These dreamy cookie desserts are luscious, layered spin-offs on a favorite Southern sweet.
Clementine-Gingersnap Trifles Recipe
Recipe: Clementine-Gingersnap TriflesThese pretty little trifles are the perfect way to finish a baby shower or luncheon.
| Credit: Jennifer Davick / Styling Lisa Powell Bailey / Food Styling Marian Cooper Cairns


Store-bought cookies make some of the handiest dessert ingredients around. They'd be perfect, I thought, for a few recipe spins on the beloved trifle. All we'd have to do is swap crispy cookies for the softer cake layer usually found in this Southern dessert. Enter Marian Cooper Cairns, Test Kitchen Professional. With pen, paper, and a few favorite cookies to munch on, she and I imagined the creamy filling, fresh fruit, and whipped cream combos to best play up the shape, style, and flavor personality of our chosen cookies. The results? Splurge-worthy cookie trifles we know you'll want to make for your friends.

Test Kitchen Tips

  1. It's unusual, but we call for the cream to stand at room temperature before whipping.
  2. If it's too cold when folded into the melted chocolate mixtures, the chocolate may harden into tiny pieces.
  3. Layered desserts look like a million bucks in see-through double-wall cups and mugs. You can also use pretty teacups, parfait glasses, iced tea goblets, or small trifle dishes. For a dessert sampling party, prepare mini servings in punch cups.

Bonus: More Tips for "Dreamy, Creamy Cookie Desserts"

  • Our Nutter Butter®-Banana Pudding Trifle, Clementine-Gingersnap Trifle, and Triple Chocolate-Cookie Trifle Pie call for chill time. Written as a range, such as 2 to 24 hours, the numbers indicate the minimum and maximum amount of chill time for the dessert to be at peak flavor and texture.
  • Homemade Whipped Cream to top Nutter Butter®-Cookie Trifle: Make 2 cups sweetened whipped cream by beating 1 cup whipping cream and 2 Tbsp. sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  • The Triple Chocolate-Cookie Trifle Pie was originally tested in a bowl. Our Food staff noted it held its shape and threw out the wild idea to assemble it in a springform pan. Next day, this trifle pie invention was sliced instead of scooped and received our top rating.
  • Budget Matchup
  • Lowest cost: Nutter Butter®-Banana Pudding Trifle. On-hand ingredients are used in the pudding, cookies usually cost less than $3.50, and bananas are a bargain at less than $1 per pound.
  • Moderate spending: Clementine-Gingersnap Trifles. Clementines are sometimes sold individually but are most often available in mesh bags or small wooden crates for $4 to $7. Gingersnaps cost just more than $2. Don't skip the poppy seeds (about $4 a bottle). You'll like them in this recipe as much as in lemon-poppy seed bread.
  • Splurge sensation: Triple Chocolate-Cookie Trifle Pie. It would cost double to buy this style of dessert at a bakery. Allow $15 for chocolate and cookies, $4 for whipping cream, and probably $7 for raspberry garnish. To save money on the garnish, buy one container of raspberries instead of two. Use 10 to 12 arranged near outside edge of pie to garnish each piece. Skip the Raspberry Glaze. Serve remaining berries for guests to add to their servings.