Turtle Brownies



Warning:  This is a semi-sentimental post.


I’m sitting among half-packed boxes as I write this post.  My almost-4-year-old nephew has sweetly helped me by writing (as best as he can) “cookbooks” on a few boxes, and then he lovingly adds pictures of stick figures of his family on the box to remind me of who my family is, too.  In short, while I know this makes me smile now, I am pretty sure that in 8 days when I live 1000 miles away, it might make me cry a little.

The past couple of years have been a lot about goodbyes for me.  Goodbyes to an old and very naive me, goodbyes to former friends as we mature and realize life is carrying us in very different directions, and goodbyes to assuming the same patterns in life which appear to always land us in the same places.  I’m now attending graduation banquets, going away parties (I seriously have some of the best friends in the entire world), and I am planning out new adventures and opportunities for my next chapter in life.  I’m filling up every last minute before I leave with the people closest to me: going down slides at the park with my nephews, celebrating my little sister’s 21st birthday, traveling to my dear friends’ wedding halfway across the country, holding my friend’s baby, and chatting way too much with the co-workers I will severely miss. I am not sleeping that much because there’s too much fun yet to have.

And the funny thing is that I am not very good at goodbyes.  I kind of like to detach a little.  I kind of like to end it like it isn’t really ending.  Like, “hey, see you tomorrow!” when I am really moving far away the next day.  It seems a little smoother that way.

I am incredibly thankful for all of it.

But, I’m not a Debbie Downer here.  I am so excited to be starting fresh.  New faces, new places, and new food!  And, if you are a regular reader, hopefully you will be joining me on this blog as I make my way to a different part of the country to experience a non-Midwestern palate.  There will be culinary/baking classes for me, field trips to farms, and a great-many farmers’ markets and probably a lot of maple syrup and Ben & Jerry’s.  Are you ready?  I am.

Sentimentality over.  Unless you want to get sentimental about these brownies, which would be perfectly acceptable.  These are worth a little bit of sentimentality.  My friend, Jason Jacobs, has been one of my faithful taste-testers of recipes over the past year, and he has declared these as “definitely Jason approved.”  They are a little chewy, very rich, oozing with buttery homemade caramel (sidenote: yes, the caramel is surprisingly easy to make), and totally worth getting a little misty-eyed over. I used walnuts instead of pecans because that’s what I had on hand, but any kind of nut would be great!

Here’s to new hello’s.


Turtle Brownies

Servings: about 12 brownies


For the brownie:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus an additional 2 tablespoons

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 ounce (1/4 of a 4 ounce baking bar) unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs


For the caramel topping:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

3 tablespoons water

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 and 1/2 cups walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

For the garnish:

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips



1. For the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare a 9×9-inch square pan by buttering it and lightly flouring the surfaces.

3. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, and butter.

4. Stir the mixture until smooth, and then remove from the heat.

5.  While the chocolate mixture cools, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.

6. Add the brown sugar and vanilla to the chocolate mixture, mixing well.

7. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  ***The batter should look thick and smooth.

8. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate, and mix until just combined.

9. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.  Let cool.

10. For the caramel topping:  In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and a pinch of salt and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

11. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil without stirring until the color turns a light amber, about 10 minutes or so.

12. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the cream and vanilla, stirring until thick and smooth. **Be careful, it will bubble and splatter.

13. Pour the caramel evenly over the brownies.

14. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top of the caramel, and let the brownies cool completely. **I stuck mine in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

15. For the garnish: In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips at 10-second increments, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

16. Cut a very small piece off a corner of a plastic sandwich baggie, and spoon the chocolate into the bag. **Or use a pastry piping tip.

17. Use the open end to quickly drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the brownies. Let cool.


Source: Barely adapted from Gourmet, via Epicurious.



June 10, 2011 - 5:44 am

apron Appeal - the brownies look really great but your sentimentality really struck me. I used to hate spring time because it meant that I would be saying goodbye to some beloved friend. Living in a college town is rough that way…but living away from a college town is harder. Bon Chance on your new adventure…where will you be heading?

June 10, 2011 - 6:53 am

Hilary - Hope your travels are safe and you get settled soon:) Makes me a little sad cause I had just found out what a great blogging community we have here in Indy and was looking forward to getting more involved through my blog:)

June 10, 2011 - 7:22 am

Caroline @ chocolate and carrots - I’m drooling. Look at that dripping caramel! Yum!!!

June 10, 2011 - 8:51 am

Josie - Ummm so you totally just made me cry this morning! Best of luck with your move, Shanon. I can’t wait to read all about your new adventures! And the brownies look awesome, of course 🙂

June 10, 2011 - 10:58 am

Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 - Good luck in your next adventure. I know the feeling of goodbyes all too well. Where are you headed? If it is Vermont, I have a friend for you. She is my sister and she is an awesome cook and even works for Ben and Jerrys. 🙂

June 10, 2011 - 12:49 pm

Paula at Dishing The Divine - good luck on your move! I *hate* moving and will surely never leave this area as a result. I’m just too lazy to pack all my crap into boxes. 🙂 That said, these photos of brownies oozing caramel are gorgeous!

