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One Decadent Valentine Day Treat

One Decadent Valentine Day Treat
Today, The Baby Cubby is extremely pleased to be featuring Amanda from Sprinkle & Dash! She is a fabulously talented artist whose creations look amazing and have the flavor to match! So, who is Amanda? She is someone who is driven by two things: that she gets to do what she loves every day and she gets to make people happy - "and what better way than to do that through their stomachs?" No truer words, Amanda! She also loves running her Sprinkle & Dash because of all the amazing connections she gets to make - family, friends, clients, you name it - Amanda loves meeting them all. Finally, what is this baker's favorite baked good? Amanda says, "There is nothing better than a perfectly made warm chocolate chip cookie, slightly salty, with dark chocolate chips, fresh out of the oven." Who can ever disagree with that? Well my lovely friends, Amanda was kind enough to treat us to a great recipe for an absolutely decadent Valentine treat to make for your loved ones on Valentine's Day (or have them make for you - *hint hint*). Enjoy!
Peanut butter + jelly, Huckleberry + Finn, Sonny + Cher, Romeo + Juliet, all some of the most perfect parings in the universe. A perfect match. Well, this valentines day add to that list chocolate + raspberry, because YUM. These trifles are sure to please the people you love most on the day you get to celebrate them. Dense fudge brownies, silky chocolate custard, and juicy tart berries all layered with fresh whipped cream make up a decadent and special Valentine's Day treat. I love making these trifles in individual dishes for special dinners, but if you'd rather it will work just fine in a standard sized trifle dish.
There are a few steps to this recipe but the good news is it can all be prepared ahead of time and can be assembled quickly.
For the Brownies: 
2 sticks butter
 8 oz good quality semisweet chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 large eggs
1/3 cups unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 metal baking pan by lining it with foil and spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Melt butter and chocolate over low heat; stirring till smooth. Add one cup of sugar to hot chocolate mixture. Remove from heat and cool till lukewarm. Whisk in remaining one cup of sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Stir in salt and cocoa powder. Lastly, add flour until it disappears (don't over mix) and spread dough into the prepared pan. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, or with moist crumbs. Cool brownies to room temperature and remove from pan by holding foil edges. Cut in to small bite sized pieces and set aside. Can be made up to 2 days in advance.
For the Custard:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 pinch salt
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
5oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, mix together granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in 3/4 cup milk.  
In a large saucepan, bring remaining 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup cream to a boil over medium heat. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into cocoa mixture. Return it all to saucepan.
Cook this mixture over medium heat, whisking gently, until slightly thickened: about 2 minutes. (A simmering bubble or two is O.K., but do not let it boil.)  
In a medium heat-resistant bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, very slowly dribble about half the cocoa-milk mixture into yolks until fully combined. Then, pour the remaining yolk mixture into saucepan with the cocoa-milk mixture, whisking constantly.  
Cook, whisking occasionally, over medium-low heat until thick: about 5 minutes. (Do not let mixture come to a simmer. If pan begins to steam thickly, remove from heat for a few moments and stir well before continuing.) Let cool slightly.  
In a separate pan, melt 5 ounces chopped chocolate with butter. Stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool this chocolate-vanilla mix for about 5 minutes, then fold into the thickened egg mixture. Place plastic wrap directly against pudding (to prevent a skin from forming), and chill until set: about 3 hours. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.
For the Whipped Cream: 
2 cups heavy cream (preferably not ultra pasteurized)
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, beat heavy cream with electric beaters, until bubbly, add sugar and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Chill until ready to use.
Assembly directions:  Fit a layer of brownie squares in bottom of trifle glasses. Top with a thick layer of custard, a third of the whipped cream and a third of the raspberries. Repeat layering until all ingredients have been used. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 24 hours before serving. Top with additional raspberries or shaved chocolate.
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