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Chocolate SPLURGE Trifle

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I’m known for my good eating habits. (thank you Captain Obvious). But being a foodie and having gone to cooking school, I can’t be good ALL the time! And neither can you!! I found this recipe in a recent Food and Wine magazine that my friend Cathy Arkle gave me. Many of you know her as my cooking school buddy with the fantastic food blog.
I saw it and thought, “MAN, I’d love to make this for a party.” I’d never make it just for myself…because I’d eat it. All. Luckily, my monthly “gourmet” pot luck was coming up! This is an ongoing monthly dinner thrown by my friends Paul and Diane down in Manhattan Beach. If you’re not in California, Manhattan Beach is like the west coast Hamptons. If I could move there now, I would do it in a heartbeat. But, I digress….

Every month, Paul and Diane come up with a main course and/or dinner concept. Then those of us who are on the invite list (yes, it’s invitation only!), make suggestions for appetizers, sides, salads and desserts. I sent in a few healthy sides and this trifle recipe. Guess what they asked for?! I was thrilled!!

A typical trifle is a layered dessert that has cake and whipped cream. It’s English in origin. Many contain wine of some kind and some fruit. So this is trifle at loosest definition. It’s a layered decadent dessert. Call it whatever you like, just make it for your friends. They’ll want you to make it for every event!

The ingredients are pretty straightforward. The chocolate pudding is really more of a mouse-thick and luscious. You can choose whatever type cookie you’d like. I’m a huge fan of the chocolate peanut butter combo.

Chocolate Cookie Crunch Trifle
(Recipe by Tiffany MacIsaac, owner of Washington DC’s Buttercream Bakeshop)

Active Time: 50 minutes (plus about 3 hours chilling time)
Serves 8-10

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Ingredients:
Pudding:
2C heavy cream
2C whole milk
1C granulated sugar
¼ C cornstarch
¼ C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
6oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (1 ½ C) I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. Worked like a charm!!
1 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp kosher salt

Whipped Cream:
2C heavy cream, chilled
½ C confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt

4C coarsely chopped crunchy cookies, chocolate chips, peanut butter, oatmeal, etc.

What To Do:

Make the pudding in a medium saucepan. Combine 1 ¾ cups of the heavy cream with the milk and granulated sugar and bring to a bare simmer over moderately low heat, stirring every soften. About 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the cornstarch and the cocoa powder into a medium bowl, then whisk in the eggs and the remaining ¼ C of heavy cream to form a smooth paste.
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Gradually whisk 1 C of the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture, then scrape the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5-10 minutes.
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Put the chopped chocolate (or chips) in a heatproof bowl and set a fine sieve over it. Strain the pudding over the chocolate and let stand about 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth then whisk in the butter and the salt. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.

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Make the whipped cream in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat the heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and salt until firm, about 5 minutes.

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In a 3 quart trifle bowl, make at least 2 layers each of chocolate pudding, whipped cream and chopped cookies. Serve.

Everyone really loved it. So did I, which is why I couldn’t take it home! Not that there was much left…

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