This Chocolate Mousse Trifle is a chocolate lover's dream. Crushed and buttery Oreos are combined with a creamy 3-ingredient chocolate mousse, whipped mascarpone, and caramelized hazelnuts for the perfect combination of smooth and crunchy.
- What You'll Need for This Recipe
- How to Make Chocolate Mousse Trifle
- How to Make Chocolate Mousse
- How to Make Caramelized Hazelnuts
- How to Make the Oreo Cookie Crumb
- How to Make Whipped Mascarpone
- How to Assemble the Trifles
- How to Serve This Chocolate Trifle
- Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
- If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
- Chocolate Mousse Trifle
Creamy, dreamy, and oh-so-rich is how I would describe this chocolate mousse trifle recipe. This easy trifle recipe started with a desire to create a simple dessert for Valentine’s Day that tastes rich, and looks beautiful but is easy to make.
What You'll Need for This Recipe
Here is what you’ll need for this amazing chocolate trifle recipe:
- Bittersweet Chocolate: Bittersweet chocolate is the main ingredient in the chocolate mousse. Use bittersweet chocolate that is between 55 and 62% cocoa. I recommend using bar chocolate for the best results instead of chocolate chips. Bar chocolate will produce a creamier mousse because chips typically have an emulsifier that helps chips maintain their shape when added to cookies.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is the other ingredient in the chocolate mousse and in the whipped mascarpone.
- Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is added to the mousse to ensure a smooth creamy mousse.
- Oreo Cookies: The crushed Oreos taste great with the creamy mousse and play a big part in the overall texture of this yummy dessert. You can use Oreos or your favorite chocolate cookie.
- Unsalted Butter: The butter is combined with the Oreos for the cookie crumble. Unsalted butter is best for this recipe because salted butter might make the cookie crumble too salty.
- Mascarpone: Use cold mascarpone for this topping. Don’t take it out of the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
- Granulated Sugar: Sugar is used to sweeten the whipped mascarpone and to caramelize the hazelnuts.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: The vanilla extract makes a great flavor enhancer for the whipped mascarpone topping.
- Hazelnuts: The hazelnuts are a nice crunchy sweet addition to the trifle. If you’re allergic to nuts they can be left out. You can also replace the hazelnuts with roasted peanuts.
How to Make Chocolate Mousse Trifle
You are going to love this dessert especially if you are a chocolate lover. Layers of chocolate cookie, chocolate mousse, and whipped mascarpone (think cream cheese, but with an Italian twist) make up a small, but decadent dessert that will please your taste buds and those nearest and dearest.
This trifle is made up of four sub-recipes, but all of them are easy and each one takes about 10 minutes. This dessert is also great if you want to impress but keep it simple at the same time. So let’s jump in and make the best chocolate mousse trifle you will ever taste.
How to Make Chocolate Mousse
The chocolate mousse consists of three ingredients - dark chocolate, heavy cream, and corn syrup. Make the mousse the day before or early in the morning if making the trifles on the same day.
Start by chopping the chocolate into small pieces, about a 1/4-inch or smaller. Place it in a heatproof bowl.
Bring water in a saucepan to a simmer. Simmer means that it is below the boiling point of 212 degrees F, so you will see some bubbles around the edges and steam coming off the surface of the water. Turn the heat down to low and place the bowl of chopped chocolate on top. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
If you see steam spitting and popping in the space between the bowl and the edge of the saucepan remove the pan from the heat.
Let the chocolate sit for about 8 minutes, and then stir until it is all melted. Remove the bowl from the pan.
Place the heavy cream and the corn syrup in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not walk away from the pan because when cream comes to a boil it will boil over the top of the pan quickly and create a mess. Once the cream starts to boil up either along the edges of the pan or in the center, remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot cream over the warm melted chocolate.
Slowly whisk the chocolate and the cream together with a metal whisk or spatula starting in the center and stirring in wide circles to the widest part of the bowl. Stir slowly the entire time to avoid introducing air into the mousse.
Chill the chocolate mixture first on the countertop and then in the refrigerator. Once the mousse is thoroughly chilled, beat with a handheld mixer on medium speed until the mousse is creamy and forms soft peaks.
How to Make Caramelized Hazelnuts
The toasted caramelized hazelnuts taste great in this recipe. However you can skip this step and just toast the hazelnuts, then roughly chop them and sprinkle on top of the assembled trifle. Leave a few hazelnuts whole because the trifle does look pretty with a couple of whole hazelnuts on top.
If you can’t find hazelnuts at the store you can use peanuts. This recipe requires skinned hazelnuts. Why do we want to skin the hazelnuts? Because the skin can add bitterness to the taste of the dessert. If you can’t find skinned hazelnuts in the store here is my favorite method for skinning the hazelnuts.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high so the water is simmering, and add the hazelnuts. Leave the hazelnuts in the water for 3 to 4 minutes. The water will turn dark reddish brown.
