Monday, August 23, 2010

Legendary Turtle Brownies

Meghan and I have a former college professor, Candace, who makes the absolute best brownies EVER. Candace does a lot of work with high school journalists and educators - and our alma mater often hosts workshops, camps, etc. Candace would need volunteers, speakers, helpers - you name it, it is needed. Sometimes the events aren't hosted on our campus, but Candace still needs people to travel and lead sessions or facilitate the check-in process. These aren't small-scale meetings, so they take a lot of manpower, and with eager, hungry college journalists, Candace knows where to go for help.

Candace doesn't make the Turtle Brownies every day - they are reserved for special occasions, typically as a thank you for working at a seminar, speaking at a conference or helping run a workshop in some capacity. Turtle Brownies are legendary, though - you can ask anyone who has done Candace a favor, and they will likely look at you and drool at the mere mention of Turtle Brownies.

I work with several fellow alumni, and every once in a while, Turtle Brownies will come up in conversation. We'll beg Candace to send us some from Ohio, but it is hard for her to ship the gooey goodness that is a Turtle Brownie to climates like Florida and Arizona, so people like Meghan and I and my coworkers have been missing out since we graduated college.

A few years ago, I got the recipe from Candace. I was intimidated to attempt making the sacred brownies, and I never found a bag of caramels, so I kept delaying it.

But a few months ago, I was in the candy aisle of our grocery store and saw the caramels. In shock, I mumbled something to my husband about "Turtle Brownies" and threw them in our cart. After that, I just needed to find the Supreme Brownie Mix (I found a Betty Crocker variety) and summon the courage to make the brownies.

Candace stressed that the recipe wasn't complex, but that it is more of a technique, and a tricky one at that. I found this to be very true, as I tried to keep the caramel from the edges of the pan, keep the brownie mix and caramel from mixing too much, keep the caramel from sinking to the bottom of the pan, etc. (all while thinking of the standards I had to live up to). I think I might need to reserve more brownie mix for the top portion next time I make these, but all in all, the first batch turned out better than I expected. I had some of my fellow college grads/now coworkers test them out (to be honest, once they knew I was making Turtle Brownies they were practically on high alert for me to bring them to the office), and while I don't think they are nearly as good as Candace's, they seemed to qualify as "good enough." I have vowed to continue perfecting my technique by making them frequently :)

Supreme Brownie mix
Bag of caramels
1/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare brownies as directed on box.

Unwrap the caramels and add approximately 1/8 cup water to them in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

Spread half of the brownie mix in a greased 9x12 pan (I used a 9x13).

Pour the melted caramel mixture on top, keeping it away from the edges.

Pour the remaining brownie mixture on top, taking care to not move the bottom two layers (because the caramel will sink to the bottom and stick and get hard).

Bake for about 35 minutes.

Source: Awesome college professor and brownie maker extraordanaire



OMGOMGOMG! I NEED one of these. Or four of them. Is it too early to put in my Christmas order? I figure by then, you will have perfected the technique. :)


Did I say 1/4 C water? I think it's more like 1/8+. The mix -- and this IS the right one -- calls for 1/4 C water, and then I add about half that much to the caramels. That might help. (And you DID earn yourself a batch when cooler weather arrives!)

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