Turtle Brownies – Sweet Treats

These turtle brownies are perfect when you want a really decadent treat!

When I was in grade school, every December we’d anxiously await the “cookie plates” that various friends and neighbors would give each other during the holiday season.

One of my family’s favorites would come from the Brauker family – Barb made these incredible turtle brownies. One year, she included a recipe card with the cookie plate. It was the recipe for her turtle brownies!!

Here on The Boat Galley, I usually stay away from recipes that start with box mixes. But sometimes you’re in a location where you can get them and this is a very special treat – but I’ve also made them without the mix. And by the way, you can substitute any chocolate cake mix for the German Chocolate cake mix – it’ll taste a little different, but I’ve done it and it’s still good.

Turtle Brownies

Turtle Brownies – A wonderful treat for a special occasion – with a variation in case you can’t get a German Chocolate cake mix.

Prep Time 25 mins

Cook Time 25 mins

Total Time 50 mins


  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package caramels (14-ounce)
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (you can use a 5-ounce can, which is just slightly less)
  • ¾ cup butter (or margarine)
  • 1 cup broken walnuts (or pecan or macadamia nuts)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (12-ounce bag)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Unwrap caramels and place in a pan with half the evaporated milk. Melt over very low heat, stirring almost constantly to make sure it doesn’t scorch (you can also do this in a microwave on half power for about 2 minutes – check and stir after 1 minute). Set aside.

At the same time, melt butter.

Combine cake mix, remaining milk and butter with a spoon.

Press half cake mixture in a greased 9″ x 13″ inch pan and bake for 6 minutes at 350°.

Remove from oven but don’t turn the oven off.

Pour melted caramels evenly on top – don’t try to spread it around after you’ve poured it, it will just become a gloppy mess with the brownie layer underneath. It’s fine if it’s not perfectly even.

Sprinkle nuts and chocolate chips over the top.

Take remaining cake mix and spread over the top – you can either crumble it or take a 1″ section at a time and quickly press it between your hands then lay it over the top (I find the latter works better for me to get it evenly distributed). It’s fine if there are empty spaces.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. There’s no real test for doneness because of the caramel – you have to judge by eye. The brownie part should look dry and done.

Cool and cut into bars – this is very rich, and generally 1″ or 1 ½ ″ squares are a good size.

Keep in an airtight container.


Unwrapping the caramels is the longest part of making this. See if you can enlist someone to help – in our house, this was always Dad’s job as Mom and I prepped the rest of the ingredients!

To make turtle brownies without the cake mix, I’ve simply made a batch of my favorite regular from-scratch brownies, baked half as in the recipe, added the caramel, nuts and chips and put the rest of the brownie batter over the top. This is also a good option if you don’t want to make a full 9″ x 13″ pan – just decrease the caramels, nuts and chocolate chips proportionately as well.

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