Buckeye Turtle Brownies are an easy recipe that takes gooey caramel pecan turtle brownies and raises it with a fluffy layer of peanut butter and melted chocolate. Your sweet tooth will rejoice with the ultimate decadent brownie recipe!
The Accidental Creation of Buckeye Turtle Brownies
In the world of food blogging there are plenty of fails. Recipes and ideas often play out perfectly in my head, but then in real life…not so much.
These Buckeye Turtle Brownies were created from trying to simplify a turtle candy recipe. In theory it was foolproof, but then, I hit some strike outs. (Full disclosure: A LOT🤨)
I couldn’t bear to thrown away another batch of caramels and pecans, so I whipped up my favorite homemade brownie recipe, spread a fluffy peanut butter topping on, and drizzled a turtle topping on top.
HUGE success. In fact, this Buckeye Turtles Brownies recipe even caught the eye of Better Homes and Gardens on Instagram. That’s what I like to call Entering-the-Big-Leagues.
I was pretty smitten myself with the buckeye turtle combination. So much so the Easy Buckeye Turtles recipe was it’s brain child.
Besides, screw simplifying turtle candies. It hasn’t been done because it’s obviously not humanly possible. We’ll go with that, mmmK?
How to Make Buckeye Turtle Brownies
- Make brownies in a 9X13 pan. My favorite brownie recipe to use is the homemade fudgy brownie recipe or almond flour brownies (doubling recipe).
- Melt caramels and milk together in a microwave safe bowl.
- Remove caramels just before they melt fully so they don’t become hard when cooled. Stir until caramels are smooth and then add pecans. Pour caramel turtle mixture over cooled brownies.
- Mix together peanut butter layer ingredients – powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, and milk.
- Peanut butter layer will be thick and can be pressed on with fingers.
- Spread melted chocolate over peanut butter layer and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks for Making Buckeye Turtle Brownies
- If you like a little salty with your sweet, sprinkle fleur de sel, or Maldon salt, or course sea salt on top. These special finishing salts are great on baked goods because they don’t dissolve and hold their integrity.
- The key to melting caramels and chocolate is to NOT heat them until completely smooth. Microwave until just about melted and then stir until completely smooth. The residual heat will finish the melting and you will ensure it not being overheated.
- The peanut butter layer can be a little tricky to spread. Just get all in and press it down with your fingers (see video). Then, lick fingers clean.🤙
- This recipe works fine for your standard Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownies as well. Omit caramel and chopped pecans.
- I usually melt chocolate chips for toppings because I always have them on hand. However, sometimes the chocolate “blooms,” or gets little white spots after it cools. It doesn’t affect the taste, but doesn’t look as pretty. For the best tips on melting chocolate perfectly check out this how to make chocolate bark article. Another option: eat the entire pan the same day made. What bloomed chocolate? 🤫
If you love turtle brownies, check out Salted Caramel Chocolate Bark recipe! For chocolate peanut butter lovers, try Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake or THE WORST Peanut Butter Cup Pie.
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Buckeye Turtle Brownies
- 1 9X13 brownie recipe, I use my favorite Brownie Recipe
- 11 oz. bag of caramels, unwrapped
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
Peanut Butter Topping:
- 6 tbsp. butter, softened
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp. milk
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 ½ tsp. vegetable oil
- fleur de sel or coarse sea salt, optional
- Bake your 9X13 brownie mix or recipe according to directions. If you are using my favorite homemade brownie recipe, do not mix in the last cup of chocolate chips before baking. Cool brownies completely.
- In a microwave safe bowl place caramels and milk and heat on high for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes**, stopping to stir intermittently. Remove immediately just after caramels are almost smooth. Pour in chopped pecans, mix, and scoop in spoonfuls over brownies immediately. TIP: Use a piece of waxed paper greased with cooking spray to press down and spread. Don't worry if it doesn't cover brownies completely, you'll be covering it with other layers.
- For the peanut butter topping*, beat all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well mixed (will be very thick). Scoop spoonfuls of peanut butter topping all over turtle topping. Press and spread the peanut butter topping gently using fingers.
- In another microwave safe bowl place chocolate chips and vegetable oil. Melt on high for about 1 minute**, stirring occasionally until chocolate is about melted and smooth. Pour over peanut butter layer and smooth with offset spatula. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt or fleur de sel, if desired.
- DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?? DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE FEEDBACK AND/OR CLICK A STAR RATING ON THE RECIPE CARD!
❊SHOP THE RECIPE❊
Items used to make this recipe:
Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour Ι Angled Icing Spatula Ι KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
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Brenda Hansen says
Thank you for adding the note about switching the order of the layers! I have been giving this a lot of thought on how to get these to stay together and look nicer when they are cut. Glad it’s Christmas time so I can try this new method.
Melissa Erdelac says
Oh yay, Brenda!
I’m so happy to hear you caught the note and even happier these are a Christmas tradition treat for you. You choose wisely!
Hi Melissa can these squares be frozen and chocolate topping added before serving thank you debby
Yes, that would work perfectly! Just be sure they come to room temperature before adding chocolate or it will harden immediately and be hard to spread.
So I’m pretty sure that adding all of those additional ingredients to the brownie recipe adds more than just one calorie. LOL. Do you know what the calorie count would be on these with your brownie recipe? TIA
Lol, yes DeeAnn, you are right! I cannot get the nutritional info to count the brownies. I keep trying 🙁 But anyway, based on the brownie recipe 1/24 is 246 calories and 1/24 of the toppings is 247 calories, so 493 total. You could also halve the topping ingredients to save on calories or use a “healthier” brownie recipe. Thanks for writing and pointing that out!
