Sunday, January 8, 2012

Warm & Fuzzy: Sticky Toffee Pudding with Molasses Sauce

Is it too soon?  Is it too soon to think about making something so decidedly decadent like this sticky toffee pudding?  Most of us probably spent the week removing the clothes from our treadmills and banishing butter from the diet.  Heck I only ate bacon once this week, which is really saying something.  Ah yes, January.  The time to put diet and fitness goals into focus.  Does it count if I ate big, yummy salads everyday, if only to combat the fact that I was also consuming sticky toffee pudding for dessert and sometimes breakfast?  I should feel guilty, but I don't.  Instead, this dessert makes me all warm and fuzzy, like my favourite sweater I reach for on cold Winter mornings.

This was my family's dessert on New Year's Day.  My sister was visiting with her girls, so we had a quiet dinner of Thai take-out after rousing sessions of finger painting and play-dough-plaooza.  I'm not sure who was having more fun - the two and three year-olds, or someone somewhat (okay, considerably) older...I think I need more play dough in my life.  That is all.  My sweet niece Olivia was very excited about assembling the puddings - she was the one that sauced them up for us that night.  I didn't think the kids would go crazy for the pudding and molasses sauce, but hells yeah, they tucked right into it.  Proud Aunty, I was.  But really, I think it was all about the whipped cream on top. 

Sticky toffee pudding is really a moist date cake, (built with a little butter, sugar, flour, an egg and loads of dates) and an incredible toffee sauce.   While considered a modern British classic dessert, you'll find it on  menus everywhere these days.  And I'm not complaining, because I loooove it so.  The cake is a great one - moist and flavourful, and easy to assemble - but the real shining star in this dessert is the toffee sauce, of course. Using molasses rather than golden syrup creates an exquisite, earthy, creamy sauce I now want to pour over everything.

If you don't like dates, don't give up on this recipe - you won't even really notice them.  Promise.  You'll be too busy cooing over the sauce.  Yeah, that's me, still in my flannel jams.  I was on holidays, y'all.

 Butter 8 250 ml (8oz)  ramekins, or butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

Spoon in the batter.

Bake them for about 50 minutes.  Done.

When they are cool enough to remove, plate them up with heaps of sauce and whipped cream. Yum and yum.

In a month when reality looms large, with a mailbox full of bills, and an inbox that requires replies, this may be exactly what you need.  There's always salad tomorrow.

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Molasses Sauce

1/2 cup (125ml) butter (I like salted)
1 cup (250ml) brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp (5ml) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (250ml) all purpose flour
1 tsp (5ml) baking soda
1 tsp (5ml) baking powder
2 cups (500ml) pitted dates, finely minced
1 1/4 cups (300ml) boiling water
1/4 cup (50ml) blackstrap molasses

1 cup (250ml) brown sugar
1/4 cup (50ml) molasses, or treacle
1/2 cup (125ml) cold butter, cubed
2 cups (500ml) whipping cream

Whipped cream for garnish.

To make puddings, in a medium bowl, pour boiling water over chopped dates and 1/4 cup molasses.  Let stand until cool.  Meanwhile, butter 8 oven-proof 250ml (8oz) ramekins or an 8 inch square baking dish.

Cream butter until fluffy.  Add brown sugar and beat until well combined.  In another bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla.  In another bowl, combine flour with baking soda and baking powder.  To the butter mixture, alternately add flour mixture and egg mixture, beating well after each addition.  Stir the cool dates into batter.  Scrape bowl well.  Divide batter evenly into your ramekins, about 2/3 full, or into your baking dish.  Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300*F and bake another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make sauce, combine brown sugar and molasses or treacle in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Boil 1 minute, then whisk in butter, a few cubes a time.  Add cream and boil until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 7-8 minutes.  You should have 2 cups (500 ml) of sauce.

Remove puddings from oven and cool slightly on a rack.  Run a knife around the edge of each ramekin to loosen pudding and invert onto plates.  Serve warm, with the toffee sauce and sweetened whipped cream.  Serves 8.  Adapted from Cinda Chavich's book High Plains.

NOTE:  The sauce make a lot, like almost twice as much as I needed.  So feel free to cut the sauce recipe in half and you should have enough for your puddings.  Or just keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  I'm sure you'll think of something to pour it over - like waffles or pancakes or gingerbread cake.  Yum!


