Special equipment: 1 (12 to 16 cup) glass trifle bowl or 12 to 16 individual small trifle bowls
Whip the cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Whip in the almond extract and confectioners'sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over whip, the cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.
When completely cool, use your hands to crumble the brownies into smaller pieces. In a glass trifle bowl, layer in the following order: crumbled brownies, about 1 1/2 cups pudding, 1 1/2 crumbled toffee bars, about 1 3/4 cups whipped cream. Repeat the layers in the same order. Save the last 2 toffee bars to crumble and sprinkle on top before serving.
For individual small trifle bowls, layer in the following order: crumbled brownie, pudding, crushed chocolate covered toffee bars and whipped cream.
Garnish with more crumbled toffee bars. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
For your brownie batter, melt your butter in a medium (or large) heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.
While the butter is melting, whisk your natural cocoa powder, sea salt and sugar in a separate bowl. (The sugar and salt will work as abrasive agents to get any lumps out of the cocoa.) Whisk the cocoa/sugar/salt combo into the melted butter. Continue to whisk the ingredients together in the bowl over the simmering water until the sugar has dissolved fully. The mixture should look like fudge and pull away from the bowl into a ball. Remove from the heat and set on a dishtowel on your counter, and allow the fudgy mixture to cool down until it's warm, but not hot anymore.
While that is cooling, line the bottom and sides of your 9 by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil. You want to leave about 4 inches of overhang on the 2 opposite sides. These serve as your handles to remove the brownies from the pan in 1 piece, so make sure that there is enough of the overhang for you to have a solid grip. Grease the parchment or foil well.
Stir in the vanilla into the cooled fudge mixture to loosen it up. Add the eggs into the mixture 1 at a time, adding the second egg after the first egg is fully incorporated. The batter should look shiny and well blended. Add in your flour and stir it until it's fully incorporated. Once it looks fully blended, beat the batter vigorously for at least 45 strokes. This'll not only get out any pent up stress, but it will make the brownies chewy. Fold in your chocolate chips. Spread the very thick and fudgy brownie batter evenly in the lined pan with an offset spatula or your greased hands.
Pop the brownies in the oven and bake until they get a nice crust and your house smells like brownies, 30 to 35 minutes. Let them cool completely on a rack or a dishtowel on your counter.
Whisk the sugar, cocoa powder and flour in a bowl until there are no lumps. Crack the eggs into the bowl, add the yolks and whisk into a paste. Slowly whisk in 1 cup milk until fully incorporated. Then whisk in the remaining 1 cup milk. Put the milk mixture into a saucepan and put over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it starts to look like pudding. It will begin to bubble and it will hold soft peaks when you lift the whisk out. Take off the heat and cool to room temperature.
Cook's Note: To prevent a skin from forming, cover the pudding with plastic wrap, pressing down directly on the surface of the pudding. Poke a few holes throughout to allow to cool to room temperature.
Recipe courtesy of Anne Thornton