Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sticky Toffee Pudding, How I Love Thee

Finally, a moment to blog. Woohoo!

June and July were a tad bit busy, I'd say. Conference planning and executing, family visits, and a spontaneous trip to the UK - that's what we've been up to. And of course we caught a wee cold on the other side of the 10+ hour flight home, so we're recovering, to say the least.

But it's good to be home and so good to be able to share one of our family's most favorite desserts: Sticky Toffee Pudding. The picture isn't great, but believe me, it's yummy! We first met this fine British dish at a Bible study group some 6 years ago. All I knew is that it was rich, delectable, and from Bristol Farms grocery store. Then a few months later, I was watching Food Network, and there was a feature on a Haagen-Dazs "new flavor" competition, where this Asian chick won for her Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream. Find it, it's amazing...Aw, man. I just looked it up and they say the discontinued the flavor. What?!?

Ok, all the more reason to make this recipe and eat it with vanilla ice cream. You'll know what I mean if you try it.

What is it, you ask? A moist sticky cake that is drenched in toffee sauce. It's sweet, sticky, and toffee-ey. And it's made with dates. Strange, I know. But when you bite into these Medjool dates, it's like biting into brown sugar. No wonder dates are often wrapped in bacon for appetizers. The sweet and salty combo is irresistible.

I got inspired to make this at home (and got the recipe) from, who got the recipe from Martha Stewart, of course! And, I was surprised at how easy it was. Here we go:

Start by chopping up those sticky Medjool dates. I found them at Sprouts, our local grocery that has lots of healthy foods and bins of grains and dried fruits. But if you can't find them, regular dates will work too. After they are chopped, they are a big sticky glob - soak it all in a cup of strong black coffee. Yum. Prep a baking dish by buttering and flouring it.

Then we start the batter. Brown sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, flour, baking powder, baking soda...nothing out of the ordinary. Add the coffee-date mixture, and it's done! Throw it in the oven and while you wait, you make the toffee sauce. Oh yes!

Equal parts brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter. What trio could possibly be better??? You let it melt and boil until it gets thick and syrupy.

When the cake is done, and you can get a clean skewer in and out of it, keep poking holes in the surface so that we can get as much sauce soaked in there as possible!

And then, you pour half of the glorious toffee sauce over the cake. It should look like this...

It can be left at room temperature until it's ready to be served, then warm it back up in the oven, scoop it up into portions, top it with vanilla ice cream, and pour more toffee sauce on top of that. You cannot go wrong with this dessert. Seriously. Plate-licking will happen.

Next time, I may make them in individual ramekins. You can also use a shallower dish and cut it into squares. Do yourself a favor and make this stuff. It's so good, that we ordered it at every restaurant in England (that had it on the menu). Cheers! To happy pudding-makin'!