This Halloween Trifle is layered with chocolate brownies and pistachio cream, then topped with cookie tombstones and edible Halloween decor to make an extra spooky dessert. It's guaranteed to impress and the perfect dessert to celebrate the Halloween season.
📋 About the Recipe
- Stunning Halloween centerpiece! If you're looking for an easy Halloween dessert to make as the showstopper of your dessert table, this fun recipe is the perfect Halloween treat, just like these graveyard brownies!
- Customizable. Don't be afraid to tailor the flavors, ingredients, and decorations of this Halloween trifle to suit your preferences and the theme of your Halloween parties.
- Easy to make with kids! Making a Halloween trifle can be a fun activity to do with both kids and adults. Involve the whole family in the decorating process and have fun with it!
For the Brownies
For the Pistachio Cream
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Unsalted butter - When baking, unsalted butter is more consistently flavored across different brands and allows you to control the sodium content in the baked goods.
- Cocoa powder - Dutch-process cocoa is less bitter than raw cocoa powder, and helps to give these brownies a more mild, decadent, and smooth flavor.
- Eggs - Add moisture, flavor, and protein that helps the brownies hold their shape.
- Decorations - I used Milano cookies to make the tombstones, melted chocolate to write on the tombstones, crushed Oreo cookies to make mounds of dirt, and candy pumpkins, gummy worms, skulls, eyes, and bones to decorate the top of the pistachio cream.
- Heavy cream - Used to make homemade whipped cream as the base of the pistachio cream.
- Pistachio pudding mix - Adds a subtle, slightly nutty flavor to the whipped cream layer without making the trifle overly sweet.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Chocolate substitutions: Replace the semi-sweet chocolate chips with dark chocolate chips, if desired. Chocolate chunks or a chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate bar will work well too.
- Pudding mix substitutions: Instead of pistachio pudding mix, use your favorite pudding mix flavors. Vanilla pudding or butterscotch pudding mix would both work well.
- Make individual trifles. If you don't have a large trifle bowl or prefer to make individual servings, assemble the Halloween trifle layers in individual portions. Try using drinking glasses, mason jars, or clear plastic cups!
Make the Brownies
- Preheat and prep. Set the oven to 350 degrees F to preheat. Then, spray a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray before lining with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter. Add the butter into a large, heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. This should take about 1 ½ minutes when microwaving room temperature butter.
- Add the chopped chocolate and vegetable oil. In the bowl with the melted butter, add the chopped chocolate and vegetable oil and stir until the chocolate chips are melted. If needed, microwave again in 30 second intervals until just melted.
- Whisk in the cocoa. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until well combined, then set the chocolate mixture aside to cool.
- Combine the eggs and brown sugar. In a separate large mixing bowl, vigorously mix until the sugar is fully dissolved, about 90 seconds.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Into the same bowl with the egg and brown sugar mixture, whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until mostly smooth with minimal lumps.
- Combine the chocolate mixture and egg mixture. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the large mixing bowl with the eggs and brown sugar mixture. Whisk well until combined and a smooth batter forms.
- Fold in the flour and chocolate chips. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour and kosher salt until dry flour spots remain. Add in the chocolate chips and repeat until well distributed.
- Bake. Pour batter into the prepared pan and using a spatula, spread the batter evenly from edge to edge. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, then allow the brownies to cool for at least 90 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Cool before assembling. Once the graveyard brownies are baked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 90 minutes before removing from the pan and making the trifle.
- Make the cookie headstones. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread Milano cookies on the baking sheet. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips inside a resealable plastic bag to make a piping bag. Microwave the bag in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Snip a small corner off of the bag and use the chocolate to pipe "RIP," or other phrases of choice, on the top of each cookie. Once all of the cookies are decorated, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate has hardened.
Make the Pistachio Whipped Cream
- Combine the heavy cream and pistachio pudding mix. Add the heavy cream to your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form, then add the pistachio pudding mix. Switch to a slow speed and mix the pudding into the whipped cream. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix again until fully combined.
