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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chocolate and Caramel Trifle at Bestie's Wedding Shower

I owe my dear friend E a LOT of blog posts: From our night out in New Hope (and a near-disaster), to her wedding food-tasting (for which I was the official resident foodie, I was so honored), to who knows what else.  So, my dear E and her fiancee L, this one's for you!  This week will feature several back posts that I've been meaning to write about.  I promise to deliver!

Today was E and L's bridal-shower-slash-housewarming-party.  When I say there was an overabundance of food, I'm not even kidding.  But, that's a typical E party: lots and lots and lots of awesome food of all kinds -

A 92-piece sushi plate (in a heart shape!).
Massive vegetable platter.
Slow-cooker pulled turkey with rolls for sammies.
Two trays of pigs in a blanket.
Two different kinds of hummus.
Chili Cheese Dip.
Spinach dip (with pumpernickel) and Crab dip (with rye) bread bowls.
Cheese platter (including my beloved WASABI cheese!)
Philadelphia pretzel platter with over 100 pretzels and 4 dips.
Shrimp cocktail.
Pasta salad.
Mozzarella salad.
Taco salad.
Asian garden salad.
Tomato (pizza) pie.
Pepper (pizza) pie.
4 different kinds of chicken wings.
Eggplant parm.
Tons and tons of wine and beer.

Click on the pictures for full-resolution images and so you can really see the esquisiteness of all. this. food.

And that's not even close to all.  But you get the idea.  These girls know how to throw a party.  We had an AMAZING time, and all the hard work they put in really showed.

I made the favors for the party (chocolate chip cookies), and I got a few desserts as well.  I purchased a boxed sheet cake (I know, totally lame) and a cookie cake, and there were also frosted cookies and chocolate-covered strawberries.  However, I wanted to make something special.

As I've said in the past, I'm a cooker, not so much a baker.  But, luckily, the following treat included very little baking.  It's something I've had at things like church functions and fundraising events, and I know it's always a hit, and I've had it in my head for a while now.  But I never knew what it was called!

After some research and a LOT of asking around, I found a few recipes.  One was for a similar item called "Better Than Sex" (Google it!  It's real - but make sure you have "safe search" checked, I make no promises for what you might find), and I found a few others.  Finally, I was forwarded this recipe (linked) for a chocolate trifle, and I knew this was it.  I made several adjustments to it, and I'm sure if when I make this a second time I'll make more (for one, changing the Cool Whip to something else) to make it more home-made.  But I can tell you this thing disappeared like lightning, many people had second and third helpings (myself included), and I got LOTS of requests for the recipe.  So here it is!

By the way, the 10-inch glass trifle bowl I got from Marshalls Home Goods for $14.99.  TOTAL steal!  But you can get away with using an 8-inch or 9-inch trifle bowl; you'll see from the pictures that this recipe did not quite fill the 10-incher.

Chocolate and Caramel Trifle

- 1 package brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix) - or whatever homemade brownies you make from scratch
- 2 3.9-oz packages instant chocolate pudding mix (I used Jello brand)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 2 8-oz containers thawed Cool Whip (it's recommended to use French Vanilla flavor, but I couldn't find it so I used regular)
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup caramel (I used Smuckers caramel ice cream syrup)
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon chocolate shavings
Half gone!
 Prepare brownie mix according to package directions (or make your own brownies) and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares.

Mix instant pudding mix and cold water together in a bowl (will be very thick).  In a separate (larger) bowl, whip the heavy cream and sugar together until thick (whisk or use mixer), then fold in the cream with the pudding/water.

In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, lay the following in this order:
half the brownie squares,
half the caramel,
half the pudding/water/heavy cream/sugar mixture,
one of the 8-oz containers of Cool Whip, and
ALL the chocolate chips. 

Repeat layers (without the chocolate chips).  Garnish the top of the Cool Whip with the cocoa powder and chocolate shavings (or use a teaspoon chocolate chips instead of shavings, as I did).  CHILL FOR at least 8 HOURS prior to serving. 

Feel free to play around with this recipe, maybe add some berries, etc!

Not glamorous, but so delicious.  So, so delicious.

Cheers, C


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