During the holidays I experimented with how to make candy Turtles a little less tedious. No dice on that one, but serendipitously these Buckeye Turtle Brownies were born. I couldn’t stomach throwing away another perfectly heavenly caramel pecan mixture, so I repurposed it into these insanely good brownies. Who doesn’t want to eat a brownie with a thick, creamy peanut butter topping under gooey caramels, mixed with pecans, and drizzled all over with chocolate?? If I must.
People ask my husband all time how he stays so thin with all the baking and cooking I do. They must think he is greeted daily with a counter full of decadent treats and food, all laid out, ready for him to taste and comment on when he gets home. Ha ha! In a cruel twist to my family this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Why would I want food to just lay around and torment me all day? When it comes to delicious food, especially desserts, I have the will power of a 3 year old. Therefore, I employ some effective strategies to ensure I’m not buying larger and larger clothes every month.
Most importantly, every weekday starts off with a sufficient calories-burned deficit. There’s no pretense I exercise religiously for my health or cardiovascular stamina. My local YMCA is a godsend because A) free childcare and B) no kids are allowed in workout area. Catch my drift? Workout = me time with no kids. You had me at free childcare. I’m there. Everyday.
Secondly, good food doesn’t just stick around the house waiting to be nibbled on intermittently. I make it, I eat it, and the leftovers must immediately leave the premises. Luckily my husband is an elementary principal, and everyone knows teachers’ lounges are the perfect crime scene for disposing of food quickly. (Sorry guys, better the 30 of you than the one of me).
Another trick I use unfortunately drives my kids (and probably husband) crazy. Freezing the crap out of anything and everything makes it very difficult to eat it in a moment of weakness. I am notorious for freezing leftover desserts immediately, so much so, as my family is enjoying their first bite they will beg me to not freeze the rest. But I have to freeze desserts for the same reasons impulsive buyers freeze their credit cards. We both need time to really weigh our wants versus needs, ponder if that instant gratification is in our best interest, but yet still be able to access it in an emergency. Believe me, I do, when my Frozen Bakery Wonderland opens for business every weekend.
In extreme cases I will resort to throwing away a dessert if I can’t handle having it on premises without getting the shakes. This for sure drives Ryan crazy. He knows I’m about to surrender it to the trashcan when I ask him five times in 15 minutes if he’s going to eat that last piece of cake. I will! Don’t throw it away! I just don’t know how he can be in the same room with something so tormenting and not annihilate immediately. Why didn’t I get that gene?
These Buckeye Turtle Brownies were relinquished to my husband’s staff. Me and my pants thank you all immensely for taking one for the team. Of course, since I had to do quality control on them, they were made gluten free with the Stop-Looking Brownie recipe, but you can use whatever brownie mix or recipe you prefer. If you are going to make them gluten free, always use a high-quality gluten free flour such as Cup 4 Cup or Better Batter, so there is no off-putting taste or texture. Before you start eating them, though, best to have a plan in place for relinquishing the seven remaining rows.
The Stop Looking Brownie Recipe – I call this the Stop Looking Brownie recipe because after trying virtually every brownie recipe out there, I stopped looking after I found this perfect one!
Snickerdoodle Bars with Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze – These taste just like your favorite snickerdoodle cookie taken to the next level with a delicious gooey glaze drizzled all over.
Cookie Dough Cream Cheese Brownies – A delicious, fudgy brownie topped with a cookie dough cream cheese layer and melted chocolate
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How to Make Buckeye Turtle Brownies:
- 1 9 X13 brownie mix or recipe I used the Stop-Looking Brownie recipe
- Peanut Butter Topping:
- 6 tbsp. butter softened
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. milk
- Turtle Topping:
- 11 oz. bag of caramels unwrapped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp. milk
- Chocolate Topping:
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- course sea salt optional
- Bake your 9X13 brownie mix or recipe according to directions. If you are using the Stop-Looking Brownie recipe I did not mix in the last cup of chocolate chips before baking, but you can if you want. Cool brownies completely.
- For the peanut butter topping, beat all ingredients together in a medium bowl until light, fluffy, and well mixed. Press the peanut butter topping gently on the cooled brownies using an offset spatula or fingers.
- In a microwaveable safe bowl place caramels and milk and heat on high for about 2 minutes, stopping to stir intermittently. Remove immediately just after caramels are smooth and melted. Pour in chopped pecans, mix, and then pour over peanut butter layer.
In another microwaveable safe bowl place chocolate chips and vegetable oil. Melt on high for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally until chocolate is just melted and smooth. Pour over caramel layer and smooth with offset spatula. Sprinkle with course sea salt, if desired