Chocolate lovers know that cocoa’s best complementary flavor is coffee. Coffee enhances chocolate without overpowering it, which is why you will see it in many chocolate recipes. Many famous chefs put instant coffee powder in chocolate cakes, brownies, and even homemade chocolate pudding.
The perfect dessert to show the beautiful marriage of chocolate and coffee is this Brownie Mocha Trifle. A homemade coffee-enhanced brownie is cubed and layered with vanilla pudding made with cold brew. The best part of this trifle is the addition of crunchy toffee candy layered throughout.
So, what is a trifle? A trifle is a layered dessert that takes cake, cookies, or brownies and layers them with pudding, whipped cream or topping, and various other sweets. You can make chocolate trifles, fruit trifles, holiday-themed trifles, or make any of your favorite desserts into a trifle. The pudding interacts with the cake component, absorbing the moisture and becoming a cohesive, delicious dessert.
The foundation of this trifle is the homemade brownie layer. Coffee-scented brownies are extremely easy to make and only need one bowl for mixing. All it tastes is some butter, sugar, cocoa, instant espresso powder, salt, vanilla, eggs, and flour. Those few pantry ingredients make for some of the best brownies you have ever had.
Following the brownie layer is the vanilla pudding. For ease and convenience, instant vanilla pudding is used here. Using milk and cold brew coffee, instant pudding comes together in just minutes. Feel free to make a homemade pudding if you like, or use another flavor of instant pudding such as chocolate, butterscotch, or caramel.
Trifles are very soft, rich desserts. A nice textural contrast is welcome, and toffee is that perfect thing to layer between the brownies and the pudding. Simply crush a Heath candy bar and sprinkle in between the layers and on top. The crunch among the soft brownies and creamy filling makes for the perfect bite.
For the Brownies:
For the Trifle:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a brownie pan with a sheet of parchment paper and grease with butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until combined. Add the cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, salt, vanilla, and one egg at a time. Add the other egg after the first one is completely mixed in. Sift in the flour and fold the batter together until all flour is hydrated. Do not overmix.
Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the brownie does not jiggle and a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Allow the brownies to cool completely before using them in the trifle. Once the brownies are totally cooled, cut them into 1-inch cubes.
In a large bowl, beat the milk and instant vanilla pudding mixes with a hand mixer. Mix for 2-4 minutes or until the pudding is thick. Then mix in the cold brew coffee until everything is well combined.
Fold in ½ of the whipped topping into the pudding. Set aside the rest for later. Crush your Heath candy bar into crumbs.
In a trifle bowl, layer an even amount of brownie pieces at the bottom. Top with the pudding mixture, followed by a layer of the candy pieces. Continue making layers just like this, ending with a final whipped topping layer using the remaining half from earlier. Top with the remaining candy pieces and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.