Use a spider skimmer or a slotted spoon to remove a couple of hazelnuts from the water and squeezed one of the hazelnuts to remove the skin. If it comes off easily they are done. Pour the pot of water and nuts through a colander to drain them. If you have a spray nozzle on your faucet spray the nuts to cool them down and remove some of the skin. When the nuts are cool enough to handle, remove the rest of the skins by rubbing the nuts between paper towels.
Pour the nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Toast the nuts at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.
If you skinned and roasted more than 1 cup of nuts, remove all but 1 cup of nuts to a pie plate and let them finish cooling
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, let it continue without stirring to boil until it is a golden brown color. Turn off the heat, add the warm nuts, and stir for 15 seconds.
Dump the nuts onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat. Use two forks to separate the nuts. Allow the nuts to cool. Store them in an airtight container until ready to use.
How to Make the Oreo Cookie Crumb
The buttery cookie crumb play such an important part in this recipe that I thought about calling this recipe the chocolate mousse oreo trifle. The cookies offer a contrasting texture and taste to the chocolate mousse that keep you going back until it’s all gone.
Making the cookie crumb is super easy. Separate the Oreo cookies and scrape off the creme filling. Place the cookie halves in a plastic storage bag and pound the cookies with a rolling pin until the crumbs are very small, like potting soil. Look for any big pieces to ensure there are nothing but crumbs.
Pour the crumbs into a small bowl. There should be about 1 cup of crumbs. Pour melted butter into the crumbs and toss the crumbs and butter with a fork until all the crumbs appear to be coated with butter and are starting to clump together.
Set the bowl aside. If making the trifles the next day, cover it with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
How to Make Whipped Mascarpone
Place the mascarpone cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. With a handheld, electric mixer beat the ingredients together on medium-high speed until the ingredients are combined, about 20 seconds.
Add the heavy cream and mix on medium speed until the mixture is creamy and there are soft peaks.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the mascarpone
How to Assemble the Trifles
The trifle can be assembled in 5 ounces glass or plastic containers that are about 4-inches tall or you can assemble them in a 4-ounce ramekin. They will also look great in a wine or cocktail glass if that is what you have available.
Spoon two tablespoons of the cookie crumbs into the bottom of the container. If using a slender container use the handle of a butter knife or a muddler to tamp down the crumbs. Next spoon or pipe about 3 tablespoons of the chocolate mousse on top of the cookie crumbs. Next, add another layer of cookie crumbs, don’t tamp down, and more chocolate mousse.
Add a generous layer of whipped mascarpone. Top the cream with chopped hazelnuts of peanuts. Use a micro planer to grate dark chocolate on top or use a strainer to dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Substitute the Oreo Cookie crumbs with homemade brownies broken up into small pieces or with chocolate cake cut into the same diameter of the dessert container.
- Replace the hazelnuts with roasted peanuts
- If you don’t have mascarpone you can replace the same amount with cream cheese. Or top the trifle with whipped cream only. Use 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Top the trifle with caramel sauce.
How to Serve This Chocolate Trifle
The trifles can be assembled up to one day ahead, but don’t add the whipped mascarpone or the nuts until you’re ready to serve the trifle.
Remove the trifles from the refrigerator one hour before serving so the mousse has a chance to come to room temperate and become soft. Top with the whipped mascarpone, nuts, and grated chocolate then serve.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Make sure to weigh the chocolate on a kitchen scale to ensure you have the right amount. Use bar chocolate instead of chocolate chips for the best results
- For the whipped mascarpone don’t remove the mascarpone from the refrigerator until you’re ready to make it. Room temperature mascarpone will produce a grainy texture.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
The chocolate will last 4-5 days. Keep it cold in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.
Yes, you can overbeat the mousse. If you do then it turn to butter.
Yes, if you are allergic to nuts or can't easily get hazelnuts, you can make the recipe without nuts. You can also use peanuts if you prefer.
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If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
Chocolate Mousse Trifle
- 5 ounces 55-60% bittersweet dark chocolate
- 1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon (21 grams) corn syrup
Caramelized Hazelnuts (Optional)
- 1 cup (120 grams) hazelnuts skinned and toasted
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
Chocolate Cookie Crumble
- 26 (124 grams) Oreo Cookie Halves
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 4 ounces mascarpone cold
- 3 tablespoons (38 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy whipping cream cold
Blanching Hazelnuts (Optional)
- 1 cup (120 grams) raw hazelnuts with skin on
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- Chop the chocolate on a cutting board with a sharp knife into ½-inch sized pieces. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
- Half fill a 2 or 3-quart sauceapn with water and bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once bubbles start to appear in the water and steam starts to rise from the surface of the water, reduce the heat to low and place the bowl of chocolate over the water.
