I have one very distinct memory of the end of summer.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle I howsweeteats.com

We were at a neighbors house – specifically in their pool – which was awesome because we didn’t have a pool and I’d jump at any chance to swim. Lots of people were there, lots of kids, my brothers, neighborhood friends, tons of food and a particular plate of chocolate chip cookies that I was doing a number on.

But then it started to get dark. And sort of late. So I got out of the pool. Ran home. Got a shower. And I got in bed. My parents didn’t tell me to. My brothers didn’t follow. And all this time… it was still actually light out. I was such a high-strung, type-A nutjob that even in middle school, I had to run home and ease myself into my 9PM bedtime because I was a massive dork. Ugh! You’re killin’ me smalls. I actually remember lying in my bed with the lights out that night, the tiniest bit of sunlight peeking through the window… and tons of shrills and screams from the kids who were still outside having a blast soaking up every last summery drop, and who consequently had to be dragged home by their parents, kicking and screaming because they were… normal.


As a side note, I should mention that this was probably the night before a really important morning – which included shaving my legs for the first time after my mom made it clear that I wasn’t allowed. HA! I showed her. I woke up super early after carefully planning my mission for two weeks because there was no way I was headed to that first day of school with hairy legs. I was wearing an acid wash jean skirt FYI… and I definitely wore it with Samba soccer shoes. And I never played soccer, ever. Somehow, this made me as cool as Kelly Taylor, and I was fully convinced I’d find my own Dylan (sideburns included) in a getup as such.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle I howsweeteats.com

Don’t worry. I’ve lightened up some. I go to bed around 10PM now, and I’m certainly not anywhere near as type-A as I was, but that’s only because I’ve been forced to change. Trust me. If there were two of us that type-A in this house? No one would make it out alive. Plus, being type-B, or in my case, type-Z, or whatever you’d like to call it is an excellent excuse for leaving your clothes all over the floor for two whole weeks. Which is definitely… not… where… mine… are.


So do you want to hear about this mess in a dish? Because I didn’t really have intentions of sharing even though I nearly did a swan dive off my dining room table into the whipped cream.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle I howsweeteats.com

My mom used to make the best trifle when I was younger. It was filled with pound cake cubes, layers of a creamy vanilla custard-like pudding and tons of sugary berries and fruit. I haven’t thought about it in years, but when I was in dire need of a dessert for Labor Day festivities, many Facebook friends suggested a trifle of some sort.


I thought about it.

Actually, all I could think of was chocolate and peanut butter. I don’t know why. It’s just on my brain most days. But when I added “trifle” to those thoughts, good things started blooming. Sure enough, the only way a trifle was happening was if it consisted of piles of those two ingredients. I have to be in “a mood” to have fruit for dessert, and Sunday was not one of those days. Bring on the fudge.

Here’s the deal. Since you’re going to sandwich squares of fudgy brownies between a make-shift peanut butter mousse, I’m telling you to use store-bought things. Of course, you can make your own brownies if you’d like to. But on the last day of summer, creaming and beating butter and sugar for a homemade brownie that was essentially being mashed into a bowl of goop? Not my idea of fun. I did make my own whipped cream, but that’s simply because I had a pint of cream that was ready to go meet Jesus. Otherwise… do your thing: boxed brownies, creamy peanut butter, instant pudding and a big ol’ tub of cool whip. A few bites of this stuff won’t kill you folks. It was the epicenter of the 1990s.

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle I howsweeteats.com

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle

1 batch of your favorite brownies, boxed or from scratch, cooled and cut into cubes

1 large box (5-ounce) of instant chocolate pudding, prepared and chilled (this will most likely call for 3 cups of milk, nothing else)

1 bag of peanut butter cups, chopped (I used Dove chocolate peanut butter Promises)

2 cups heavy cream

3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on your desired level of sweetness

1 cup of creamy peanut butter

1 cup of powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

8 ounces of whipped cream cheese, at room temperature

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat heavy cream and sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to an separate bowl and stick in the fridge until ready to use. I did not even clean the bowl of my electric mixer and just began mixing the peanut butter mixture.

