Make it Naked

Coconut Caramel Brownies

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Make It Naked is all about going seasonal and although I’ve seen a lot of recipes using citrus and winter greens making their way across the internet lately – it’s brownie season folks. Rich, chocolately, decadent brownies are at their peak and need to be eaten.

Aside from keeping it seasonal, there were several other reasons the timing of this recipe felt right. Reasons that I know have crossed your minds:

  1. Krissy, only 5 of your 21 posts include chocolate. That’s less than 25%. I thought you were an engineer. Those are horrible numbers.
  2. Valentine’s day is coming! I love Valentine’s day! I need something I can cut into heart-shaped, bite-sized portions, preferably chocolate.
  3. Valentine’s day is coming! I hate Valentine’s day! I need something to settle my nausea from all the gross PDA and horribly clichéd jewelry commercials, preferably chocolate.
  4. It’s Girl Scout Cookie season. I love Girl Scout Cookies! But wait, the Girl Scouts forgot to mention that the second ingredient is partially hydrogenated oil. Help. I really like the purple kind – with the coconut.
  5. Only 5 of your 21 posts include chocolate. Really, fix that.

I hear what you’re saying and I’m on it. On it like caramel on brownies.

This recipe is something I worked up in my head and worked out in the kitchen with three cookbooks and dangerous amounts of chocolate and caramel. The result is dense, fudgey, chocolate brownies under a thin layer of sweet coconut caramel. The brownie is pure chocolate heaven, and the caramel is amazingly simple. Just stand there and watch as sugar transforms into your newest warm, spoonable addiction. Stir in the coconut and really, it should be illegal.

Caramel Progression

These brownies could stand alone without the topping, but if February 14th happens to also be your husband’s birthday, I highly recommend pouring on the caramel. It’s double the deliciousness for a double celebration. On second thought, pour it on regardless. Do it up. It is brownie season after all.

Someone couldn’t wait.

Coconut Caramel Brownies (recipe adapted from Baker’s one bowl brownie recipe; Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours; and Williams-Sonoma Cookies) For the Brownies Ingredients: 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks), cut into pieces 2 cups granulated sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 3 eggs 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13×9 baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a med-large sauce pan, melt both chocolates and butter on med-low heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Once the mixture is smooth, remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each
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    addition. The mixture will start getting thick at this point.

  5. Stir in the flour and salt until well combined.
  6. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the Coconut Caramel Ingredients: 1 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon butter pinch of kosher salt 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the sugar and water. Stir occasionally. Watch closely and let the sugar liquefy and turn an amber/brown color. This will take a few minutes, but once the color starts to turn a light brown it will quickly turn to a deeper brown, so watch very closely at that point. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the salt, cream and butter, and be careful of splattering when adding the cream. Stir constantly until smooth.
  3. Stir in the coconut.
  4. Pour onto cooled brownies while caramel is still warm.

For the Chocolate Drizzle Ingredients: 2 ounces semisweet chocolate 1 teaspoon canola oil Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan, microwave, or double boiler, add the chocolate and oil and slowly melt over low heat while stirring frequently to avoid burning.
  2. Using a spoon, a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner tip cut off, drizzle the chocolate over the caramel layer.


  1. Allow the caramel to firm up a bit for a clean cut brownie. You can cut and serve when the caramel is hot, it will just be melty and gooey – which is really NOT a bad thing.
  2. As I mentioned, the brownies can stand alone. As can the caramel. Save any extra caramel as a topping for ice cream or fruit. Just reheat.
  3. Don’t like coconut? Leave it out. It’s that easy. Like coconut? Here’s more.
  4. Nuts. Nuts and brownies are always controversial. If I tell you something, can we still be friends? I hate nuts in my brownies. But, please, go ahead and add nuts to the brownie and/or the caramel. I’ll believe you when you tell me it’s delicious.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


49 thoughts on “Coconut Caramel Brownies

  1. Hey Krissy!! This brownie looks delicioussss! And why not indulge in such decadence when you run for hours and hours on the treadmill! Haha :) I really wanna try this recipe.. Looks amazing. Come by my blog too! Tho I really need to update it… I’ve been slacking like crazy. Hope to see u at the gym soon!

    • I’ll see you at the gym often because I can’t stop eating these. Thanks for finding me and commenting! Great to meet you the other day. We’ll have to run again soon!

  2. Just ate one for dinner. Ok, it wasn’t one. It was two. Holy Moly! Best brownie I ever ate!! Good job Krissy!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow these look amazing. My husband’s birthday is 3 days after Valentines day so I’d say that calls for some caramel :)

    I just saw your comment on Erin’s post. I’ve been to Ireland twice and we rented a car and went around both times. I highly recommend spending a little time in Dublin because that’s a lot of fun. Other places I went were Killarney, Ardmore, Killkenny, Dingle Peninsula, Kenmare, and the Cliffs of Moher. You have to do the Cliffs, and Dingle Peninsula is a cool experience too (it’s similar to the Ring of Kerry but takes less time to do). I really like Kenmare too, maybe even more than Killarney and both are a good base for exploring the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula. I also really liked Ardmore- we stopped there randomly because we noticed the views were really nice from the road. It’s a little seaside town and it’s really pretty- that southeastern coast of Ireland could be mistaken for the Carribean, it’s amazing.