- Let the chocolate sit undisturbed for about 8-10 minutes. After minutes, stir the chocolate until it is completely smooth. Once the chocolate is completely melted remove the bowl from the saucepan of simmering water.
- Combine the heavy cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Watch the cream because once it comes to a boil, cream can quickly boil over. Once the cream has come to a boil, pour it over the melted chocolate. Slowly Mix the chocolate and cream with a whisk, starting from the center and making wider circles to emulsify the chocolate and the cream.
- Once the mixture is completely emulsified place plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight, if you are making the mousse for the next day.
- Once the mixture is completely emulsified, let the chocolate mixture sit at room temperature for about an hour until the temperature registers about 90 degrees. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 90 minutes to 2 hours until it is well chilled. The temperature should be about 65 degrees F.
- If refrigeration the mousse overnight, set the chilled mousse on the counter 1 hour before it is whipped. Check the temperature before you start to whip it.
- With a handheld electric mixer, whip the mousse on low speed for about 30 seconds then increase the speed to medium and whip the mousse until the beaters leave tracks in the mousse and there are soft peaks.
- If the mousse gets overbeaten and grainy, it can be restored by remelting it in the microwave for about 10 seconds, chilling it, and rebeating it.
Caramelized Hazelnuts (Optional)
- If you can’t find skinned hazelnuts in the store here is my favorite method to skin the nuts. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan. Add 3 tablespoons baking soda, then add the hazelnuts. Boil the hazelnuts for 3-4 minutes. After 3 minutes use a slotted spoon to lift 3 nuts from the water. Rub your figure across one of the hazelnuts. If the skin easily comes off, the nuts are ready. If not boil for 1 more minute. The water will turn dark reddish brown.
- Use a spider skimmer or a slotted spoon to remove a couple of hazelnuts from the water and squeezed one of the hazelnuts to remove the skin. If it comes off easily they are done. Pour the pot of water and nuts through a colander to drain them. If you have a spray nozzle on your faucet spray the nuts to cool them down and remove some of the skins. When the nuts are cool enough to handle, remove the rest of the skins by rubbing the nuts between paper towels.
- Pour the nuts on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the hazelnuts in the oven and bake them for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown. Check the nuts after 15 minutes for color. Check every 5 minutes after that. When the nuts are done remove them from the oven and turn off the oven.
- If you skinned and roasted more than 1 cup of nuts, remove all but 1 cup of nuts to a pie plate and let them finish cooling
- Place the sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, let it continue without stirring to boil until it is a golden brown color. Turn off the heat, add the warm nuts, and stir for 15 seconds.
- Dump the nuts onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat. Use two forks to separate the nuts. Allow the nuts to cool. Store them in an airtight container until ready to use.
Chocolate Cookie Crumble
- Make the cookie crumble the same day you assemble the trifles. Take 13 Oreo cookies and twist them a part. Scrape the creme filling off the cookie halves and discard the it. Place the cookie halves in a sealable storage bag and hit them repeatedly with a rolling pin until the cookies are reduced to crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a small bowl.
- Melt the butter either in a small saucepan or in a small bowl in the microwave and pour it over the cookie crumbs. Mix the butter and cookie crumbs together with a fork, lightly tossing the crumbs until all the crumbs are coated with butter. The cookie crumbs should look like wet sand.
- Make the whipped mascarpone the same day you assemble the trifles. Place the cold mascarpone in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the vanilla extract. With a handheld mixer, whip on medium-low speed just until the mascarpone and sugar are combined, about 20 seconds.
- Pour in the heavy cream. Whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Soft peaks are when the beaters stark to leave visible ripples in the mascarpone cream mixture and when you slowly lift the mixer there will be visible peaks that fall over.
- Cover the bowl of whipped mascarpone with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the trifles.
Assembling the Chocolate Mousse Trifles
- The trifle can be assembled in 5 ounces glass or plastic containers that are about 4-inches tall or you can assemble them in a 4-ounce ramekin. They will also look great in a wine or cocktail glass if that is what you have available.
- Spoon two tablespoons of the cookie crumbs into the bottom of the container. If using a slender container use the handle of a butter knife or a muddler to tamp down the crumbs. Next spoon or pipe about 3 tablespoons of the chocolate mousse on top of the cookie crumbs. Next, add another layer of cookie crumbs, don’t tamp down, and more chocolate mousse.
- Add a generous layer of whipped mascarpone. Top the cream with chopped hazelnuts of peanuts. Use a micro planer to grate dark chocolate on top or use a strainer to dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.