Add the peanut butter and cream cheese to the bowl and beat at medium speed, scraping down the sides a few times until mixture is creamy. Add in powdered sugar and mix until combined, then mix in 2 tablespoons of milk. Remove the whipped cream from the fridge and add 1 cup of it to the peanut butter, folding it in until the mixture turns lighter in color and is mostly combined.

Grab your trifle dish and begin to layer your ingredients however you’d like. I did a layer of brownies, then peanut butter, then a handful of chopped peanut butter cups, chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and so on. I repeated it until I got to the top, then piped the remaining whipped cream on top and sprinkled the candy on. You really can’t go wrong with layering – just use a long spoon to serve!

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle I howsweeteats.com

Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have some real food for you to eat around this joint. Unless you want to survive on trifle. I totally can.

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246 Responses to “Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle.”

  1. #
    Erika - The Teenage Taste — September 7, 2011 @ 7:01 am

    This. Looks. Amazing! I could totally demolish this. It has all the major food groups too – chocolate, peanut butter, and whipped cream! :-D


  2. #
    Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles — September 7, 2011 @ 7:02 am

    I’m going to shut this page now…. It is the best thing for everyone involved. …..AKA- my hips! ;0
    Acid wash gene skirt! Too cool!


  3. #
    Kathryn — September 7, 2011 @ 7:02 am

    I think I could definitely survive on that trifle as well. In fact, I know I could. Who needs ‘real food’ when you have something as wonderful as this?!


  4. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — September 7, 2011 @ 7:02 am

    Wow..this looks slightly rich :)

    Peanut butter, cream cheese, powdered & white sugar, pudding, milk AND cream, PB cups…ummm….yeah :) Fat free, right!

    Love the trip down memory lane from your childhood & this recipe!


  5. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — September 7, 2011 @ 7:02 am

    My mom wouldn’t let me shave my legs until I was 12 and it was painful. Not for anyone else looking at me because I had blonde hair, but for real – all I wanted to do was shave my freaking legs. So I shaved my pits instead without her knowing. I showed her? No, I showed myself that I’m a pansy and a rule follower.


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:19 am

      Trust me… shaving my legs was the most rebellious thing I ever did. Still.


  6. #
    Sanjeeta kk — September 7, 2011 @ 7:11 am

    How gorgoeus the trifle look..rich and exotic!


  7. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — September 7, 2011 @ 7:11 am

    Oh my gosh this looks so dangerous! I love how you turned your mom’s fruit version into THIS! Haha looks amazing!


  8. #
    Kim in MD — September 7, 2011 @ 7:28 am

    You crack me up, Jessica! Thanks for the laughs this morning! The trifle looks incredible- the addition of the peanut butter blow my brownie trifle out of the water! I am SO making this! :-)


  9. #
    michelle — September 7, 2011 @ 7:34 am

    on this rainy Wednesday… I’m in..


  10. #
    Blog is the New Black — September 7, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    This looks DECADENT! I can’t rem the last time I made a trifle… I think I did a tiramisu… must make trifle!


  11. #
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) — September 7, 2011 @ 7:45 am

    Trifles are really kind of the answer to anything sweet. I completely forgot about that option! We used to do one that we soaked the chocolate cake in Kahlua. I haven’t done that in forever…now I know what I need to make! Yours looks amazingly delicious!


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:18 am

      I think my mom might have made one like that too… oh dear… yum.


  12. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — September 7, 2011 @ 7:48 am

    Ooooooh my goodness, this is a thing of beauty!! I’d love to go back to bed right now and dream of all things peanut butter and chocolate and whipped cream…. or I could just make this instead. I am assuming that the girl wearing the acid wash jean skirt was also holding a stack of Lisa Frank notebooks? ;)


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:18 am

      Obviously. :)


  13. #
    Holly @ The Runny Egg — September 7, 2011 @ 7:49 am

    I think we all were searching for our own Dylan – I wonder if anyone ever found someone close???

    Boxed mixes — heck yes! So much easier.


  14. #
    Julia — September 7, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    This looks amazing! Trifles are one of those desserts I never think to make, but seeing recipes like this makes me wonder why!


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:17 am

      I am the same way. I always forget about them.