June 10, 2011 - 12:54 pm

srlacy - Hey Nicole!

I am moving to the Vermont/New Hampshire border to do a fellowship at Dartmouth for the next year! It sounds like your sister and I would get along really well. 🙂

June 10, 2011 - 12:55 pm

srlacy - Hey Hilary!

I know, it seems like I am discovering more and more Indy food blogs-there are so many talented food bloggers here in the area. I am sad to be leaving. Maybe someday we could all get together and meet for dinner somewhere when I come back to visit!

June 10, 2011 - 2:53 pm

Kelsey - oh my gosh this look absolutely amazing. I am sitting at work and DYING because I want to eat a pan of these RIGHT NOW! Thanks for sharing!

June 10, 2011 - 2:54 pm

Kelsey - Gorgeous GORGEOUS photos!

June 10, 2011 - 3:54 pm

Heidi @ Food Doodles - Wow those brownies look amazing decadent. Yum 🙂 Good luck with your move and getting settled in your new place. I completely understand your sentimentality. I’ve moved so many times and hated it each and every time. But now that it’s in the past I see that it was always a good choice 🙂

June 10, 2011 - 4:28 pm

Kellie - Shan- These look AMAZING! Your post made me sad, but it also made me excited for all the adventures you are going to have. We are going to miss you so much, but know that we are always a phone call (or short flight) away! 🙂


June 10, 2011 - 6:42 pm

Lauren at Keep It Sweet - Sounds like a really scary but exciting transition! I find that my friends and I are constantly going through goodbyes like that at this point in life and it is definitely hard. I also hate goodbyes, but starting new parts of life are so exciting.

June 10, 2011 - 9:16 pm

Claire - You can do it!! Best of luck and good luck moving!! Just think: you will be near the Kingdom of King Arthur Flour. 🙂

June 11, 2011 - 9:14 am

Lori - Welcome to the East Coast! I am sure you will love Boston! Thanks for posting these delicious brownies. The caramel did it for me!

June 11, 2011 - 12:35 pm

sweetsugarbean - My God woman! These look INSANE! Love love love chocolate and caramel. Good luck with the move – such an exciting time for you!

June 11, 2011 - 11:50 pm

Donna - These look amazing!

Good luck with your move. My husband and I went through all that, since he went to med school, internship, residency, position. Every move was challenging – but worth it! I wish you all the best…. and I’ll be following you along as I read your blog!


June 12, 2011 - 6:26 pm

geegee - yes these are amazing! one of my favorites!

June 12, 2011 - 8:51 pm

Raelyn - Just wanted to drop a note, I have been enjoying your blog for the last few months. Happy to hear you are coming to our region. You will LOVE King Arthur flour!!! And the Farmer’s Markets. Shelburne Farms in Burlington VT is a little bit of trek from the VT/NH border but a must see, they make their own cheese and super yummy bread. DHMC is an amazing hospital. Good luck to you on your move. I can’t wait to see the upcoming New England spin on your blog!

June 13, 2011 - 4:09 pm

Brooke @ Waiting to Rise - Hey there! So, I’m just catching up on my blog reader and I came across this post. What struck me more than the yummy brownies, was the comment about sentimentality….saying goodbye to the old you….I’ve been doing that recently and while its hard, I have to move on from my old, naive self into the mature woman I’ve become (the blog has been one of my ways to say goodbye as I would’ve never put myself out here like that). Thanks for reminding all of us that we are all human and we go through the cycles of life, saying goodbyes and hellos throughout……..

Good luck on your journey! Can’t wait to read more in the future!

August 8, 2011 - 12:09 am

Ashlee - I saw your brownies via Pinterest. They looked amazing! I saved them to my board and decided to make them today. They were pretty good (I’m not really a brownie fan). I’m excited to browse your blog more this week when I have the time. I put your brownie pic up and linked to your post. Here is my post if you are interested:


Have a wonderful day!

August 14, 2011 - 9:57 pm

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January 13, 2012 - 12:19 pm

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January 13, 2012 - 12:30 pm

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May 18, 2012 - 7:48 pm

squiggles2007 - Made these and LOVED them!! I almost ate the whole pan before my husband could try any haha I actually added the carmel topping before putting them in the oven and they were fantastic that way also! Thanks for a great recipe!

July 4, 2012 - 1:04 pm

Andrea - These are delicious and absolutely decadent!!! Will be making these for a lot of parties! Chocolate,caramel, nuts-what’s not to love!

September 30, 2012 - 2:43 pm

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January 29, 2013 - 4:21 pm

Ingrid - GREAT recipe…made these a couple nights ago…and I am still dreaming of that yummy sticky caramel! Big hit here…{imagine a pack of wolves at feeding time} Definitely a keeper! 😉


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June 10, 2014 - 3:00 am

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