We're well into our second day of dark and stormy weather and believe you me, I'm not complaining a bit. What it means is the sound of rain on the roof, high surf and an excuse to light a fire in the fireplace and cuddle up with the woofs and a good book. Of course that's assuming I can even get the fire started in the first place. After 3 tries yesterday I managed success only to have the sun come out at the exact moment; however, the sunshine didn't last and thankfully my fire did so all was well.
I also took the opportunity to do a little thinking outside the box and came up with the idea of making desserts that I love in individual servings, so I can enjoy 'em on my own time. Remember the little cheesecakes we served at our last big student bash? Yup, kinda' like that only different.
Course we've enjoyed individual sticky toffee puddings before but I happen to be out of the aluminum foil cups I'd used previously and for the sake of being green especially since Oregon's green in more ways than one, I figured I'd try making them in small jam jars.
Sprayed with cooking spray then filled half way with the extra moist date filled batter, the eight little beauties hit the oven for a mere 30 minutes. After a few minutes cooling time, I poked some holes in 'em with a chopstick then poured a few tablespoons of rich buttery toffee sauce on top and left them alone about as long as I could stand it.
As for serving, you've a couple of options so I tried them both - topped with a little more sauce, you can eat it right out of the jar or if you happen to be an ice cream/sauce freak like I am, run a knife around the inside of the jar and flip your puddin' out into a bowl. Add more sauce and a scoop of vanilla and I guarantee you'll be licking your lips.
As for me, I divided the rest of the sauce between the other 7 individual delights, put the lids on and shoved them into the freezer so whenever I can no longer ignore their siren song, I'll take the lid off one and pop the jar in the microwave for a minute so I can and enjoy it in all its warm and gooey spendor. I'm already thinking about the b'zillion other possibilities in my future too, especially since Big Guy's not much of a dessert fan and it's my job to make up for his shortcomings, right?
Incidentally, don't fill the jar any more than half full because the puddings expand as they cook and you'll want to leave as much room at the top as you can for sauce. Just sayin'.
Sticky Toffee Pudding (Adapted from David Lebovitz)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add brown sugar and stir well to combine. Add cream, bring to a boil stirring constantly, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Stir in vanilla.
6 ounces pitted dates, chopped
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8 eight ounce jam jars with cooking spray and place in a rimmed baking dish.
Combine dates and water in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling, then remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl with a mixer or by hand, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat well. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in half the flour, then all of the date mixture, followed by the rest of the flour. Stir just until combined. Do not overmix.
Fill prepared jars no more than half full and bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool to lukewarm. Poke holes into puddings with a chopstick. Pour approximately 2 tablespoons of warm sauce over each pudding. Serve pudding topped with more warm sauce directly from the jar, or flip out into a bowl and serve with ice cream on the side. To store, top puddings with lids and refrigerate for a few days, or freeze for up to 6 months. To reheat from frozen, remove lid and place jar in microwave. Heat for 1 minute or until warmed through.
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