  15. #
    Kelly — September 7, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    I love trifles…my favorite one is a gingerbread pumpkin one I always make at Christmas.


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:17 am

      I need that in my life.


  16. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — September 7, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    I’m kind of in love with this. I have a weakness for trifles and chocolate and peanut butter… I’d stand no chance!

    Pretty sure I was just as big of a dork. I still remember my mom telling me I couldn’t shave my legs and shouldn’t because then I’d never be able to stop. Now I’d rather not have to ha.


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:17 am



  17. #
    Karly — September 7, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    I’m not sure what I love most about this: Picturing you running all the way home, into the shower, and hopping into bed just as quick as you can because it’s TIME FOR BED. Or imagining you standing on the dining room table, trifle on the floor, and you diving in face first. Or maybe it’s just this recipe. Hard to say.


  18. #
    Barbara — September 7, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    I felt my hips spread just looking at the picts, but no matter, I’m confident I’ll make it fat free LOL!
    Not! I like the whole trifle concept. I had a mess up on one of my cakes during Christmas so I reinvented the crumbs..it was a hit. I’m planing on doing it on purpose for the Holidays..I have all types of ideas up my sleeves.
    I especially love what you created. LOVE IT


  19. #
    Jen @ keepitsimplefoods — September 7, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    Amazing! This would be such a show stopper at a dinner party!


  20. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — September 7, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    i want to nosedive right into that bowl. like yesterday :)


  21. #
    Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice — September 7, 2011 @ 8:05 am

    First time here, and after this recipe I am here to stay! This looks sinfully good.


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:16 am

      Thanks and welcome!


  22. #
    Caroline @ chocolate & carrots — September 7, 2011 @ 8:14 am

    I’m totally type-A too. I was much worse before I was married, but now I give in a little. :-) This looks great! The perfect end to summer.


  23. #
    Elysha — September 7, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    I don’t even know what to say. I may be brave enough to haul my three young children to the grocery store by myself this morning to get all the ingredients to make this, because I need it. Like, for breakfast.

    My cousin and I were told explicitly not to shave our legs, but we locked ourselves in the bathroom together at ages 12 and 11 and used my Dad’s razors to shave not only our legs, but our arms too. There was no way I was going to 8th grade that fall with hairy legs!


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:16 am

      I think you’re my soul mate… haha.


  24. #
    Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen — September 7, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    Ohh my God – this is so dangerous first thing in the morning! Looks divine.


  25. #
    VeggieGirl — September 7, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    Peanut butter & chocolate are wonderful things to think about – here’s to brownie trifle goodness! :)


  26. #
    Sadie — September 7, 2011 @ 8:26 am

    oh.my.god this looks amazing. I must make this ASAP (and eat the entire thing myself. and love it)


  27. #
    Taylor — September 7, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    I was totally a type A kid too….book worm, too much of a wuss to do anything crazy, in bed before my parents told me to. Now, not so much. Except I guess I’m still a wuss. The craziest thing I do is make outrageous desserts….this one is up next!!


  28. #
    Christine — September 7, 2011 @ 8:40 am

    Oh, my. I have some chocolate chocolate-chip cupcakes in my freezer that turned out delicious but way to crumbly to frost. I think I might know what to so with them now… Thanks for the inspiration!


  29. #
    Cami — September 7, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    Oh, the sadness of living in a country where peanut butter is not readily available! :( Whenever I get my hand on some I am definitely trying this recipe!


  30. #
    The Blue-Eyed Bakers — September 7, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    Oh for the love. This is so right up our alley…and in a trifle dish no less?! So fancy. We want this. We want this now.


  31. #
    sherri lynn @ life of a wife — September 7, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    Yes this is exactly the kind of trifle I’ve been looking for! I’ve been craving peanut butter pie – this will be perfect!


  32. #
    Jihane @Sinful Sundays — September 7, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    That is my kind of dessert. I fricking love trifles and that one looks delish!

    SN: I wasn’t allowed to relax my hair, pluck my bushy brows, paint my nails, or do anything like that until I was 15! Yet, when I “accidentally” shaved/Nair’ed my legs for the first time when I was 11, my mom was okay with it…ridic, lol


  33. #
    Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance — September 7, 2011 @ 9:00 am

    The only trifle I’ve ever had was made of pumpkin & it was heart-warming. However, I feel that this one will take the cake!