    Let me know if you have any other questions :)

  4. I made these yesterday. The brownies are amazing! They taste like (totally safe to eat) brownie batter and the coconut caramel takes them out of this world.

    I will share that I failed the first two times that I made the caramel. The first time I ended up with granulated sugar. The second time with sugar cubes in a light amber goo. The third time did the trick with a nonstick pan and higher heat.
    Nom nom!

    • Thanks for sharing! Glad you liked them. I used a non-stick pan to make the caramel – maybe I should have mentioned that? I now want to try it in a non non-stick and note the differences. I’m intrigued. Plus – I love an excuse to HAVE to make caramel :)

  5. It’s official, I was talking to granny on Monday night and decided that you and Kate should have a cooking show about cooking/baking sisters. You two are so great with the details and such. It all looks so wonderful. Granny and I on the other hand are very basic. But we are okay with that! Love you Cuz!

  6. Just found your site thru…and I love it! Tasty recipes plus humor is my favorite kinda blog :) I too am an engineering-trained baker…i.e. the best kind of baker (and engineer)!

    • Thanks Amy! I think engineering makes me love baking bc I’m a dork and love the science behind it all – I’m just lucky most of it tastes good when I’m done. Really though – how much more interesting would Chemistry have been had it been about making cookies?

  7. I made these a couple of days ago and had the same problem as Randi Voss. I had dinner guests coming over so I didn’t have time to start over and ended up spreading the white mixture over the brownies. They ended up tasting like Mounds brownies – so good! I definitely want to make these again but get the caramelization right. I used a non-stick pan, so I’m thinking I had it at too high of a temperature and the water evaporated too quickly.

  8. Hi Krissy! For sure this is a tasty recipe! Just made the brownies last night since all week we have been surrounded by girl scout cookies and I just.couldn’! The brownie part wasy easy-peasy, but I also had two failed attempts at making the caramel. First one I dumped b/c I thought it was the non-stick pan interfering. Second one got almost to crystallized stage, but I dumped in butter/cream anyways and got a sweet, sticky, gooey mess that STILL tasted good. Now that I have an entire box of cake flour, I too will be remaking these. Would love a re-post/update on your caramel process, if availble. Thanks and am now going to try the lima beans! Keep up the great recipes!

    • Hi Julie! I’m happy you enjoyed the brownies and I’m sorry for your caramel troubles. I think patience is key when making caramel. Once you stir the water and sugar together it will take a while for the mixture to start to change color. It will get white and bubbly but then it will eventually get some color. Once it’s a light amber color remove it from the heat and add the salt, butter and cream and stir constantly. It will actually be a gooey mess that you described- just keep stirring. It should get smooth and you can add the coconut. Hope this helps.

    • I used a non stick pan and got cristallized sugar the first time as well. So frustrating. The second time I followed the recipe and instructions exactly and what do you know… It worked. (Did I mention I didn’t measure the first caramel attempt? My bad.) 2nd attempt=Pure tasty deliciousness. Om nom nom. The pound and half I gained was totally worth it.

  9. These are some mind blowin’ brownies! Thank you for sharing!

    I too will share: Making caramel is haaard! 1st try ended up back in it’s original form…granulated sugar. Error: I stirred that batch constantly from the start. I believe that whipped too much air into it or something. Dunno for sure…I’m not an engineer!

    My 2nd batch was BANGIN’!!! I mixed it together then left it alone (super minimal stirring). The hard part was knowing when it was brown enough to add the cream. When you think it might be done, let it go another 5+ minutes. I learned this when my 3rd batch ended up a Mounds Bar like someone else posted. I took it off when it was only light brown and it ended up a sugary coconut mix, not caramel…but still good.

    I WILL dominate this recipe!…4th attempt coming soon!

    • Thanks Sunni! Yes – you’re right. No need to stir. Just let it do its thing. As for timing, I used color as my indicator instead of the clock and was hoping the pictures above would show what it should look like before adding the cream. Next time I make these I will time it to let everyone know. Here David Lebovitz talks about making dry caramel similar to above just without the water. But he’s got more pictures and helpful hints and also links to his ten tips for making caramel (see #5). He doesn’t include times either – just color. So I’ll be sure to update with time whenever I make these again.

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  14. Hi,

    Looking forward to making these! Just curious about the difference for all purpose flour vs cake flour? In the past I have always made brownies with the regular all purpose flour.


    • You can totally use all purpose. Just use one cup and ditch the extra 2 tablespoons. I used to LOVE baking with cake flour bc it has less gluten and I liked the texture (softer/lighter) of my baked goods better than all-purpose. Ironically, I’m gluten free now. Ha.

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Posted on February 12, 2011

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