  1. This could easily be classed as the ultimate in comfort foods Renee.

  2. Good Lord! This looks amazing...definitely will try it out sometime soon. Your photos are just gorgeous.

  3. Oh my. I have always wanted to try this recipe. Now I have good reason to.

    Looks fantastic!

  4. agree with everything you say in the first paragraph. I made a chocolate cake pudding yesterday and to make it even richer I added a couple of pieces of chopped Lindt chocolate. This sounds great. I will be my next recipe!!

  5. Warm and fuzzy indeed. Wish I had some right now!

  6. It is never too soon for sticky toffee pudding and these look incredible!

  7. I just want to say "YAY"! I am SO making this on the weekend.

    1. Ok, I've bought the dates, so THIS is my weekend. :)

      I can hardly wait!

    2. Awesome Lori! Enjoy it! After the brutal cold we've suffered through, a treat is definitely in order.

  8. There is literally nothing, nothing better than sticky toffee pudding. Sometimes we go a little kooky and make a salted caramel (or a whiskey caramel) sauce, but most of the time I end up eating the warm pudding straight from the pan. Love it.

  9. Looks like I'm not the only sticky toffee fan :)

  10. happy belated new year renee! hope you've had a great time (looks like you did!) and settling back into normal routine (yes like bills and diet! :))

    i love love love dates and but not baked with them you can imagine my excitement when i saw your photo full of dates! looks like such decadent dessert...esp with the rich dark sauce...divine :D

  11. Yummmm- I've never made my own sticky toffee pudding but Austin has a local company that makes a scrumptious version. Yours definitely looks like it's worth all the salads needed to make up for those decadent calories!

  12. Happy New Year Viv! Nice to hear from you again :) Hope you are having a blast on your travels. Yeah, dates are fun to bake with. Watch out for more! Shelley - it's so worth every calorie!

  13. Oh wow, this looks amazing. I've never made sticky toffee pudding, but I think I am going to give it a go next time I have a dinner party!

  14. ummmm... oh yeah!
    I miss Sticky Toffee Pudding so much since I left England. I really haven't had a good one here yet. I find most restaurants try to modernize and fancy it up and it's not the same. Yours looks gorgeous though and I love the idea of a molasses based toffee sauce. I must try it. (ps. it was YEARS before I realized that it was made of dates - so, yeah, you really don't notice them!)

  15. This looks so delicious!! I think I just licked the screen:) Just came across your blog and I love it:)

  16. I think your blog is really cute, and was excited to try this recipe. I'm sorry to say that it failed miserably for me. Half a batch (no substitutions) was enough to fill not 4, but 6 ramekins about 2/3 of the way--which I thought was probably underfilling, given the directions--but this was way too full, and all of them overflowed, coating the bottom of my oven in burnt goop. Additionally, the batter is too sweet to my taste.

    What I remember liking about this dessert is that the fluffy texture of the cake facilitates absorbing the sauce well. Maybe this is a different kind of STP, but I can't imagine this absorbing anything in any incarnation. (Then again, some of the density of my cakes was probably related to the overflow. So sad.) Also, I've found that I prefer the flavor of golden syrup to molasses in the sauce.

    I don't think my ramekins are smaller than yours, but it's possible--perhaps others would be able to avoid similar calamities if the size of the ramekin and how full it should be were specified.

    Next time, I'm just going to lick the screen. Fewer dishes to wash that way, anyway.

  17. Special K, sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience. The ramekins I used are 250ml (8oz) in size. Perhaps yours are smaller. I do not recommend cutting the cake recipe in half, as it only has 1 egg, and it's my experience that cutting recipes in half that only have one egg is tricky business. Perhaps that was the issue. I only stated that if you wanted less sauce hanging around in the fridge, you could cut the sauce recipe in half. Appropriate ramekin sizes have bee noted in the recipe. I've been preparing this recipe for the past 7 years and believe me, it absorbs all kinds of saucy goodness! Sorry to hear about your oven, and thanks for letting me know about your experience.

  18. Where does the first amount of molasses go?

    1. Thanks for catching my error! It goes with the chopped dates and boiling water. So glad you asked :)


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