I just recently realized that I haven’t baked brownies in ages. Seriously, it’s been over three months since I made these guys. After that long of a brownie hiatus, I knew I had to make a comeback in a big way.
These brownies, my friends, are the perfect choice. They are so much more than brownies, though. There’s caramel and nougat and even more chocolate. The finished brownies are sweet and tall and rich and absolutely gorgeous and delicious!
That caramel layer isn’t just caramel. Oh, no. There’s also some crispy rice cereal mixed right in. It gives these brownies a nice crunch and also gives a little more structure to that caramel layer.
And then there’s nougat. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been a big fan of nougat. Of course, my experience with it is limited to mass-produced candy bars I tried in my childhood. This version is far better. It’s gooey and tasty and really works well with these brownies.
I’ll admit that making all these layers will create a lot of mess in the kitchen. I went through more than a few bowls and pans and measuring cups. So, you might want to start with an empty dishwasher, but it will be so worth it once you bite into one of these and embrace all that deliciousness!
Caramel Crunch Brownies are layer upon layer of good stuff, from caramel to chocolate to nougat.
For the brownie layer:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the caramel layer:
21 ounces soft caramels, unwrapped**
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 tablespoon water
1 & 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
For the nougat layer:
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons evaporated milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
7 ounces marshmallow creme
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
For the chocolate layer:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
To make the brownies:
Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave at half power in 30-second increments until butter has melted and chocolate melts when stirred. Transfer to a large mixing bowl if necessary and set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9"x 13" baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two sides. Grease lining.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Add sugar to chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
To make the caramel layer:
Place caramels, 2 tablespoons evaporated milk, and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring after each heating. Repeat until caramels are melted. Stir until smooth. Stir in cereal.
Spread evenly over cooled brownie layer. Place pan in freezer while you make the next layer.
To make the nougat layer:
Place sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often.
Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallow creme and peanut butter.
Pour over caramel layer and spread evenly to the edges. Return pan to freezer while you make the next layer.
To make the chocolate layer:
Place chocolate, butter, and cream in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Pour over nougat layer and spread evenly to the edges.
Cover loosely and chill for at least 2 hours.
Use the overhanging lining to remove the bars to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.
*I usually cut 2-inch bars, but these fellas are so rich you'll probably want to go smaller.
**I used Werther's Baking Caramels and needed 2 bags plus a few more. About 65-70 caramels total.
32 Comments on “Caramel Crunch Brownies”
You’re definitely back with brownies in a huge way! These look amazing!
Whoa, those look dangerous! I’ll have to make these before the heat sets in. One question, though: I can’t find soft caramels where I live, so could I use dulce de leche? If you’d recommend that, then I could make so many other caramel goodies you have on here! Thanks a million!
Wow. I have had a lot of brownies lately but those are so amazing that my brownie overload is no more! Must have.
Whoa! Seems like a labor of love, but they look like they’re worth it!
I made these for this past year’s xmas cookie tins…Fabulous addition to my usual mix. I try to add a few new bars or cookies each year, just to change things up after 10+ yrs of cookie tin giving. Great BHG Best Cookies magazine, too–many great finds. These were amazing and I can attest to use of all those bowls and pots! Not to mention the chilling after each layer. Cutting them cold was tricky as well. Yours look lovely and so perfect! I bet you didn’t stop at one sample…I sure couldn’t! 🙂 Worth the time and effort as these just melt in the mouth and a real treat!
O-M-G! These look amazing!
Wow! These look fantastic! My husband would absolutely love these! Beautifully done!
These look so amazing! I love the layers, and there are so many great flavors going on. Pinning!
All the layers! I love!
Love this layered brownie, looks delicious! great presentation!
I’ve just made something like that for Easter.
This is an amazing recipe.
Oh my goodness. You have no idea how much I want these brownies right now!
Wow, these look amazing, I love caramel, for sure I am going to be trying these. Thanks
MMmmmmm looking stunning and simply delicious! will try them today! thanks
I’m not usually into nougat either but I’m suuure homemade is so much better and these brownies certainly look INSANE-caramel + crunchies and ganache and nougat and, obviously, the brownies!!!!
Now I’m thinking of how long it’s been since I’ve made brownies. TOO LONG. that ooey caramel layer has definitely gotten my attention!
Yum! I never like to go too long without baking brownies!
I made these yesterday and the taste is amazing. The only problem is my nougat never seem to set up. It was really runny and basically melted as soon as I removed them from the freezer. Not sure what I did wrong. How did you get yours to be so fluffy? I would love to make them again if I could get them to hold their shape.
Hi, Julie. As everything else is essentially liquid, I think the marshmallow creme is the key. Maybe you didn’t have quite enough? Did you weigh it?
I have the exact same problem. Followed the recipe to the letter, but my nougat layer is way too soft. It can’t even hold the weight of the chocolate layer on top, which pushes the nougat out sideways. Which means I had to throw away my batch, because while it tasted great, I couldn’t serve it to my co workers in that messy state.
I went through a pretty serious 100 Grand phase in high school. Like I would have one every day. These remind me of those. I must try them.
These look incredible. I admire anyone having the dedication to make all those layers too!
Oh my, this looks amazing! One question: Is there a way these can be made with a boxed brownie mix for the brownie layer? If so,what sized box of brownie mix?
Hi, Sunny. I don’t use brownie mixes often. I’m sure you could use one, though. I’d look for one that makes an 8- or 9-inch square pan so you’ll get the thin layer you see here in a 9″x 13″ pan.
I also had a problem with the nougat layer, It’s delicious but very runny. Is there some way of stabilizing the ingredients without using some sort of thickener? Perhaps using less milk or butter or cooking the mixture longer? Thanks
Hi, Susan. The nougat layer should work as described. I think the keys are the boiling and simmering stages. It should be nicely thickened when you remove it from the heat. That and the marshmallow creme are really the only things that will thicken the mixture.
Thank you for the recipe. Are the marshmallow creme and peanut butter added immediately after removing the nougat mixture from heat or should I wait for a bit and add them once the nougat mixture has cooled down somewhat?
Hi, Saema. I added it as soon as I took it off the heat. It’s much easier to combine when it’s hot.
I made these for my son’s birthday(we don’t do cake) and they were a huge hit! Had to make them again for when his friends all came over, never seen so many guys love brownies this much! I made it without the peanutbutter in the nougat and it turned out yummy (one kid has a peanut allergy). if you boil the nougat until the candy thermometer hits 234 degrees F it turns out perfect. the first time i watched the clock and it was runny even after it should have set up, the second time I watched the thermometer and it turned out perfect!
I’m so glad they were such a hit, Tonya!
Is there a print button somewhere that will allow me to print the recipe ONLY and not all the pictures & commentary?
Hi, Belinda. There’s a print link in red right above the recipe. It includes a small photo.