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:15 am

      I think I need a pumpkin one though.


      • Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:30 am

        If you make a pumpkin trifle recipe I will most likely make it every day of my life. JUST WARNING YOU

  34. #
    Jodi @ Southern Flavored Life — September 7, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    I think my Mom was letting me go to the tanning bed at 10! Ha; it’s a wonder that I’m still alive. Perfect dessert recipe for the dwindling few days of warm weather!


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:14 am

      Oh man, I had to BEG my mom to let me go tanning for my senior prom at age 18!


  35. #
    Claire — September 7, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    Wow. That looks amazing, definitely going to make that as soon as I get my hands on a trifle dish!!


  36. #
    Gen — September 7, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    This looks incredible!!! I absolutely need this pretty much right now! :D


  37. #
    heather — September 7, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    Gah! Can I please take a swim in that bowl of trifle?! I could drown and die happy.


  38. #
    Melissa — September 7, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    I am convinced we are the same person. Totally would have been right there with you on the bedtime. And if I couldn’t sleep, I would count down the number of hours until I had to be up. Oh, it was a wicked wicked game. I was never cool enough to have Sambas though. In fact, I glued the blue Keds label back onto my $25 Keds when it came off, and then onto my $12 Mervyns (did they ever have Mervyns in Pittsburgh??) knockoffs when the Keds had to be replaced. *Sigh* I was not cool.


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:14 am

      OMG, if I couldn’t sleep, the anxiety would set in and I’d start to FLIP OUT!


  39. #
    Lisa @ Life in Green — September 7, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Nice. It’s my birthday today – think you could plunk some candles in it and send it my way? Thanks!


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:13 am

      Happy birthday!! :)


  40. #
    brandi — September 7, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    i love trifles. such a mess, but so fun :)


  41. #
    Erica — September 7, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    This is just gorgeous. I want to take a spoon to my computer screen! I am still crazy type a ;). And i totally remember shaving my legs for the first time and freaking out because they felt so weird haha


  42. #
    Deborah — September 7, 2011 @ 9:40 am

    I’ve made a brownie trifle before that was amazing, and this kind of reminds me of it. This sounds like the perfect end of summer dessert!


  43. #
    Meredith @ food, shoes, and booze — September 7, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    yup all my favorite things in a bowl. I make a similar mess but with chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and heath bars. Mine never looks as pretty as yours though.. oh well!


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:13 am

      Heath bars…. I need that.


  44. #
    Amy — September 7, 2011 @ 9:49 am

    This. Looks. Amazing. Trifle is a very traditional Christmas or holiday dessert for my family (my dad being English), but I love variations like this one!


  45. #
    Michelle Torres — September 7, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    WOW!!!!!!!!!! This is gawgeous!!!!!!!!!! I absolutely love the look of trifle, and I just have to make this……


  46. #
    Sues — September 7, 2011 @ 9:52 am

    This is beautiful. And amazing. And please pass me a spoon.


  47. #
    Evan Thomas — September 7, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    I imagine this is what they serve at BBQs in heaven


  48. #
    Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg — September 7, 2011 @ 9:58 am

    Wow– this is beautiful!!

    I totally had an acid-wash denim skirt too. But I wore mine with jellies, not soccer shoes. It seemed more JEM-like that way. :-)


    • Jessica — September 7th, 2011 @ 10:12 am

      We weren’t allowed to wear jellies at my school. Stupidest rule ever!


  49. #
    carly {carlyklock} — September 7, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    I love it when cream goes to meet Jesus. Behold! Cool Whip ain’t got shit on the real thing.

    On another note (only because you brought it up), I’m evolving in the exact opposite direction as I go through life, and I don’t like it. I can feel myself getting wound tighter and tighter, and it’s just SO DUMB.

    I still have clothes on the floor, though.

    And dishes in the sink.

    I guess my world isn’t ending quite yet.


  50. #
    Jessica @ Bake a Little — September 7, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    This look UNBELIEVABLE! I love the sprinkle on the top. Makes it look even better and it is an extra treat!


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