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Brownie Trifle

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Looking for a rich, impressive dessert that’s still easy to make? Look no further than this brownie trifle! Layers of fudgy brownies, chocolatey filling, whipped topping, and toffee bits combine for a beautiful and delicious trifle.

Trifle dish filled with brownie trifle set on a marble countertop.

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I know that summer desserts are usually all about the fruit.

And like, that makes total sense. Seasonal eating and all.

But sometimes, I still just really crave some chocolate, whether it’s my favorite chocolate chip cookies or the best chocolate cake.

This brownie trifle is somehow the best of both worlds. Rich and chocolatey, yet still light and cool and creamy – perfect for summer! This is one that is going to end up on repeat here.

Brownie trifle ingredients arranged on a marble countertop.

WHAT IS A TRIFLE?

If you’ve ever watched Friends then you’re probably familiar with the infamous trifle episode, but do you actually know what a trifle is?

A trifle is a British dessert, traditionally made from sponge cake layered with jelly, custard, or cream. There is also often some kind of fruit element, either in the form of fresh fruit or the jelly.

I love taking the traditional trifle and putting twists on it. I’ve made pumpkin trifles with my pumpkin bread, ambrosia trifles with angel food cake and ambrosia salad, and even s’mores trifles.

Overhead view of baked brownies in a 13x9-inch pan.

This brownie trifle is the latest addition to that collection. I layered fudgy brownies with a simple chocolate cream and added milk chocolate toffee bits for a bit of crunchy texture.

Like all trifles, this one looks so beautiful and will absolutely impress your guests, but is actually deceptively easy to make.

Brownie cubes in the bottom of a glass trifle dish.

HOW TO MAKE THIS BROWNIE TRIFLE

Once you see how easy this recipe is to make, you might just find yourself making trifles all of the time!

Brownie trifle ingredients

I use what I consider to be several “shortcut” ingredients in this recipe. Don’t worry, though – no one will guess that you didn’t make everything from scratch!

This recipe is made up of 4 main components:

  • Brownie layer: You could use your favorite fudgy brownie recipe, but I take a cue from my salted caramel brownies and use 2 Ghirardelli brownie mixes and make them according to the box instructions. I think the Ghirardelli brownie mixes are pretty hard to beat when it comes to flavor and texture!
  • Chocolate cream layer: For this, we’ll use a combination of instant chocolate pudding mix, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and thawed Cool Whip.
  • Whipped topping layer: We’ll use a bit more Cool Whip on its own to balance out the richness of the brownies and the chocolate cream.
  • Crunchy topping: I adore the Heath Milk Chocolate English Toffee Bits. I could honestly eat a whole bag on their own! They pair perfectly with the rich brownies and cream layers to add some texture and extra flavor.

If you can’t find or don’t care for Ghirardelli brownie mixes, you can use another brand of brownie mix or homemade brownies. But I’ll stick with the Ghirardelli mixes, personally!

Brownie pieces and chocolate cream layered in a trifle dish.

Tools you’ll need

The most specific thing you’ll need for this recipe is a trifle dish to assemble it in. The straight sides of a glass trifle dish are what make this dessert look so impressive!

If you don’t have a trifle dish, you can use a large glass bowl. It’ll still taste great! Try to use one in the 3-quart range.

Layer of whipped topping on top of brownie and chocolate cream in a trifle dish.

Making and layering this recipe

The first thing you’ll want to do is make the brownie mixes according to the package directions, baking them in a 13×9-inch pan. 

Let the brownies cool completely and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Depending on the exact size of your trifle dish, you may end up with some brownie pieces leftover after layering everything together. Lucky for you, they are great for snacking on!

Next you’ll make the chocolate cream. Combine the chocolate pudding mix, the whole milk, and the sweetened condensed milk, then fold in one of the containers of whipped topping.

Close up of layers of brownie trifle in a glass trifle dish.

Now it’s time to layer your brownie trifle!

Place half of the brownie pieces in the bottom of the trifle dish. Layer on half of the chocolate cream, ⅓ of the toffee bits, and half of the remaining whipped topping. Repeat the layers, ending with the last ⅓ of the toffee bits on top. 

Cover and chill the trifle for 3-4 hours before serving.

Small white bowl filled with brownie trifle set in front of a trifle dish.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS

Since this brownie trifle needs to chill for at least 3-4 hours, it’s the perfect make-ahead dessert for a party or potluck.

You could easily make this early in the morning of a gathering or even the night before. I would hold off on adding the toffee bits to the top until just before the party if you plan to make it more than 3-4 hours ahead of time.

You could also prep the components ahead of time and then assemble the trifle the day of the event.

Glass trifle dish filled with brownie trifle topped with whipped topping and toffee bits.

Bake the brownies; let them cool, then cover them and keep them at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Mix together the chocolate cream; place it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days. 

When you’re ready to assemble, it’ll be a quick job to cut the brownies and layer the trifle before letting it chill.

Give this brownie trifle a try this summer. It may just become your new summer favorite!

Close up of a serving of brownie trifle in a small bowl.
Brownie trifle layered in a trifle dish, set on a marble countertop.

Brownie Trifle

Yield: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Chilling Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Looking for a rich, impressive dessert that’s still easy to make? Look no further than this brownie trifle! Layers of fudgy brownies, chocolatey filling, whipped topping, and toffee bits combine for a beautiful and delicious trifle.

Ingredients

  • 2 (18-ounce) Ghirardelli Brownie Mixes plus the ingredients to make the brownies: eggs, water and vegetable oil
  • 1 (3.9-ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • ⅔ cups whole milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 (8-ounce) containers frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag Heath Milk Chocolate English Toffee Bits

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an inch or two of overhang on the short sides of the pan to use as "handles" to lift the brownies out of the pan once cooled. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Prepare brownie mixes according to package directions and pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake the brownies for 45 minutes and cool completely. Once the brownies are cool, cut into 1-inch squares. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, whole milk and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain.
  4. In a trifle bowl or large glass bowl, place half of the brownies into the bottom of the serving dish. Layer half of the pudding mixture directly onto the brownies and follow with ⅓ of the bag of toffee bits. Next, add half of the remaining container of whipped topping. Repeat layers. Top with remaining ⅓ of toffee bits. Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours before serving.

Notes

Depending on the size of your serving dish, you may have extra brownie squares which is no big deal because they’re perfect for snacking!

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Did you make this recipe?

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Denise Gentile

Wednesday 29th of June 2022

It looks delicious! I can’t wait to make the trifle! Do you bake the brownies in two pans? Or, do you combine the brownie mixes and bake in one pan. Thank you for your help.

Jham

Friday 3rd of June 2022

Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe, i'm glad to found this Brownie trifle recipe, just right before my sisters birthday i will make this brownie trifle on her birthday hope she likes it. I am looking forward to see more such type of recipes.

Jamie

Friday 3rd of June 2022

I hope she enjoys it! Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy baking! -Jamie

klayde marie

Wednesday 1st of June 2022

oh! i want to try this recipe for my mom's birthday love it!

Jamie

Thursday 2nd of June 2022

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Happy baking! -Jamie

Carmen

Tuesday 31st of May 2022

This recipe looks so delicious, perfect for Father's Day. Thanks so much for sharing!

Jamie

Wednesday 1st of June 2022

It would be a perfect Father's Day dessert! Thanks so much for stopping by, happy baking! -Jamie

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