Pull out your cupid-adorned stretchy pants – Valentine’s Day dessert has arrived and it’s as decadent as it is delicious! Gluten-Free Turtle Brownie Sundaes with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream and Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce are not only going to make your tastebuds explode, but they’re 99% make ahead, too. Because who wants to be shuffling around in the kitchen making last minute dessert on Valentine’s Day night?
You know I don’t eat dessert very often after completing the Go Sugar Free Course last summer, but if there’s ever a time to splurge it’s on Valentine’s Day. Go big or go home, baby. :)
Recently I asked my Facebook followers if they wanted to see a chocolate or cocktail recipe to celebrate the sweeter side of the holiday and the resounding reply was CHOCOLATE, YOU CRAZY PERSON!
Ask for chocolate, and double chocolate is what you shall receive…and salted caramel whipped cream plus crunchy pecans, because I’m crazy like that.
Gluten-Free Turtle Brownie Sundaes with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream and Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce are masterpieces in martini glasses. Store-bought gluten-free brownie mix brownies (yup!) are sliced then topped with salted caramel whipped cream (my newest obsession,) homemade hot fudge sauce that tastes like warm brownie batter, and crunchy pecan halves. This dessert is sweet, a little salty, creamy, chewy and crunchy. Long story short, it has it all!
Ok, how about a medium-length story? :)
There’s a tiny little chocolate shop in town called The Chocolate Storybook that’s been around for decades, and they sell the best chocolate turtles – caramel and pecan clusters drizzled with melted chocolate. Growing up my Dad bought a box for my Mom and me on Valentine’s Day each year and they’ve remained a favorite since then. Meant to be a sweet, two-bite treat, my Mom was lucky if she got her half of what was, for me, a one-bite must-have!
This year I decided to give the classic turtle a little upgrade and transform it into a decadent dessert that’s perfect for sharing with your loved one, whether that be your husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, or relative. Show ’em you care with this rich, chocolatey, and ultra special treat. It’s a special occasion dessert to be enjoyed to the last drop!
First things first, this recipe is sponsored by Fisher Nuts whom I’ve been developing recipes for over the past couple of years. Their nuts are high quality, super fresh, preservative-free, and I especially love their pecans which give this sweet dessert a satisfying crunch amongst the gooey brownie, silky hot fudge, and fluffy whipped cream. Walnut turtles are also popular, but the creamy-soft chew of pecan turtles have always been my favorite.
Start the gluten-free brownie sundaes by making the gluten-free brownies. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. :) Here’s my secret to perfect gluten-free brownies…buy a mix. I know I might get a few comments about that but holy cow, they are so, so good. I’ve used both the brands in the photo below and they’re equally gooey, fudgy and lusciously chocolatey. I’d never know they were GF if I didn’t buy the box myself!
That said, make the brownies according to package directions (you’ll likely need an egg, oil and/or water,) then cool completely and slice into 3×3″ squares. You can make the brownies up to two days ahead of time but wait to slice until you’re ready to serve.
Brownies = done!
Next make the salted caramel for the salted caramel whipped cream. People – brace yourselves. This whipped cream is next level!! I love how it’s got a salty bite to cut through the richness of the dessert.
Start by combining 1/4 cup sugar, scant 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 Tablespoon water in a small saucepan. Stir gently to combine then turn the heat to medium and let the mixture bubble and turn caramel brown (be careful as it can burn shortly after turning caramel brown.) You don’t even need to stir during the cooking process. Just let the caramel do it’s thing – the color will tell you when it’s done!
Remove the caramel from the heat then slowly stream in 1 cup heavy whipping cream that’s been warmed to room temperature. If the caramel hardens when you add the cream, it just means the cream was too cold. Simply place the saucepan back over medium heat then stir until it melts again.
