This post is sponsored by the National Peanut Board. I received compensation, but all opinions and content are my own. Peanut butter and pumpkin combine in this luscious, creamy dessert packed with everybody’s favorite holiday treats and cookies. This large format dessert is perfect for holiday festivities like Friendsgivings, Christmas dinners and more—jump to the recipe!
This November, Erlend and I have been invited to a grand total of FIVE Friendsgiving celebrations! This is quite the change from prior years, in which we celebrated Thanksgiving with just the two of us. I am equal parts excited and stressed out—it’s a LOT of big dinners to get through, but I am confident we will survive (with the help of some stretchy pants, lol).
As the baker amongst my friends, I’ve been assigned to bring dessert to all five potluck dinners. Some of my friends have given me specific instructions like, “Bring the apple pie that was in your cookbook please; it was so good when you made it last month.” Others have given me vaguer ones like, “Make a dessert with sweet potatoes in it” and “I don’t know, bring whatever you want. I trust you; you wrote a cookbook after all.” At the end of the day, I was left responsible for three pies (apple, pumpkin and pecan, for those curious), a sweet potato dessert (which I will be posting on the blog shortly, I promise!) and a dessert of my own choosing.
Naturally, I was most excited about getting to choose the dessert. Because as you guys already know, pie is not my favorite thing to make (even with my weeknight baking secrets, it’s still a lot of working with finnicky dough). And between you and me, when I do opt for pie, I am more of a summer fruit pie type of gal, preferring the pies made of fresh berries and stone fruit than the ones made with apples and nuts. I also think that most Thanksgiving meals should end with something light and creamy. What’s light, creamy and crowd-pleasing?
Why, this peanut butter pumpkin trifle. Hello.
Peanut butter desserts always crush it on my blog—you guys went bonkers for this peanut butter and jelly layer cake and this chocolate peanut butter cake from earlier this year. I figured I’d apply what I learned from you guys to real life and bring a peanut butter dessert to please all my friends. And besides that, I’m always impressed by how versatile peanut butter actually is. In my household, not only is it a staple ingredient in breakfast, lunch, and snacks (I mean, you get 8 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber for every 2 tablespoons—that’s a pretty good deal), but I’m using it a LOT in my dessert recipes these days too. I ended up experimenting and combined peanut butter with a classic fall flavor, pumpkin and ginger snap cookies. It was a perfect combination for a festive Friendsgiving celebration.
Peanut Butter Trifle
The best part about this trifle? Although it looks super fancy and impressive, it was actually the easiest recipe to make among the five desserts I was assigned to make. This is thanks to the instant pudding mix in the recipe—simply combine the peanut butter, milk, brown sugar and instant pudding mix in the bowl, mix, and you’ve got a creamy, luscious peanut butter pudding:
After you make the peanut butter pudding, repeat the same process, this time swapping out the peanut butter with pumpkin puree. The pumpkin puree is a little bit thinner, so you’ll also need to make whipped cream to fold it into the pumpkin puree (see my baker’s notes for more information). Next comes the fun part—gather everything you’ll be using in your trifle (I used peanut butter cups and ginger snap cookies!), and build your parfait by alternating generous scoops of peanut butter pudding, pumpkin pudding, peanut butter cups and ginger snaps:
See what I mean? I told you it was easy as pie (except easier, because that expression actually doesn’t make a whole lot of sense—pie is hard to make!). Check out my tips below for even more ways to customize this recipe. Now it’s your turn to spread the peanut butter love—share your favorite peanut butter recipe in the comments with the hashtag #HowDoYouPB, and check out this page for even more delicious peanut butter recipes for every occasion.
Peanut Butter Pumpkin Trifle Recipe Tips
- Don’t be alarmed if you find that, when making this recipe, the peanut butter pudding is MUCH thicker than the pumpkin pudding recipe. That’s on purpose! I love the contrasting textures between two puddings—it helps you really taste the difference between the two puddings. The pumpkin pudding will also take longer to set than its peanut butter counterpart; I recommend making both puddings the day before assembling the trifle itself and allowing both puddings to “set” overnight in the fridge. That will help bring the pumpkin pudding to the right consistency for folding into the whipped cream, and keep the cookies crisp for serving. Alternatively, you can also assemble everything the night before serving to soften up the cookies to a more cake-like texture
- I don’t know about your friends, but plenty of mine are vegan, gluten-free, or even both these days! The good news is that this dessert can easily be made both. Make it vegan by using canned coconut milk (well-shaken) instead of milk; make it gluten-free by using gluten-free ginger snaps. Easy as pie (OMG, I said it again)!
Get the Recipe: Peanut Butter Pumpkin Trifle Recipe
For the Peanut Butter Pudding
- 3 cups 24 ounces whole milk
- 1 ½ cups 14.25 ounces creamy peanut butter
- 2 3.4 ounces boxes vanilla instant pudding mix
- ¼ cup tightly packed, 1.85 ounces dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Pumpkin Pudding
- 1 12 ounce bag mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped and sliced into halves
- 1 10 ounce box ginger snap cookies
- 1 cup 8 ounces heavy cream
- Special Equipment: a trifle bowl
For the Peanut Butter Pudding
- In a medium bowl, combine the milk, peanut butter, instant pudding mix, sugar, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to mix together until thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. The pudding will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For the Pumpkin Pudding
- In a medium bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, instant pudding mix, sugar, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to mix together until thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set.
- After an hour, make the whipped cream. Pour the heavy cream into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the pumpkin pudding from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Scoop around ½ cup (there’s no need to be precise, you can just eyeball it!) of the pumpkin pudding into the whipped cream and use a rubber spatula to fold the pudding into the cream. Repeat until no pudding remains and you’re left with a light and creamy pumpkin pudding cream. Use immediately.
- Reserve about ¼ cup of both the peanut butter cups and cookies for garnish.
- Place a third of the remaining cookies in the bottom of the trifle bowl; top with a third of the remaining peanut butter cups. Spoon a third of the peanut butter pudding over the top, followed by the pumpkin pudding. Repeat layers twice.
- Pour the heavy cream into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the whipped cream over the pudding, covering it completely. Garnish with reserved peanut butter cups and cookies. Serve immediately.