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Recipe: sticky toffee pudding

Several months ago, I met up with Manisha and Kitt for the first time. We had a food blogger food- and photo-fest at The Kitchen in Boulder. I don’t typically dig on dessert despite making dessert (what seems like) all of the time, but I am always curious to see how restaurants make and plate their desserts, so I am usually willing to split an order with my companions. We agreed on the sticky toffee pudding, something I had heard raves about from others who have dined at The Kitchen. Rich. Delicious. I’m not a big chocolate fan, but I will shove little old ladies out of the way for toffee (not really, but you get my point).

i like dates, dried dates, lunch dates, ski dates, play dates…

I was perusing The Kitchen’s website the other day, in search of their phone number to make a reservation for my dear Kell’s visit in April (she’s coming allllll the way from Oz!) when I noticed a recipes link. Huh. Click. Click click. Click. STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING?! You know I had to try it.

choped dates in the food processor

The recipe instructions are a little amusing. I snorted/laughed to myself when I read the “in a separate food processor” bit, because we all have multiple stand mixers and food processors lying about, right? The batter for the cake (pudding? sorry – I am British Commonwealth culture-stupid) comes together easily, although I didn’t have muffin tins that I trust. Instead, I used a couple of ramekins, a couple of brioche tins, and then a bunch of mini muffin tins. I like variety.

folding the date mixture into the batter

Because of my elevation, I went ahead and adjusted the temperature by increasing it 15°F. I had naively filled the mini muffin molds to 3/4 full and that resulted in several mini muffin bases all joined together with the amorphous muffin top the shape of North America. The ramekins bubbled over onto the baking sheet (2/3 full), and the brioches (1/2 full) were perfect – except all of these stuck like a mother to their respective vessels. I let them cool before gently prying them out with a thin knife. They came out a tad shaggy, but that didn’t matter so much.

time for the precious sauce

I trimmed the mini muffins with a knife for presentation purposes, but realized as soon as I ladled the caramel sauce onto the pudding, that all cosmetic imperfections were lost in the shellac of sticky goodness. The brioche forms were the prettiest. Since I turned them upside down, even the craters in the middle of the ramekin cakes were inconsequential.

make sure that caramel sauce is warm

Of course, I had to top it with a little scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream (Lebovitz, you are the best!). My first bite was more heavenly than I recalled from The Kitchen. After all of the swearing coming from the kitchen while I manhandled the little cakes, suddenly silence… and then an audible, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!” and “Ooooooooh my gawwwwwwwwwd! That is the shit!” Rarely am I ever so enthusiastic about a sweet.

the brioche tin form

I recommend, if you ever serve this, to serve it in a large bowl or plate with a high rim, because 1) you want a puddle of caramel sauce and 2) the large area of the dish catches all of the drips that would otherwise end up on someone’s clothes or your furniture. And like I instructed above, serve the caramel sauce warm. As noted on The Kitchen’s website, this recipe is great anytime of year, but I cannot wait to serve it around the winter holidays. I have to give the rest away soon or else I know I will eat them.

a mini muffin version, no bigger than a silver dollar

yes, please

Sticky Toffee Pudding
[print recipe]
slightly modified from The Kitchen

12 large dried dates
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp espresso or strong coffee
1/2 tsp baking soda (reduce to 1/4 tsp at 8500 ft.)
3/4 cup boiling water
5 tbsps butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup self-rising flour
pinch of salt

caramel sauce
8 oz. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup pecans
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350ºF (365°F at 8500 ft.). Discard seeds from dates; chop dates with a sharp knife. Place in a food processor with vanilla extract, espresso, and baking soda. Pulse for a few seconds until slightly blended, then slowly add boiling water, pulsing until completely blended. In a separate food processor, blend butter with sugar for at least 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Transfer mixture to a bowl and fold in flour a little at a time, and pinch of salt. Fold wet date mixture into butter-flour mixture. Pour into 4-ounce muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden and fairly firm. [Jen’s Note: don’t fill the tins, at least when I did, they rose quite a bit and some bubbled over – how annoying, but that may be my elevation. I suggest fill 2/3 full. Also, my baking times at my elevation for mini muffins: 15 minutes, 4-inch brioche tins: 20 minutes, and 4-inch ramekins: 24 minutes.] Remove from tins before serving [Jen’s Note: these are sticky buggers, they stick to the pan]. To make caramel sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in brown sugar until emulsified. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes. Once sugar is dissolved, add heavy cream and stir in nuts. Serve warm sauce over pudding, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

41 nibbles at “”

  1. Adrienne says:

    i’m supposed to work on the reference list for my thesis this weekend, but i’m gonna find a way to make sticky toffee pudding. your pictures just look heavenly! i’m sure my husband won’t mind the 2 ft piles of journal articles in our living room for a little while longer.

