Caramel Brownie Bites – Pillsbury Bake Off Finalist!

Today I get to introduce you to my friend Marjean.  Marjean is a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake Off!  Yes – that famous baking/cooking competition.  That contest where the prize is one million dollars!!

Marjean leaves for Florida in a couple of days to compete with 99 other Pillsbury Bake Off finalists so I thought it would be fun to share with you the yummy recipe she will be competing with and give you an opportunity to send her lots of positive thoughts and good wishes.

Marjean is a sixth grade teacher here in the Portland area.  So what inspires someone to enter the Pillsbury Bake Off?  Marjean said she has always followed the competition and one Sunday morning woke up and saw a box of Pillsbury pie crust in her refrigerator that needed to be used and thought – Why not?  She also had a box of Pillsbury brownie mix so she started playing around and her Caramel Brownie Bites were born!

There was a lot of experimenting and baking that went into developing the recipe and a lot of sharing with her neighbors!  Fortunately she and her neighbor have a gate that goes through their fence so there was a lot of passing of treats through the fence!!  Lucky neighbors.  When I asked Marjean how many times she had made them her reply with a smile was “thousands!” I am sure she could do it in her sleep.

The rules are very specific for the bake off and she only has so much time to recreate her recipe in Florida.  She has to make it twice in the allotted time so she has everything timed down to the second.  She knows exactly how long it takes her to unwrap the package of caramels which is the first step.

The recipe is done in several steps and several of them can be done ahead of time if you are crunched for time.  The first step is to make the caramel filling which is a combination of caramels and cream and then melted in the microwave.

The next step is to mix up the brownie batter and then rolling out the pie dough.

Marjean uses her mini muffin tins to make the brownie caramel bites. I loved her little tart tool for getting the pie crust down into the muffin tin quick and easy.  Need to get me one of those!

The next step is to start filling the tarts.  The first layer is chopped pecans.

Then a scoop of caramel.

And a scoop of brownie batter.

Then they get popped into the oven to bake.

While they are baking you can make the chocolate ganache which goes on the top.  More chocolate and cream.

  Marjean had a great tip for after you pull them out of the oven and they are cooling.  She uses a knife to lift them up and turn them on their side so they cool nicer, quicker and the bottoms don’t get soggy.

She will then remove them from the tin and put them on a cooking rack.  If you are in a hurry you can pop them in the freezer to cool them quicker.

The next step, after they are cool,  is to give them a nice coating of chocolate ganache.

And then the finally touch is a drizzle of caramel.

Marjean just fills a plastic baggie with the melted caramel, snips off a corner of the bag and uses it to drizzle the caramel.

Aren’t they pretty and they are delicious too – take my word on it.  They tastes yummy warm and gooey out of the oven or after they have cooled and all the flavors have had a chance to meld together.  That’s Marjean’s favorite way to eat them.  Even after making the recipe over and over, I asked her if she still enjoyed eating them and she does!

So please leave a comment and wish Marjean good luck this weekend in Florida!!

Caramel Brownie Bites – Pillsbury Bake Off Finalist!

Caramel Brownie Bites – Pillsbury Bake Off Finalist!


  • 1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
  • 1/2 cup Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® Chopped Pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 box (15.9 oz) Pillsbury® Chocolate Extreme Premium Brownie Mix
  • 1/3 cup Crisco® Pure Canola Oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 LAND O LAKES® Egg
  • 2/3 cup Hershey's® semi-sweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup


