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Mocha Brownie Trifle

At our house, this could also be Birthday Brownie Trifle. Or Heath Brownie Trifle. Or simply Amazing Brownie Trifle. Essentially it’s our gold standard by which all trifle is measured.

Brownie trifle with layers of brownie, chocolate pudding, whipped topping and toffee bits. Shown beside an overflowing vase of flowers and two porcelain bunnies.

Here’s the great thing about trifle. With very minimal effort, you get a gorgeous dessert that looks like you tried really hard! But no, it’s just brownie mix, pudding and whipped topping. You go, Gourmet Charlatan!

That said, your biggest committment here is your investment in a trifle dish and your ability to layer ingredients.

Packaging of ingredients used for brownie trifle: Hy-Vee light whipped topping, Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge brownie mix, Folgers instant coffee, Jello brand chocolate fudge pudding mix, Heath toffee bits

A Trifle Dish in Every Home

So if you never thought you needed a trifle dish, here’s why you might consider one:

Elegant, easy dessert. Bam!

side view of layers of Mocha Brownie Trifle

Now if you don’t need elegant, easy dessert in your house, but you’d still like to try this recipe, you can always make this into smaller parfaits. In which case you’d need some parfait glasses. Or you can use Mason jars. Or juice glasses, or even plastic Solo cups. I’ll talk more about these later.

Mine is just a basic, no-nonsence trifle dish. Here’s one from Walmart.

The Art of Layering

The secret to creating the pretty layers is to move from the middle of the dish outward. So for each layer, you will scoop or spoon the ingredient into the dish, avoiding contact with the edge of the trifle dish. Then you can gently spread your whipped topping or pudding toward the outer edge. Touching the glass with your spoon usually results in a smear so this is what you want to avoid. You’ll want to push or spread the pudding or whipped topping toward the edge using a small spoon like a bulldozer and then back up before you make contact.

The brownies and the toffee candy isn’t finicky. These you can just sprinkle evenly.

After you lay down a little chocolate pudding, you create three layers: brownie cubes, chocolate pudding, whipped topping, and toffee bits.

For my final layers, I like to pile them higher and not bring them to the edge of the glass.

top view of brownie trifle showing mounded whipped topping sprinkled with toffee bits

Let’s Make This Lower Fat

This recipe is not only handsome, effortness, and delectable, you can also make it fairly guilt-free! It’s so easy to make this into a lower fat recipe using light whipped topping, skim milk and a lower-fat recipe of brownies. Duncan Hines Brownie Mix (my preferred brownie mix BTW) used to share a lower-fat recipe on the back of the box. Kinda where you’d find the high altitude instructions. But it’s no longer there and a little tricky to find online so I thought I’d share it in its own separate post here.

I wouldn’t really recommend these so much by themselves, but you won’t miss the traditional brownies if you use them for Mocha Brownie Trifle. These use your regular brownie mix and are baked using egg, water and applesauce. Here’s what they look like from the pan.

side view of lower fat brownie. Shows short but gooey

As you can see, very flat. But they are also very gooey. And chocolatey. So they build a very successful, lower-fat trifle! I am never embarrassed to serve this lower-fat version to guests, and frankly, it’s hard to taste the difference in the completed brownie trifle.

For diet purposes, I’d love to be able to give you a side-by-side comparison of calories, sugars and fats between the regular and low-fat versions of Mocha Brownie Trifle, but I don’t trust my calorie calculator to be completely accurate when dealing with store mixes that can vary from brand to brand. But I did find a site that gives nutritional information for the lower-fat Duncan Hines brownies.

About Those Brownies

Of course, trifle is so adaptable! Any kind of brownies, from scratch to bakery will work just fine here!

Hooray for Trifle!

You won’t regret your trifle dish purchase because it allows you to make dessert ingredients into a beautiful feature dessert. Layer up those berries and pound cake! Let’s make strawberry shortcake in a trifle! So much room for creativity. I’m inspiring myself actually.

But Mocha Brownie Trifle is dear to our hearts because not every trifle contains chocolate. And if you share the opinion that dessert is essentially worthless without chocolate this may be the only trifle recipe you will ever need! My son loved it so much that he requested it several birthdays in a row. So many in a row that I stopped taking pictures of him with his birthday dessert.

I have these two pictures from 2014 and 2015, but there aren’t any from 2012 or 2016. I’m sure this Mocha Brownie Trifle has made an appearance at Mother’s Day once or twice. Because this recipe allows mom (me) to take a break and still have a dessert worthy of the celebration! You can see in one picture I substituted black raspberries for the toffee bits.

I Nearly Forgot, Solo Cups

So plastic Solo cups are what I recommend for serving this dessert. And no, this isn’t affliate marketing. They’re disposable so they match the “easy” of the Mocha Brownie Trifle. And they carry a “faux elegance” with their clear, tapered edges. Fun, fancy, and functional! We always use these to serve our brownie trifle. I can’t imagine anything else that would seem quite right.

cup of brownie trifle dished out in front of the trifle dish and a package of Solo cups
side view of layers of Mocha Brownie Trifle

Mocha Brownie Trifle

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling and Chilling: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Brownies make the chocolate lover's dream trifle! A touch of coffee flavor and crispy toffee bits add extra fun to the layers of brownies, chocolate pudding and whipped topping. Easy lower-fat options.

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. (18.3oz) Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. instant coffee crystals
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pkg. (5.9oz) chocolate fudge pudding mix (6 serving size)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8oz-10oz whipped topping
  • 6oz toffee bits

Instructions

  1. MIx together brownie mix with the eggs, water, instant coffee and oil.* Bake according to package directions.
  2. Prepare pudding mix with 3 cups of milk according to package directions. Chill until needed.
  3. After brownies cool, slice into 1-inch squares.
  4. Assemble the trifle: First spread 1/4 cup of pudding on the bottom of the trifle dish. Layer with 1/3 of brownies, 1/3 of the chocolate pudding, 1/3 of the whipped topping and 4-6 Tbsp. of toffee bits. Repeat layers twice.
  5. Chill for at least an hour. Chill until serving, up to 24 hours.

Notes

You can use an 8oz carton of whipped topping, but as pictured, I usually use more. Or use real whipped cream.

*For lower-fat brownies, mix brownie mix, 1 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. instant coffee powder and 1/3 cup of applesauce.

Will you be making this simple and stunning decadent dessert? Do you like the classic recipe or prefer the low-fat? It’s perfect for our spring holidays, Easter and Mother’s Day, coming right up.

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