Happy weekend my peeps, and it couldn’t have come at a better time I think.
Any fun plans? My schedule will probably involve lots of packing and planning for San Diego. It wasn’t part of the original trip plans but it looks like I’ll be in Cali for Valentine’s Day this year. Ironically I was in London for this past Halloween so maybe I’m starting a bit of a self-trend to be abroad during holidays.
Hey, that’s totally fine with me for any holiday with the possible exception of Christmas (because you guys know I’m a Christmas freak and I couldn’t imagine not being home for the holidays) I’ll gladly take traveling over being at home. Hmmm, where might I be for Easter! Who can say?
Ok, but travel talk aside, let’s talk about this dessert.
As you can probably imagine, I typically end up with more than a few leftovers from all my recipe testing successes and fails (yes that happens to me too). Anyway, I’ve always had a pet-peeve with wastefulness, but living in a foreign country strengthened that feeling because things were harder to get there so when it got wasted it was much more noticeable. However, I think no matter where you are, it’s a good thing to always try to reduce waste when it’s possible (and no, I’m not about to go all “save the planet” on you). Just good habits to live by.
That’s why one of my favorite things to make behind the scenes of blogging are delicious treats made up of different layers of whatever I’ve got at the time. Typically I’ll use things like fruit, crumbs from baked goods, and yogurt and/or whipped cream. This is definitely not an original concept either. There are quite a few different versions of this type of treat like the traditional English desserts, eton mess, strawberry fool, and yes, trifles.
In my house I’ll normally just call it a parfait because that’s what’s familiar, but I find it pretty hilarious when I serve it in a trifle dish and so many people in my family think this is called a “truffle” despite my continuous corrections. My point is that these desserts all have the same thing in common. Layers of different flavors and textures coming together to create something delicious, and really I could have just been describing a cake. See, not so different. The key is to making it look delicious, because come on, we all eat with our eyes on some level right?
So I can’t exactly name a date, but I know I’ve wanted a trifle dish from the early days of food blogging. Actually, I’ve wanted one for much longer probably. The first few years after I started sharing recipes I searched everywhere I could when I was prop shopping in Chile to find one, but no luck. It was just a few weeks ago that I stumbled across one and got so excited and just had to buy it. It’s just so much more fun to serve this dessert in a beautiful dish this way.
And yes, clearly I created this recipe with Valentine’s Day in mind because nothing says romance quite like strawberries and chocolate, right? I chose to do brownies for this particular recipe because I just thought it was a little more fitting for the season, but come Summertime I’ll be layering all the berries with light and fluffy sponge cakes, I’m sure.
Strawberries and chocolate are the perfect combination in any situation. This trifle makes a stunning treat to share with friends and family all year long.
- 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup granular sugar
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 box prepared brownie mix or recipe follows
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed and slices (save a few with leaves for top)
- heart shaped chocolates for top (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) butter
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/3 cup chocolate chunks
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat whipping cream until it forms soft peaks. Reduce speed to low and pour in the sugar. Beat on high until it forms stiff peaks. Scrape the whipped cream into a separate bowl and set aside.
- Add the cream cheese to mixing bowl and beat until completely smooth. Add the 1/4 cup sugar and Greek yogurt and continue beating until smooth.Mix in vanilla, then fold in about 3 cups of the whipped cream, reserving the rest.
- Cut the prepared brownies into small cubes and place a layer of them in a trifle dish or individual jars. Next layer the fresh strawberries, cream cheese mixture, and remaining whipped cream in repeating layers until the dish or jars are full. Top with additional whipped cream and if desired add some whole strawberries and chocolates to garnish.
- If not serving immediately, cover and place in fridge to chill.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and grease and 8x8 inch square pan with oil.
- In a small saucepan set over low heat, slowly melt the butter with sugar and cocoa powder while whisking. Once melted, remove from heat and scrape into a medium bowl then stir in espresso powder, salt, and vanilla until combined. Add the eggs and stir just until mixed, then the flour and stir in until smooth.
- Pour the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over the batter evenly. Bake the brownies for 18 - 24 minutes until the center doesn't jiggle when the pan is nudged (you can also check center with a toothpick and see if it comes out clean). Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes before cutting.