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Inspired by Turtles candy, these pecan brownies with salted caramel sauce are fudgy, super chocolatey, and completely refined sugar free. They’d make an incredibly delicious addition to any holiday cookie board or box!
So I might be doing this holiday baking thing wrong. While everyone and their mom is making Christmas cookies, I’m over here sharing recipes for chocolate peanut butter bars, mandarin orange cakes, and now these Pecan Brownies with salted caramel sauce!
For a girl who claims cookies are her most favourite thing in the world, you’d think I’d have more to give than a sugar cookie recipe. But you see, I had this moment a few weeks ago when I absolutely CRAVED a Turtles candy. The combination of chewy caramel, nutty pecans, and smooth milk chocolate called to me. It must be the time of year.
Now it’s not like I eat Turtles on the regular. In fact, I really can’t recall the last time I had one. Probably years ago! But for some reason, I couldn’t get them out of my head.
You can imagine my disappointment when I learned that Turtles candy are only native to North America. Boo. No Turtles for me.
I still desperately wanted that pecan/caramel/chocolate action, so I did what any expat would do in this situation – make my own! I took those classic Turtles flavours and turned them into something extraordinary: Pecan Brownies with Caramel Sauce. Drool.
These are hands down some of the best brownies I have ever had the pleasure of shovelling in my mouth. I used a refined sugar free version of my family’s classic brownie recipe and added some lovely toasty and nutty pecans and a great heaping spoonful of naturally sweetened salted caramel sauce.
If you love Turtles candy (or brownies or pecans or caramel) you are going to FLIP over these pecan brownies! They’re deliciously fudgy, super chocolatey, and packed with goodies. Make them for your next holiday get together and I promise they’ll be gone in a flash!
How to make the best pecan brownies with caramel sauce
Melt the butter and chocolate together, let it cool, and then add it to a bowl with the rest of the wet ingredients.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and fold them together. Do not overmix!
Fold in your chopped dark chocolate and toasted pecans.
Pour the batter into a greased and lined baking tin and then bake it up!
Allow the brownies to cool completely in the tin (which helps them become extra fudgy!) and then slice and decorate with drizzles of refined sugar free caramel sauce and more chopped pecans!
What makes these pecan brownies refined sugar free
These pecan brownies are sweetened naturally using a combination of pure maple syrup and coconut sugar.
My family’s original brownie recipe makes the most amazing brownies. They’re chewy, they’re fudgy, and most importantly, they’re super chocolatey. So obviously I didn’t want to mess too much with a classic, but I did want to make them refined sugar free.
After a few tests and tweaks, I was able to achieve the same texture and flavour I loved by using pure maple syrup and coconut sugar instead of white sugar.
I also used Green & Black’s dark cooking chocolate for these pecan brownies because they sweeten their bars using raw cane sugar instead of refined sugar!
Tips for making the most perfect pecan brownies
Use good quality chocolate. It might not seem like it, but the chocolate you use in brownies actually makes all the difference to the flavour. Choose a 70% or higher dark chocolate and you’ll get that rich flavour you crave.
Toast your pecans. Sure it’s a bit of an extra step, but toasting the nuts really brings out their natural nuttiness and takes the flavour of these brownies to the next level. Don’t like pecans? Feel free to use your favourite nut!
When lining your baking tray, make sure you have a few extra inches of paper hanging over either side. This will help you easily remove the pecan brownies from the tray once cooled. Trust me on this one.
Keep a watchful eye when baking. No one likes a dry, crumbly brownie, so watch them like a hawk once the 17-minute mark has passed. The brownies are done when the edges just start to pull away from the sides of the tin. If you insert a toothpick at the centre, there should be a little batter stuck to it. The brownies will continue cooking as they cool in the tin.
Looking for more naturally sweetened Christmas dessert recipes?
- Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Gingerbread Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Mandarin Orange Cake
- Chocolate Raspberry Bars
- Golden Milk Cupcakes
If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love this Pecan Brownies with Caramel Sauce by leaving a comment and rating below!
Pecan Brownies with Caramel Sauce
Inspired by Turtles candy, these pecan brownies with salted caramel sauce are fudgy, super chocolatey, and completely refined sugar free.
- 90 g unsalted butter
- 56 g dark chocolate roughly chopped
- 100 g coconut sugar
- 90 ml pure maple syrup
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 40 g cacao powder
- ¼ tsp espresso powder
- 64 g unbleached plain flour
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 50 g toasted pecans roughly chopped
- 50 g dark chocolate roughly chopped
- 70 g coconut sugar
- 125 ml full fat coconut milk
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and lightly grease and line a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) baking tin with non-stick baking paper. Leave a slight overhang of paper for easy removal.
- Combine the butter and dark chocolate in a small saucepan and melt them together over a low heat. Pour the mixture into a large heatproof bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Once the butter and chocolate has cooled, whisk in the coconut sugar, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.
- Sift the cacao powder, espresso powder, flour, and salt into the bowl and fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Be careful not to overmix.
- Fold in the chopped pecans and dark chocolate.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread evenly to the edges. Bake the brownies for 20-23 minutes, or until they start to just pull away from the edges of the tin. It might look a little underbaked, but as it cools it will bake more. Do not overbake or the brownies will be crumbly.
- Remove the brownies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely in the tin. Once cooled, remove and slice into 9 equal squares. Top with drizzles of the caramel sauce and extra chopped toasted pecans.
Add the coconut sugar and coconut milk to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium-low heat. Allow the sauce to simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced and thickened.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Decant the caramel into a heatproof jar and allow to cool to room temperature before using. It will thicken up more as it cools.
- These brownies will keep sealed in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- The caramel can be kept sealed in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To reheat, remove the lid and stand the jar in a pan of gently simmering water for 4-5 minutes.