When the holidays end, but winter does not, serve up this chocolate winter trifle with edible evergreen trees. Chocolate lovers will happily dig into the layers of cake, cookies, white chocolate pudding, and whipped cream. Topped with a snowy winter wonderland, this dessert is sure to impress guests with its flavor and appearance.
This layered dessert is perfect for all winter gatherings. You can also decorate the edible trees to fit any type of holiday or theme. See how easy it is to make this winter trifle, and then get as creative as you like with the topping.
Snowy Winter Trifle Dessert
Like the woodland fairy toadstool trifle, this winter trifle is all about the topping. The snowy winter wonderland topping provides an excellent opportunity to get creative. With adorable little pretzel trees and powdered sugar snow, this is a fun and cozy dessert for wintertime events.
Reasons to Love this Winter Trifle Recipe
- Taste: This winter chocolate trifle is a delicious combination of layers of chocolate cake, cookies, white chocolate pudding, and whipped cream. Topped with little pretzel candy trees and sugary snow, it’s both pretty and tasty.
- Versatile: This recipe can be modified in so many ways to fit your personal taste, holiday, and theme.
- Festive: The edible evergreen trees make this recipe perfect for any winter holiday parties on or beyond Christmastime.
- Looks great: If you need an eye-catching dessert, this one is sure to draw some attention on the dessert table.
- Easy: This recipe is easy to follow and can be made with minimal effort.
- Fun: The topping is unique and creative, making it a great dessert recipe for people who love to experiment in the kitchen.
Chocolate Winter Trifle Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make this winter dessert recipe. The measurements are in the recipe card below.
- Chocolate cake round
- White chocolate pudding mix
- Whipped topping
- Chocolate sandwich cookies
- Pretzel sticks
- Green candy melts
- White nonpareils
- Powdered sugar
How to Make the Winter Wonderland Trifle
Make the pudding by whisking together the pudding mix and milk for two minutes. Refrigerate for 5 minutes or until firm.
Use a food processor to finely crush 15 of the chocolate sandwich cookies for the “dirt” on top of the trifle. Set them aside. Roughly break apart the rest of the cookies for the layers and set them aside.
To make the evergreen trees, lay wax paper on a cutting board or a baking sheet. Place pretzel sticks on the sheet about 3 inches apart.
In a resealable bag, put the green candy melts in and leave the bag unsealed. Microwave for 60 seconds on 100% power and knead the bag until all the candy is smooth.
Seal the bag and cut a small hole in the tip. Drizzle the melted candy over the pretzel sticks to create the trees. Repeat with a second layer and sprinkle on the white nonpareils before moving on to the next tree.
Repeat the process until you have the desired number of trees.
To make the trees longer to stick into the trifle layers, add a small dollop of green candy at the bottom of the tree and attach a second pretzel stick. Let it stand to harden or refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Cut the cake round in half to create two rounds. Begin layering the trifle starting with placing the first round in the trifle dish.
Add half of the pudding on top of the cake.
Follow up with half of the whipped topping.
Add the cookie chunks for the next layer.
Repeat these layers, ending with the finely crushed chocolate cookies.
Gently press the trees into the trifle, getting them into the layers, so they remain stable.
Sprinkle the powdered sugar on top to create a snowy effect.
Have fun decorating the top however you wish!
Serve immediately or refrigerate, loosely covered, until you are ready to serve.
Substitutions and Variations
- Cake: You can use any type of cake that you like. Chocolate looks good if you want an accurate forest look, but the magical land can be any color you wish!
- Pudding: Use any flavor of pudding that you prefer. The white chocolate pudding color gives a nice contrast with the chocolate cake, but use your preferred flavor or color.
- Whipped topping: You can use homemade whipped cream, or even ice cream if you plan to serve the trifle right away.
- Cookies: Use any type of cookie you’d like. Personally, I prefer crunchier cookies, so you have a little “crunch” in the layers.
- Pretzel sticks: Any kind of edible stick would most likely work well for the trees. If you can find a thin candy cane, that might work. I’m thinking of a chocolate-covered orange candy stick from my childhood that I cannot remember the name of… help!
- Candy melts: Use any color candy melt you want for the trees. If you want a magical forest, get crazy with the colors. If you are making this for Christmas, you can also decorate the green trees with colored dots for ornaments.
- Nonpareils: If you don’t want to use white, colored nonpareils can also look like ornaments. You can also use sugar crystals, edible glitter, chocolate shavings, or maybe even mini chocolate chips.
Kitchen Tools Needed
- Food processor to finely crush the cookies. You can also use a plastic bag and a rolling pin.
- Wax paper to create the candy trees.
- Cutting board or a baking sheet to create the candy trees.
- Resealable plastic bag to drizzle on the candy melts. You can also use a piping bag.
- Microwave to melt the candy melts. You can also use a double boiler or a candy melting pot.
- Trifle dish or glass bowl. You can layer a trifle into any glass, but a legit trifle dish looks best for serving, and gives you the space you need for a decorative topping like this one.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you haven’t already added the trees, it’s best to store them separately.
Recipe Notes and FAQ
Can I use homemade pudding instead of instant?
Yes, you can use homemade pudding, but make sure to chill it completely before layering it in the trifle.
Can I make this winter trifle in advance?
I recommend making all the layers in advance, and then add everything to the bowl right before you need it. Make the cake, pudding, trees, and crush the cookies the day before. Then, layer it all into the bowl the day of.
Do I have to use a cake round?
No, although a cake round fits nicely into the trifle bowl, you can simply crumble pieces of cake and sprinkle it into the bowl. You can also use store-bought cake or cupcakes if you’re short on time.
- 1, 8" round chocolate cake, baked and cooled completely
- 1 package, 3.4 oz, instant white chocolate pudding
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tub, 8 oz, whipped topping, thawed
- 30 chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
- pretzel sticks
- 1/3 cup green candy melts
- white candy nonpareils
- powdered sugar
- Mix together pudding and milk and whisk for 2 minutes. Refrigerate for 5 minutes until firm.
- Finely crush 15 chocolate sandwich cookies with a food processor and set aside. Coarsely crush, or break apart the remaining 15 chocolate cookies. Set aside.
- To make trees, place wax paper onto a cutting board or baking sheet, about 3" apart. Place green candy melts into a resealable bag but do not seal shut. Microwave for 60 seconds on 100% power and knead the bag until all candy is melted and smooth. Seal the bag shut and cut a small hole into the tip of the bag. Gently drizzle candy over the pretzel sticks to create trees, repeat with a second layer and sprinkle with white nonpareils before moving onto the next tree.
- Repeat until you have the desired number of trees. Add a second "trunk" to the trees, to make them a lot longer so they stick into the trifle better. Do this by adding a small dollop of green candy at the bottom of the tree and attach a second pretzel stick to the tree. Let stand to harden or refrigerate for 10 minutes until hard.
- Slice round cake in half, creating 2 rounds. Place one round into the trifle dish and top with half of the pudding, half of the whipped topping and the crushed chocolate cookies. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of finely crushed chocolate cookies.
- Gently press trees into the trifle as desired and sprinkle with powdered sugar to create snow.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate, loosely covered until ready to serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 315mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 2gSugar: 52gProtein: 6g
Nutrition facts are an estimate only.
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