Turtle Bars

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Top

These Turtle Bars will keep you in a Holly Jolly mood this Christmas season.  Rich, indulgent triple chocolate brownie bars with caramel baked on the top of a crumbly, buttery shortbread crust.  I mean, how can we go wrong with that? Originally this recipe includes pecan nuts, but instead I used peanuts because of nut allergies in my family. Please feel free to use walnuts or pecans in the same amounts as peanuts.



2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Ingredients for Crust


2 cups granulated sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (4- ounce) bar semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Ingredients for Brownies


2 cups granulated sugar
9 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Ingredients for Caramel


2 (4-ounce) bars semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup raw unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, letting about 3 inches of foil extend over the sides of the pan.  This will make removal of the bars much easier. Generously grease the foil with butter and then evenly dust with flour, or simply spray with baking spray with flour.

To make the crust, combine flour, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse until the mixture is crumbly, about 12 to 14 times. Reserve 1/3 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside.


This little bit of crust dough will be part of the topping along with peanuts and chocolate. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes.

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Crust

In the meantime, make the brownie batter by whisking together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Add melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Combining Ingredients for Brownies

Mix in chopped chocolate.

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Mixing Brownie Dough

Spread over the cooled crust and bake until firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool for 30 minutes.

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Spreading Brownie Dough over Crust

While brownies are cooling, make the caramel.  Place sugar in a large, heavy saucepan.  In a small bowl, stir together 9 tablespoons of water and corn syrup. Pour over sugar, swirling to coat. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring until mixture is amber brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, stirring until melted (mixture will foam).  In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the heavy whipping cream over high-heat until hot but not boiling, about 40 seconds. Slowly add hot cream, vanilla and salt to the sugar mixture, stirring until smooth. Let it cool slightly. Reserve half a cup of caramel. Pour remaining caramel over brownie mixture,

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Caramel and Brownie

then sprinkle with chopped chocolate, chopped raw peanuts and reserved 1/3 cup crumb mixture.

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars - Brownies Topped with Caramel, Chocolate, and Raw Peanuts


Bake for 5 minutes. The crumb topping will not be browned. Let cool completely at room temperature for several hours, until brownies are cooled and caramel is set.  Do not refrigerate. If you do so the chocolate will change to an ashy look.

Using excess foil as handles, remove from pan and cut into bars. Just before serving, drizzle with reserved ½ cup caramel.

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars

Makes about 24 Turtle Bars.

Smell of Rosemary – Turtle Bars Bottom

Prep time: about 1 hour.

Bake time: 15 minutes for the crust and about 30 minutes for the brownies.

Inspired by “Bake From Scratch Holiday 2016” magazine.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Smell of Rosemary, name and blog content, including photographs and writing, are protected since first use, November 2012. All content on this site is protected and may not be reproduced without permission. You may link to my content, but please do not steal it.

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