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. #
    NerdyBaker — September 8, 2011 @ 3:18 am

    Ok, wow, you are officially my new best friend. From the Sandlot reference, to the fact that you went to bed that early when no one told you to (that was my sister, who pretty much IS my actual best friend), right down to shaving your legs when your mom told you not to (she just didn’t realize how hairy they were in the fourth grade and my sister got to so…). Great post!


  2. #
    Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen — September 8, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    oh my gosh, this is a monster! Sure to impress any pot luck/dinner party/get together!


  3. #
    Sandra — September 8, 2011 @ 8:41 am

    You, dear Jessica are killin me! The cream that was about to meet Jesus almost made me fall off my bike, too funny. When I saw the name of the recipe my thoughts went back to your peanut butter fudge pretzel brownies that we have affectionately termed, “Satan’s Brownies”. I trust your peanut butter and chocolate combos and will try this one.


  4. #
    Rosie @ Sweetapolita — September 8, 2011 @ 9:00 am

    Oh my! This looks so amazing, Jessica. My mom also used to make the yummiest trifle when I was little, and I loved it then too. I’d love to try this one…and soon!


  5. #
    Erin — September 8, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    Oh wow! This looks so decadent! Love the story of a type-A childhood…I can totally relate!


  6. #
    Cat — September 8, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    My only suggestion (and when I made the peanut butter pie too) is that I only used about 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar. The filling really is amazing on its own without any additional sweetness. I even added a bit more peanut butter than it called for to build the peanut flavor.

    I will definitely have to make the trifle because the pie was wonderful beyond words!!!


    • Melanie — September 8th, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

      Cat – Did you use natural peanut butter? I’m guessing Jessica probably did, and that comes unsweetened. It would need more sugar and has a richer flavor. The peanut butter flavor would be stronger. I’m not sure, but I thought I’d throw that out there. :)


  7. #
    shelly (cookies and cups) — September 8, 2011 @ 10:17 am

    I was thinking about making a trifle…but then i realized I didn’t have a trifle dish. So the moment passed.

    It is now back again. Homegoods, here I come.


    • Kim — February 10th, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

      I used to use a tall clear tupperware bowl, it didn’t have the dramatic appearance of the trifle bowl but it did work. And besides, it’s good no matter what you put it in, lol.


  8. #
    Ann — September 8, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    Oh, my! This is AMAZING!


  9. #
    Alisa Fleming — September 8, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    Oh you little devil you. You tease daily with these amazing sweets, but this … this is over the top. I was just looking at my recipe index online and for my next book, and realized that I have a bit of a peanut butter obsession. I suppose their are worse vices.


  10. #
    Parita @ myinnershakti — September 8, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    HOLY MOLY! This looks beyond amazing and delicious! You have outdone yourself, Jess! :)


  11. #
    Tracy — September 8, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    This looks perfectly decadent! It goes well with the incoming fall weather…yum!


  12. #
    Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie — September 8, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

    I would love to face plant into this


  13. #
    dana828 — September 8, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Aw hell. Now I need to go clean my house. Because now I need to invite people over so I can make this trifle. And I can’t invite people over if my house is a mess. Gee, thanks alot. ;)


  14. #
    Kelly @ livelovepasta — September 8, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make a trifle. This one looks fabulous!!!


  15. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — September 8, 2011 @ 11:31 pm

    All the desserty things I love all rolled into one!


  16. #
    laurile — September 9, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    Do you think this should be made a day ahead like other trifles?


    • Jessica — September 9th, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

      hmmm I didn’t know that other trifles should be made a day ahead, but I made it the morning of and it was great!


      • laurie — September 9th, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

        I’m not positive about the day before, but I always thought that it was better to let the cake absorb some of the moistness from the pudding, or in the traditional English way, from the fruit or jelly layer.
        I just found out that one of my guests does not like peanut butter! I’m thinking of putting some waxed paper down the middle of the bowl and layering one side with the chocolate pudding and chocolate chips, while the other gets the peanut butter mousse and candy. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  17. #
    Bec — September 9, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    Man, did anyone die in the making of this trifle? As in, from happiness, or equally relevant, from a coronary? Chocolate, cream, fat, sugar … delicious and so bad.


  18. #
    Jackie — September 10, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    THIS IS EVIL. PURE EVIL. And I shall make it for my boyfriend when he comes home for a few weeks. :)


  19. #
    Simply Life — September 11, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    Holy cow- you are amazing!!! I’ve never seen anything like this!


  20. #
    Natalie — September 11, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    Words cannot even describe how incredible this dessert looks right now. You never cease to amaze me!


  21. #
    Peg Clendenin — September 12, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    I made this for a birthday celebration for my husband and two grown kids and stepkids. My son literally put his face in his bowl and was in ecstasy. My stepson said it was the best dessert he ever had, adding that says a lot because he loves his sweets! Thank you!


  22. #
    laurie — September 13, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

    Update: I made this last weekend half with the peanut butter mousse and half with the chocolate pudding. It was in a big glass bowl, and I created a wall in the middle with foiled covered paper. People were in a tizzy over this. Except for the few souls who didn’t like peanut butter, everyone was begging to try both flavors. I liked the taste of the chocolate pudding side better, although it wasn’t as pretty as the peanut butter side. Thanks for a great recipe!


  23. #
    Cecilia — September 17, 2011 @ 12:33 am

    I haven’t made this yet but I pinned it on my Recipes to Try board. I keep getting emails about it being repinned! You’re spreading like wildfire on Pinterest!!!


