For the cookies:
Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, in a small saucepan over low heat; set aside.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder in a medium mixing bowl to aerate and break up any lumps.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter at medium speed until light in color. Beat in vanilla extract, then add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl; add melted chocolate and mix until smooth.
Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until incorporated. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake until cookies are puffed and set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool to room temperature. (Makes 36 cookies.)
For the chocolate crème anglaise:
Combine cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat.
Whisk together remaining sugar and egg yolks until pale and well incorporated. While constantly whisking, slowly pour in 1/2 of the hot cream. Pour egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan with the hot cream and place over low heat. Stirring constantly, cook mixture until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Melt chocolate over low heat and whisk into crème anglaise. Cool and refrigerate.
For the garnish:
Combine cherries and lambic in a medium bowl, and set aside until cherries rehydrate, about 15 minutes.
Drain cherries and reserve lambic. Whisk lambic and cream together, and beat to form medium peaks; refrigerate until ready to use.
For each serving, break up three cookies and set aside. In a 4- to 5-inch-tall glass (with a 2-1/2- to 3-inch diameter), layer 1/3 of the cookie pieces, a rounded tablespoon of the whipped cream, 1 tablespoon of the crème anglaise, a few soaked cherries, and a bit of the chopped chocolate. Repeat twice to make three complete layers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Note: After assembling your desserts, you’ll have some leftover chocolate cookies. We’re sure you’ll figure out what to do with them!
Beverage pairing: Lindemans Kriek Lambic or Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout.
Beverage pairing: With sinfully rich chocolate desserts, nothing refreshes the palate more than a glass of cool and sweet red bubbly. For this reason we love the Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui. Serve chilled in a champagne flute, and watch that “strata” disappear!
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