious melted caramel over the top of your first brownie layer. MMMMmmmmmm! Now the magic happens…
Add a light layer of chocolate chips. Be reserved on this layer. The chocolate really makes these brownies SWEET! I used chocolate chunks but you can use morsels or mini chips, too.
Next the pecan layer. I had only a scant 1 cup of chopped pecans left in my pantry. If I had it to do over, I would definitely add more next time. So, if you love pecans, load them up, Friends.
Same as the first layer which we had to pat onto the pan, the top layer is the same. Only this time, we have to pat it out before it hits the layers. I used a flexible cutting board and patted it out a little smaller than my pan and then inverted it over the top of the pan and peeled back the plastic mat. This would also work well with plastic wrap, parchment paper, wax paper, silicone mat, or aluminum foil. Ree did hers directly on her counter top but mine was pretty sticky so I opted for the cutting mat so I could lift it up and off with little mess.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes until they are cooked through.Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely before cutting. At this point, I can see (and you can too) that the caramel layer is sitting directly on the side of the glass pan. Ree has you refrigerate the brownies for several hours so the caramel can set up. This made it adhere to the pan making it difficult to remove the brownies from the pan while chilled. Next time, I am going to use parchment or aluminum foil to keep the caramel from sticking to the pan. When these brownies come to room temperature, they are very easily cut but the caramel is in a semi-liquid state so that it would all gush out if you cut them at room temperature.
Finally, I’ve gotten them cut and out of the pan. My husband and daughter have started circling around like a pair of vultures in anticipation of stealing a bite. I mean LOOK at them! Finally, the suspense is over and we all get to enjoy a small slice. Holy wow! These are every bit as amazing as Ree described on her show.
We broke one apart to find a stream of gooey, melted caramel. So delicious. I can see why these are Ree’s favorite brownies – they’re now mine, too.
Gooey Layered Turtle Brownies
Yield 12 brownies
For the Brownie Batter:
- 1 box (18.5 Ounce) German chocolate cake mix
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the Caramel:
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 60 whole caramels, unwrapped (2 bags)
For the other Layers:
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chunks or mini morsels
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, chopped pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir together until totally combined. Mixture will be very thick.
- Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the caramels with 1/2 cup evaporated milk for 2 minutes. Stir well and return the bowl to the microwave and heat for an additional minute. Remove from microwave and stir again until the caramels are fully melted, combined with the evaporated milk, and free of lumps (microwave times may vary). Then, pour the caramel over the brownie base.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.
- Turn out remaining brownie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, generously sift powdered sugar over the surface of the brownies.
- Cut into nine or twelve brownies and carefully remove from the pan.
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