Assemble the Trifle
- Create the layers. Crumble ½ of the brownies into the bottom of your trifle bowl. Press them down gently with your hand, then spread ½ of the pistachio whipped cream on top of the brownies. Crumble the other half of the brownies on top, then spread the remaining ½ of the pistachio whipped cream into a smooth layer on top.
- Decorate the Halloween trifle. Sprinkle crushed Oreos on top of the whipped cream, then stick Milano cookies spaced out on top. Decorate with pumpkin candy corn, gummy worms, candy bones, and candy eyes.
❄️ How to Store
To store: Assembled trifle can be made 1 to 2 days in advance (without the decorations) if tightly wrapped and refrigerated.
Then, right before serving, add the oreo crumbs, Milano cookies, and remaining decorations.
Leftover trifle will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freezing is not recommended.
🔍 Recipe FAQs
Yes, if desired prepare the brownies and pistachio cream up to 2 days in advance and store them separately (brownies keep best at room temperature and pistachio cream should be refrigerated in airtight containers).
Then, assemble the trifle just before serving at your Halloween party and enjoy!
In addition to Milano tombstones, Oreo "dirt," gummy worms, candy bones and skeletons, and candy pumpkins, you can also decorate your Halloween trifle with any other spooky decorations of choice.
Try things like gummy eye balls, chocolate spider webs, black licorice, colored gel for "blood," Halloween sprinkles, your favorite candy bars, and edible spooky ghosts.
Place the Oreos into a small zip top bag, seal it tightly and crush the cookies into a crumb-like texture using a rolling pin, wine bottle, or meat mallet. You can also finely chop the Oreos on a cutting board or pulse them into a fine crumb using a food processor.
💭 One More Tip
Chill the stand mixing bowl and whisk before making the whipped cream! Chilling the heavy cream, mixing bowl, and whisk attachment before starting can help the heavy cream whip into stiff peaks faster and hold its shape better. For best results, stick the bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 1 hour before starting!
🍴 Related Recipes
Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I'd love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!
- 2 cups unsalted butter
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup dutch process cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
For Pistachio Whipped Cream
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons pistachio pudding mix
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
- Add butter to a large bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted.
- Add chopped chocolate to the melted butter. Stir until melted. If needed, microwave again in 30 second intervals until just melted.
- Add in the cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and brown sugar. Vigorously mix until the sugar is fully dissolved, about 90 seconds.
- Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour cooled butter mixture into the large mixing bowl with the eggs and brown sugar. Whisk to combine.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour and kosher salt. Then, fold in 2 cups chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes. Allow brownies to cool for at least 90 minutes before removing from the pan.
- While brownies cool, prepare a small baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Place milano cookies on the baking sheet. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips to a zip top bag. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Cut a small corner off the bag and pipe “RIP” on the top half of each cookie. Place in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.
- Make the pistachio whipped cream: Add heavy cream to your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form. Add the pistachio pudding mix. On slow speed, mix the pudding into the whipped cream. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix again until fully combined.
- To assemble: Cut brownies in half. Crumble half the brownies and sprinkle them into the bottom of a trifle bowl. Press them down gently with your hand. Spread ½ of the pistachio whipped cream on top of the brownies. Crumble the other half of the brownies on top. Spread the remaining ½ of the pistachio whipped cream on top.
- Sprinkle crushed oreos on top of the whipped cream. Stick Milano cookies spaced out on top. Decorate with pumpkin candy corn, gummy worms, candy bones, and candy eyes.
- I highly recommend using "dutch-process" cocoa powder for this recipe. It creates a richer, moister, more decadent brownie. However, you can use regular cocoa powder if you're really in a pinch.
- Don't over-bake the brownies. The inside might look a tad underdone, but they will solidify more as they cool. As long as 3 inches around the perimeter of the pan is set, the brownies should be fully cooked.
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