Can these be made without the nuts? And or can it be made with something else to replace the nuts? Thanx
It wouldn’t be a problem to just leave out the nuts. You can do the caramel portion as is, without adding nuts OR just leave the caramel layer off entirely. Let me know if you have any other questions!
These are great! Nothing wimpy about them at all. For the peanut butter frosting, just add more milk to make it creamy and easy to spread over the turtle mixture. Thank you for the recipe!
Thanks for the tip. I’m sure readers will appreciate it! Yes these brownies are the meaning of decadence!
Thank you got this amazing recipe. i just finished making a batch. I can’t waits to try them. I have one question though, should these be put into the refrigerator or left on the counter?
Enjoy the brownies! They can be stored on the counter, covered with foil.
These are delicious Misst!! Just making them for the first time they came out great! Thanks for sharing the recipe!! I am probably going to make them again to share at work.
Glad you liked them, Susan! Hopefully everyone loves them just as much at work, but I don’t think a dessert being shared at work has ever been disliked 😉
Jen Stuart says
These are amazing! I just have one issue….I think I’ve gone up a pant size since I made them on Sunday! Oooppps! #worththeweightgain
I hear you! I had to freeze the rest last time I ate them to stop myself from taking down the whole pan. 😉
These brownies were really good for the most part. I really liked the salt, chocolate, and carmel flavour. My only complaint about these brownies is the peanut butter layer. It turned out absolutely soupy and the butter wouldn’t mix with the rest of the ingredients. I ended up wearing half of it because of how hard it was to mix, and the rest of it I had to push through a strainer with my hand so I wasn’t feeding my family butter chunks. I’m not even quite sure how it *could* turn thick, since there is more liquid/soft ingredients than hard/dry ingredients. Thank you fir the recipe, but next time I’ll skip the peanut butter. Four stars for the actual brownies, three for the prep.
Hi Arin, Sorry you had so many troubles with the peanut butter! I’m not sure exactly what happened, but possibly you used natural peanut butter instead of regular creamy (this would separate a lot more), the butter was melted, or the wrong amount of milk was put in? Regardless, I hate when good ingredients are wasted and thank you for writing!
After my success with the Stop Looking Brownie Recipe, I decided to give these a try to serve at my boyfriend’s weekly poker night. While they turned out very well and everyone loved them, I felt they weren’t worth the extra work. The peanut butter layer was extremely difficult to spread properly – it wouldn’t stay put! And I noticed the next day that the brownie I saved out for myself had a strange discoloration to the chocolate layer on top – kind of dried out and crackly looking. Also the brownie didn’t taste as well the next day. Overall, they’re good but best eaten right away. But if you just want a really good brownie, just make the Stop Looking Recipe! 🙂
Hi Heather, Sorry for the delay in response! I knew I was making these again soon, so I wanted to do that before I got back to you. Discoloration happens in chocolate if it is overheated or if the percent of cocoa isn’t as high. Generally, higher cocoa amount makes a better melting chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% cocoa baking chips is best). You are right, the peanut butter is hard to spread. However, if you just scoop down spoonfuls and press it with your fingers, it works great. I amended the recipe with some tips so hopefully no one else runs into some of the troubles you had. Thanks for writing!
I plan on making these this weekend I too practice portion control but divide up the servings I want to share and give some to each of my neighbors….also I have been know to give treats to single people, low income families, and elderly at church. It’s a win win situation because I don’t eat the calories and the recipients are grateful and feel loved…..I know they are going to love your recipe! Thank you again!
These are an absolute winner!! I made these tonight and everyone raved about them. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.
I’m so glad you all liked them Veronica! How can you go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel, though???
I have NEVER responded to anything on a blog, but your comments about freezing desserts really struck home. I do the exact same thing! I am obsessed with dessert and food in general, but only allow myself treats on the weekend. It makes me feel better that someone else suffers the same sickness. Love your comments and can’t wait to try this recipe. I know it is destined for the freezer!
Keri, Thanks for taking the time to reach out. I always love hearing from fellow food lovers because it makes me seem a little less crazy. 😉 I get so giddy on Fridays thinking about what dessert I get to enjoy, and even better I never have to take the time to bake it!
Lorinda - The Rowdy Baker says
These are amazing. And honestly? I’m getting kinda jaded about cookies and desserts, and rarely make other bloggers’ recipes, because (duh) I can’t make them and then immediately post them!
But. I love these. Really, really love these. I will share them, I will make them, and I will NOT give them away.
Like you, I have the problem of what to do with the stuff I bake. There is just my husband and myself at home now, and I don’t have a teachers lounge to leave the goodies in.
In this case, I’ll make an exception, because I know for a fact that we will eat every single one of these!
(By the way, I freeze stuff too. It stops the temptation, and eventually . . . usually a year later . . . I will move the goodies from the freezer to the garbage can.)
Lorinda, You are the best! We are kindred spirits for sure. Thanks for the love and I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know you enjoyed these. Judging from your own recipes, it looks like we have great judgement when it comes to ingesting extra calories!
Yet another incredible recipe! Made these brownies for a Super Bowl gathering and they were devoured. Loved the sweet-salty combo with the richness of the brownie – a keeper!
Thanks for letting me know, Julian. I’m so glad party enjoyed them!
Can you please leave them for his staff on a Wednesday? Thats the day i get to be there. Specifically the oatmeal pie cake that I have seen?
Ha! Next get-out-of-my-house dessert will definitely make an appearance on a Wednesday 😉