  • In medium microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and 1/4 cup of the cream on High 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Cool 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, spray 36 mini muffin cups with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Unroll pie crusts; roll each into 13-inch round. Using 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut 18 rounds from each crust, rerolling dough if necessary. Gently press each round on bottom and up side of muffin cup. Spoon scant 1/2 teaspoon pecans in bottom of each cup. Spoon about 1 teaspoon caramel mixture over pecans in each cup (cup will be 1/2 full); reserve remaining caramel mixture.
  • Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir brownie mix (with syrup packet), oil, water and egg 50 strokes with spoon. Spoon 1 level tablespoon brownie batter into each cup.
  • Bake 18 to 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted into edge of brownie comes out clean. Cool in pans on cooling racks 10 minutes. Run knife around edges of cups to loosen; carefully remove from cups. Place on cooking racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, to make ganache glaze, in small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 1/4 cup cream and chocolate chips on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Stir in corn syrup until blended. Spoon ganache over each brownie. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until ganache is set.
  • Microwave reserved caramel mixture on High 20 to 30 seconds if necessary for drizzling consistency. Drizzle each brownie with about 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.
  • Recipe fromPillsbury Bake Off Competition 2012


  1. 1
    Donna says:

    Wow! That is so exciting. Good luck Marjean. Your recipe looks awesome.
    Thanks Leigh Anne for sharing.

  2. 2
    Ruth says:

    Wow! That is great Marjean! I wish you the best. Those look like million-dollar brownie bites!
    Ruth recently posted..Another Step Forward

  3. 3
    Corrin says:

    I love Marjean! She is an amazing teacher, fantastic mother and spectacular brownie maker. Her brownies are delicious! Good luck my friend!

  4. 4
    Liz says:

    Good luck to Marjean! I’d vote for these!
    Liz recently posted..Triple Layer Chocolate Cake~

  5. 5
    Denise says:

    These look amazing ! Good luck. I would vote for these- no doubt ! What size cookie cutter is she using?

  6. 6

    Didn’t expect to see the recipe at the bottom of the post – after all it’s a competition recipe. This one looks like a winner! good luck Marjean
    Heather @ new house, new home, new life recently posted..Spring!!

  7. 7
    Jessica J says:

    Yum! I’ve got some pie crust in the freezer I now have an idea of what to do with!
    Jessica J recently posted..Shrimp Penne

  8. 8
    Marci Olson says:

    I hope that your friend does really well. The recipe sure looks like a winner to me! :)

  9. 9
    Lisa says:

    Good Luck . . . You go girl:0)

  10. 10
    Tasha says:

    ooooh those look so yummy! I think I’ll try it with graham cracker crumbs instead of pecans, cuz my family hates nuts. Good Luck, Marjean! I would definitely pick these as the winner. and I can’t wait to try them!
    Tasha recently posted..Opinions, please

  11. 11
    Anne-Marie says:

    Good luck Marjean! Three of my favorite things…chocolate, caramel, and nuts. YUM!

  12. 12
    Candace G Hsiao says:

    Love you Marjean. Good luck! Your brownie bites are simply delicious!

  13. 13
    Robyn Neville says:

    ummm, mmm mmm good! Best wishes Marjean, if nothing else, what a great experience!

  14. 14
    Shellie Smith says:

    I wish you all the luck Marjean! I found this via. Pinterest and can’t wait to make some. I just hope that mine taste as good as yours.

  15. 15
    Maggie Grande says:

    Good Luck Marjean! These look delicious! I “stumbled upon” this recipe and will definitely try it!

  16. 16
    Heidi says:

    FUN! I had such a great time when I went to the Bakeoff a few years ago. Best of luck to Marjean!
    Heidi recently posted..My daddy-o’s birthday

  17. 17
    Vedette says:

    Thanks for this great recipe. Now I will have a new weekend project for my kids.

  18. 18

    These look delicious! Thank you for the recipe! :D

  19. 19
    Erin @ Making Memories says:

    Oh my gosh! YUM! And how cool is that?!?! I’d vote for them!!!

  20. 20
    Deb Bee says:

    Good luck Marjean. I hope you win and they really look yummy and I wish I had a couple right now. LOL
    Deb Bee recently posted..Paris Earrings

  21. 21
    KathyB says:

    They look divine. I can’t wait to try them on my Bunco Group. Carmel & chocolate are always a winning combination. Good Luck in Florida.
    KathyB recently posted..Host a Virtual Celebration

  22. 22
    SandyE says:

    They look amazing! I can’t wait to try them. Good luck in Florida, Marjean!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge