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Crunchy Peanut Caramel Layered Brownies

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1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups Special Kay cereal
1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter

Crunchy Peanut Caramel Layered Brownies

The ultimate brownie mashup combines chewy and soft brownies with a rich and crisp peanut butter caramel layer and velvety smooth chocolate frosting.

  • Serves 24
  • Easy

About This Recipe

I love brownies in all forms. But I especially love them when they are layered with a fabulous filling and a creamy, rich frosting. My personal favorite flavor combination in a layered brownie is chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel. In this recipe: Crunchy Peanut Caramel Layered Brownies.

And it’s easy to make your own homemade peanut butter caramel. All you do is combine brown sugar and corn syrup and bring it to a boil. then add some peanut butter. That’s it!

For this fabulous recipe, I add crunchy cereal and chopped peanuts to the peanut butter caramel mixture (It’s the same mixture used to make Caramel Special K Bars!). And I use my best chocolate ganache to top the whole thing off – made with more peanut butter, of course!

Enjoy these fabulous Crunchy Peanut Caramel Layered Brownies with a tall cold glass of milk. Then sit back and enjoy the praise.

Tips for the best Crunchy Peanut Caramel Layered Brownies:

  • Measure the flour correctly or the brownies will be too dry. Spoon the flour lightly into the measuring cup and level off with the back of a knife. No matter what you might see on television cooking shows, never scoop the cup directly into the flour.
  • Don’t overbake the brownies. They should be baked just until they have a dry shiny crust. Overbaked brownies are vile.
  • These brownies do not have to cool before you add the topping. In fact, the topping, when added to warm brownies, keeps them moist.
  • You must use Special K cereal for the topping; other varieties of crisp cereal will not work.

Why this recipe works:

  • Saucepan brownies are much easier to make than brownies you make in a bowl. And the brownies themselves are creamier and more velvety because the sugar starts to melt before the batter goes into the oven.
  • Brown sugar makes the brownies moister.
  • Cocoa powder acts like a finely divided solid in this batter, which makes the finished product smoother.
  • The crunchy filling is added while the brownie is still warm so it adheres well.
  • And the frosting is my personal favorite. The peanut butter smooths out the chocolate and tempers its flavor. The frosting stays soft too.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13" x 9" pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour and set aside.


In a large saucepan, combine the butter with the granulated sugar and 1-1/4 cups brown sugar. Place the saucepan over medium low heat.


Add the cocoa powder and 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips. Melt all of the ingredients together, stirring frequently.


Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla.


Stir in the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the brownies are just set with a dry shiny crust. Place on a wire rack.


For the filling, combine 1 cup brown sugar and the corn syrup in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.


Boil this mixture, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and add 1 cup peanut butter, mixing until combined.


Add the cereal and peanuts. Carefully spoon this mixture over the brownie mixture and gently spread to coat.


Combine the 2 cups chocolate chips with 1/2 cup peanut butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until the chips are melted, then stir until smooth. Pour over the caramel layer and spread to coat. Let the brownies stand until cool, then cut into squares.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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