  24. #
    Shuhada — September 19, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    OMG! That looks so delicious..


  25. #
    Marilyn Houser — September 29, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

    THIS is……what they mean by “mouth watering”….


  26. #
    Madelaine — October 4, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

    I just made this over the weekend, and I don’t even know what to say. It’s unbelievable and irresistible, and feeds about 30 :) Thank you for this recipe!


  27. #
    Ky — November 16, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

    Mmmm… I saw this on Pinterest and almost DIED! It looks soooooo delicious! :D


  28. #
    Sarah — November 19, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Just made this for a luncheon. HUGE, GIGANTIC, SPECTACULAR success. Thanks so much!


  29. #
    Beth — November 19, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

    Got this off of Pinterest and made it for a party last night. It was delicious and everyone raved about it. Thank you!


  30. #
    Tina — November 22, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

    I saw this on Pinterest too and am making it for Thanksgiving. I’m not using Brownies though–only because I don’t care for them. So I’m substituting chocolate-filled Twinkies (sliced up) instead. I use regular Twinkies for my other Trifle recipe, so thought the chocolate ones might be good in this. We’ll see how it goes! Tip for anyone who doesn’t have a Trifle bowl: use a punch bowl! That’s what I always did until I got a trifle bowl. But really, any large, clear glass bowl will work.


  31. #
    Helen Gibson — November 30, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    OMG, this looks wonderful. I must try to make it! Thank you for sharing!


  32. #
    Whitney Lacefield — December 10, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    It looks wonderful! One question… Do you need cream cheese or not? It is not listed as an ingredient but then it says in the instructions to add the cream cheese. Just wondering thanks for the recipe.


    • Jessica — December 10th, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

      Yep, you do need it and it is listed in the ingredients.


    • Whitney Lacefield — December 10th, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

      Never mind…ADD, read whipped cream and stopped there :)


  33. #
    Stephanie Cheney — December 16, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    This was a great recipe! I made a couple of adjustments–used Nutella instead of PB, Almond Roca instead of PB cups, and used only 1/2 c. powdered sugar. This was SO delicious. People went back for seconds!!


  34. #
    Cheryl Cole — December 19, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    Christmas recipe


  35. #
    Annie Oakley's Kitchen — January 13, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

    I just came across this on Pinterest and just HAD to drop by and check it out! That trifle looks AMAZING!


  36. #
    Michelle — January 15, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

    Absolutely AMAZINGGG!! I made this for a party last night and EVERYONE loved it and wanted the recipe. I know what I’m making for the next party I go to :) Thank you!


  37. #
    Sara — January 24, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

    Ran across this on Pinterest. It looks sooo delicious! We’ve got some peanut allergies in my family, so I might give it a go with sun nut butter, it’s usually a better substitute than soy nut butter :)


  38. #
    Kathy Nemecek — February 4, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    Looks divine!
    Am making it for a Super Bowl party!


  39. #
    Tena — February 5, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    This looks amazing and I’m attempting it now for our super bowl party!! I’m assuming it needs to chill how long should it chill before serving?


  40. #
    Cindy {Jenkins Kid Farm} — February 5, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    GET. OUT. OF. HERE!!!


  41. #
    ryann willden — February 9, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

    Found your post through pinterest. Made this trifle Super Bowl weekend…it was such a hit it has now become the dessert for a family members wedding reception dinner this weekend. Awesome recipe!


  42. #
    christy — February 13, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that I am obsessed with your site!! I saw your Spicy Shrimp Parmesan Skillet recipe on Pinterest and it led me to your site. I love reading your blogs more than any other site! We had a bake off contest at work and I was on the search for the best thing I could find. I found this beautiful glob of trifle delicousness and sure enough, I WON the contest!!! Btw, you also want to make me brave that 14 hour homemade croissant recipe. Your blog is so entertaining! THANKS!


  43. #
    Asmita — February 28, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

    Hi Jessica,
    This looks and I am sure tastes heavenly!!!


  44. #
    Shella — March 3, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    All I’m saying is I’m buying a trifle bowl!


  45. #
    Stacey — March 3, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    My roommate made this tonight for my birthday!!! Thank You Thank You Thank You. It was amazing!!!


  46. #
    Jillian N — March 8, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

    I must admit, I have a severe peanut butter and chocolte addiction (whether they r together or separate, it matters not). I will definitely be using this on my first at home date night with my honey…It might get a little messy though…lol. My only subsitution will be tó use honey roasted peanut butter. :)


  47. #
    Mandy E — March 21, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    This looks so incredibly good and I’m planning on giving it a try this Saturday for my son’s very small birthday party (he’s not a big cake fan). One question…at the top of the recipe, it mentions that the PB mixture layer is from ‘this’ PB pie recipe. But that PB ‘mousse’ also includes sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and lemon juice. Do I add these things or only use PB, cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and then fold in the whipped cream as your recipe mentions? Thanks!


  48. #
    Tami b — March 26, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    Amazing!!!!! Love making torte’s and trifles. Easter will be the unveiling of this one! Can hardly wait.


  49. #
    k — April 3, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    This looks good enough to die for! I loveee the pb and chocolate combo. Keep up the great mouthwatering photos and recipes!


  50. #
    Roxanna — April 3, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    I made this over the weekend and it was a huge hit! The only thing I did differently on accident was used 1/2 cup powdered sugar in the whipped cream instead of granulated and it actually came out better. Then I only used 1/2 cup powdered in the peanut butter/cream cheese mixture. Oh, and I used the Jello Indulgence chocolate mousse temptations and chopped Reeses pb cups. YUM!



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