Carefully pour the salted caramel cream into a bowl over a larger bowl of ice then chill completely, stirring occasionally. You can do this up to two days ahead of time too. Just pop a lid on top and store in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to whip, place the salted caramel cream mixture into the chilled bowl of an electric mixer, or a large glass bowl if you’re using a hand-held mixer, then whip on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high then continue whipping until the cream can hold it’s shape, 2-3 minutes. Scoop the whipped cream into a large ZipLock bag then stash in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the desserts.
Salted Caramel Whipped Cream = done!
Finally, make the homemade hot fudge sauce. You could of course buy store-bought hot fudge sauce but making it homemade takes less than 10 minutes and it really does taste so much better. I don’t feel guilty about buying a store-bought brownie mix because I know it tastes better than anything I’d probably make at home – if nothing else, the chewy texture makes it a no-brainer – but homemade hot fudge sauce…there’s nothing better.
Simply combine 3oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan then bring to a bubble over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Turn the heat down to medium-low then whisk and cook for 3 minutes before stirring in 1-1/2 Tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla off the heat.
This can be done up to a week ahead of time. Pour the hot fudge sauce into a mason jar using a funnel then store in the refrigerator. To reheat, scoop a serving into a glass dish then microwave for 20-30 seconds.
Homemade hot fudge sauce = done!
Assembly time! Place two or three brownies into the bottom of a martini glass for a festive presentation, then snip the corner off the Ziplock bag with the Salted Caramel Whipped Cream and pipe into the glass. Drizzle with warm homemade hot fudge sauce then sprinkle on the crunchy whole pecans. Grab a spoon, and your date, and dig in!
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Gluten-Free Turtle Brownie Sundaes with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream and Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
Gluten-Free Turtle Brownie Sundaes with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream and Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce are decadent and over the top. Make-ahead, too!
- 1 box gluten-free brownie mix + ingredients called for on box
- 1/2 cup Fisher Nuts Whole Pecans
- For the Salted Caramel Whipped Cream:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon water
- scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
- For the Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce:
- 3oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Prepare brownie mix according to package directions then cool completely and slice into 3x3" squares. Can be done up to two days ahead of time (wait to slice until just before serving if making ahead of time.)
- For the Salted Caramel Whipped Cream: Add ice to a large, wide bowl then place a smaller bowl on top of the ice and set aside. Add sugar, water, and salt to a small saucepan then stir gently to combine and turn heat to medium. Cook without stirring until mixture turns caramel brown, 4-5 minutes (watch closely as mixture can burn quickly shortly after turning caramel brown,) then remove from heat, slowly stream in heavy whipping cream, and then stir to combine. If any caramel hardens, continue to cook and stir until it re-melts. Pour mixture into bowl set atop ice then chill completely, stirring occasionally. Can be done up to two days ahead of time, store salted caramel cream mixture in the refrigerator.
- Place the bowl of an electric mixer, or a large glass bowl if using a hand-held mixer, into the freezer for 10 minutes then add salted caramel cream to bowl and fit mixer with whipping attachment. Whip on low speed for 30 seconds then increase speed and whip until cream is thick and holds its shape, 1-2 minutes. Scoop into a large Ziplock bag then refrigerate until ready to assemble desserts.
- For the Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce: Add chocolate chips, heavy whipping cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt to a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat then whisk constantly until bubbling. Turn heat down to medium-low then continue cooking while whisking for 3 minutes, being careful of spatters. Remove pan from heat then stir in butter and vanilla.
- Cool hot fudge sauce slightly before using or pour into a jar with a tight fitting lid using a funnel then store in the refrigerator. Can be made up to a week ahead of time. Reheat hot fudge sauce in a small dish in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between intervals.
- Place brownie squares into martini glasses then snip the end off the Ziplock bag containing Salted Caramel Whipped Cream and pipe into glasses. Drizzle hot fudge sauce on top then sprinkle with pecans and serve.
- I have used both Trader Joe’s and Betty Crocker brand gluten-free brownie mixes in the past and love them both!
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Over the top in every decadent way possible. Enjoy this upgraded, super sweet and special treat!