Now that we’re past the mid point of January, I think it’s high time we break out some chocolate…and some caramel…and some pecans…
How about some Turtle Brownie Bark? This is the latest iteration of the beloved Brownie Bark, that crispy, chewy thin yummy brownie treat. Have you tried it yet? Or perhaps Peppermint Brownie Bark was the one to win you over. Maybe you haven’t even heard of it? If not, definitely click over to the original post for all the delicious details. (It was my first post on this blog!)
I decided to take one of my very favorite candies, chocolate turtles, and bring all that caramelly nutty goodness to this bark. I kept it easy and used caramel candies you can buy. I know a lot of people bake with these, but I don’t think I’ve had them since I was a kid. I was a little nervous about using them. I had planned to make the caramel from scratch, but one of the great things about this recipe is that it’s an easy one to whip up. And, a lot of people aren’t really “into” making their own caramel. So, I decided to go with the short cut and keep it easy.
I was afraid the caramel would come out rock hard after baking in the oven, but I dutifully unwrapped each little candy, chopped it up in small pieces and proceeded with my fingers crossed. I did look for the little caramel bits you can buy to avoid all the unwrapping and chopping, but I didn’t see them in the stores I checked. I actually had to go to a few stores to find the caramels, which I thought were kind of a basic item.
So I bought them, and brought them home. My son asked me three times if he could have some of the caramels and each time he asked, I gave him the same answer. (As soon as I figured out how much I needed for the recipe, he could have some.) Somewhere along the line he got into them before I gave him the go ahead, and, let’s just say he had more than one. Since I still hadn’t started the recipe and wasn’t sure how many I needed, another trip was made to the store to get caramels. The funny thing is I only used 10 pieces anyway, so I didn’t need the second bag (which has now been hidden away from prying hands :)
For the pecans, I used raw pieces. I was going to toast them, but since they sit on top of the batter, they end up toasting nicely in the oven. Another time saver.
Once all the toppings were evenly distributed, I popped the tray in the oven and crossed my fingers. I’m sure those of you who use these caramels all the time are thinking there’s not going to be a problem, but after making a failed caramel pretzel bark this past Christmas that could seriously damage your dental work, I was feeling less than confident. Would the caramel harden? Would the nuts burn? And, slightly off topic… what the heck I’m I going to do with the extra bag of caramels??? (I know my son has an answer for that question :)
I needn’t have worried. The bark came out crispy and chewy as it always does, the nuts were perfectly toasted and the caramel was just chewy enough to work with the crispy, chocolaty, chewy brownie. I’m going to add Turtle Brownie Bark to the “win” column. Now I’m three for three on Brownie Bark. This is the most addictive one yet. I think it’s time for you to jump in and try some.
Third time’s a charm?
Turtle Brownie Bark
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder I used Hershey's
- ¼ teaspoon espresso powder optional, to enhance chocolate flavor
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon non-fat dry milk powder
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the toppings:
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup chopped caramel candies about 10 candies, each cut into 8 pieces
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line a large jelly roll pan or baking sheet with a pan sized piece of parchment. (Do not use wax paper for this.) I used a half sheet pan. Spray the parchment with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. I used my stand mixer to do this, but I’ve also done it by hand.
- Add the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, oil and vanilla, beating until smooth.
- Whisk in the milk powder, then the flour mixture.
- Stir in the ½ cup of chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter on the parchment spreading it thinly across the sheet into a large rectangle. Normally I would spread it to about 14” by 10”. Because of the caramel, I think 13" x 9" ish is better so that the edges don't get too crispy. The photo in the post is the 14" x 10" size which is how I learned that I should have spread it a bit less. If you don't mind the harder caramel around the edges, spread as thin as you like.
- Once you've spread out your batter, sprinkle the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the batter, filling in all the empty spaces caused by spreading the batter.
- Place the caramel pieces evenly on the batter followed by the chopped pecans.
- Bake the bark for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and cut it into squares using a long sharp knife or pizza cutter. I used a pizza cutter and had no issues slicing through the batter. Do not separate the pieces once cut.
- Return the pan to the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool on the pan.
- Once cool, break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. They stay chewy for at least two days. After that, they start to become more brittle. Still delicious, but no longer chewy.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
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