Searching for a dessert worthy of your New Year's Eve celebrations? Look no further, because THIS is it. Toffee. Brownie. TRIFLE. Yasss! This beauty is composed of a thick base of gooey toffee brownie chunks, a generous layer of homemade chocolate custard and is finished with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
This pud is gluten-free but definitely not guilt-free, so I recommend squeezing in at least one helping before the inevitable "New Year, New You" feeling kicks in come January. I say 'at least one helping' because, quite frankly, you won't be able to stop yourself from having more. This trifle recipe is also perfect for a party, because it makes A LOT of it (although if you don't want or need to make loads, you could half the recipe). Enjoy!
Specialist Utensils: Heatproof bowl, large mixing bowl, electric hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment (or handheld whisk), rubber spatula or large metal spoon, sieve, wire rack, medium saucepan, handheld whisk, cling film, large trifle or glass serving bowl (or two smaller bowls if you don't have one big enough like me!), grater.
Top Tip #1: This brownie recipe works perfectly with gluten-free flour, plus the rest of the trifle elements (custard and cream) are already gluten-free, so no funky adaptations are needed! The trifle shown in the photos above is completely gluten-free!
Top Tip #2: If you're a little pushed for time on the day of your celebrations, then this dessert is perfect. The brownies and custard can be made up to 3 days before serving and kept in airtight containers in the fridge. All you would need to do on the day of serving is whip up some cream, assemble the layers and grate some chocolate over your finished masterpiece.
Gooey Toffee Brownies
400g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
250g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 large eggs
250g soft dark brown sugar
100g plain flour, sifted (ensure gluten-free if required)
1 teaspoon baking powder (ensure gluten-free if required)
100g milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks
100g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
600ml whole milk
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod (split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out)
6 medium free-range egg yolks
100g caster sugar
400g milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks
20g good quality cocoa powder, sifted (optional - I thought the custard was rich enough without it but you may want to add cocoa powder if you prefer a darker chocolate custard)
600ml double cream
25g dark, milk or white chocolate for grating
Serves: Approx.10-15 people (depending on size of appetites and how many people want seconds!)
1. Make the brownies: Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan). Grease and line the base and sides of a deep 10 inch x 8 inch baking tin (or similar size). Melt 350g of the dark chocolate with all of the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water or in 15 second bursts in the microwave, stirring after each 15 second burst until everything is melted. Stir well and leave to cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs using a hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment (or a handheld whisk and a very strong arm!) until pale and thickened, then whisk in the soft dark brown sugar until the mixture is thick and glossy.
3. Gently fold in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon. Then, sift in the plain flour and baking powder and continue to fold until smooth. Add all of the milk and white chocolate chunks and the rest of the dark chocolate chunks to the batter and mix gently until well combined. Transfer the batter to your lined baking tin, spread evenly and then smooth the top with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.
4. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 minutes until a crust has formed on the top of the batter. The brownies will still be super gooey inside so don't worry if your brownie mixture is quite wobbly when you take it out of the oven. If you prefer more set brownies, bake for a further 5-10 minutes according to your preference.
5. Cool the brownies in the tin on a wire rack. Once cool enough, cover the brownies, still in the tin, in cling film and place in the fridge until ready to assemble the trifle. Because the brownies are so gooey they are best sliced after at least an hour or two in the fridge.
6. Make the custard: Pour the whole milk into a medium saucepan with the vanilla seeds and vanilla pod, or vanilla extract, and place over a low heat until just simmering. Once simmering, remove from the heat.
7. In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld whisk to whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together until pale and creamy. If using, remove the vanilla pod from the warm milk. Then, whisk the warm milk slowly into the egg mixture.
8. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat for 4-5 minutes, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens (it should be very thick). Once thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the custard to a bowl, passing it through a sieve to ensure there are no lumps. Directly cover the surface of the custard with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool. Once cool enough, place in the fridge until ready to assemble the trifle.
9. Prepare for assembly: For the chocolate custard, melt the milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water or in 15 second bursts in the microwave, stirring after each 15 second burst until everything is melted. Remove the custard from the fridge and place in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the melted chocolate into the custard. If using, also whisk in the sifted cocoa powder (this addition is optional - I thought the custard was rich enough without but you may want to add cocoa powder if you prefer a darker chocolate custard).
10. For the whipped cream, place the cream in a large mixing bowl and whisk on medium speed using a hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. As the cream starts to thicken, do NOT get distracted. Watch the cream closely to ensure you don't over-whip it. I unfortunately did not do this and ended up with over-whipped cream. Thankfully, there is an easy way to fix this - add a little extra unwhipped double cream or milk to the cream and gently stir in to take the cream back to soft peaks.
11. Assemble the trifle: Chop the brownies into large chunks and place in the bottom of a large trifle or glass serving bowl. If you don't have a bowl that's big enough, use two as I had to do! Add the chocolate custard as your middle layer and then top with the whipped cream. Finally, grate some chocolate over the cream and TA-DA! Time to eat!
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days if, by some miracle, it hasn't been polished off by then.