  2. Kim says:

    These look delish and I’m so jealous you have such a great restaurant in your area!

    I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now and I’m enjoying it immensely, both the recipes and posts about your life. Oh, and the photos, which are amazing. It’s giving me a glimpse of what life is like in an area of the country totally different from my own and it sounds wonderful! :)

  3. Caitlin says:

    Killing me. Just killing me. My hour run has now simultaneously doubled (to be able to eat vast quantities of this) and been eliminated (so I have the time to make it). Decisions, decisions…

  4. Adrienne, too says:

    Um, hello. That looks amazing. Now I have to find some dates…

  5. Marija says:

    Hi hi :) I like dates too!

  6. Pearl says:

    Oh i want to make!

  7. Irene says:

    Whoa, mamma! *Swoosh* <– that was the sound of me running to the kitchen SO FAST to make these.

  8. Rosa says:

    That pudding looks mighty scrumptious! A luscious dessert!



  9. Phoo-D says:

    I never thought of using dates in a sticky toffee pudding, but I like all kinds of dates too so I bet it would be great! The final photos are making me crave a bite. Yum.

  10. Culinary Wannabe says:

    This is really a pretty interesting combo, and not very much like the only other version I’ve tried. But the pictures look fantastic (no difficulties to be seen!), and you description is definitely a selling point! The sauce alone looks to-die-for!

  11. Laura [What I Like] says:

    I’m with you on being less than interested in dessert but making it often…I’ve always loved David Lebovitz’s version of sticky toffee pudding (my resident brit approves) but I’m loving your addition of pecans and butter for the sauce (I just used really amazing dark brown sugar and cream…hard to go wrong there!). I’ll have to give this a try.

  12. Memoria says:

    Is there a substitute for the dates?

    I love how every time you complain about a mishap in the baking or preparing a dish, the result still comes out perfectly. My baking/cooking disasters, on the other hand, are the real deal and cannot be doctored. Hence, the reason I do not have a food blog lol. :)

  13. Kate says:

    I love the mini muffins — they look like just the perfect lovely little dessert. My issue with sticky toffee pudding is the OMG SWEET!ness of it, but just a bit would be perfect.

  14. Jen C says:

    My diabetic husband loves you… his pancreas…. not so much :)

  15. haya (living and learning) says:

    holy crap. yum. that’s all i’ve got! you are some kind of baking wizard. i am in awe of all the tasty things you put out AND that you also manage to deal with the elevation issue that befuddles so many! rock on.

  16. jo says:

    I love sticky toffee pudding. To me this is comfort food that makes you want to snuggle up on the sofa in front of the telly.

  17. Manggy says:

    Ah! I actually have STP sitting around in my to-post list! The flavor and process are both a little different from yours, though, but it goes without saying that your version looks just as fantastic (if not more). It was my first time to use both dates and eat STP (I think I overbaked it because I was never convinced it was done, but next time I’ll underbake it so it’s reaalllly sticky), but it is quite a revelation isn’t it? “The shit” indeed :) Hey, if you get a bunch of extra food processors, be sure to send one my way, lol :)

  18. Mrs Ergül says:

    Sticky toffee pudding? I ought to try this the next time I see it on the menu of a reputable restaurant! I like dates too, but not the dried kind!

    take care Jen!

  19. Jenn says:

    My best friend (he’s my husband) and I were immensely fortunate to live in Australia for 7+ years. When I came across “Sticky Date Pudding” I was sure I had died and gone to dessert heaven. I love dates, but even people who think they don’t like dates, will love this. I have to make myself NOT make it as i too will consume the entire thing without the blink of an eye. The groans of sheer pleasure emmanating from the kitchen are nearly x-rated!!
    Have your Aussie friend make a lamb roast while here…..also unbelievable!


  20. Nirmala says:

    hi Jen, even though I read u’re blog rgularly first time leaving a comment. I have made this once but without the sauce and wait don’t give that look. Now I understand how much I have missed without that sauce. But the cake was wonderful on its own.

  21. Maja says:

    And just when i shipped all cakepops made from a week old muffins to my boyfriend’s coworkers you hit me with this! And the sauce has to be warm … how will i be able to en-fatten others … oh, never mind, they do have a microwave oven at work … it’s doable … now all i have to do is forget about it until i get some other work done. :)

  22. Patricia Scarpin says:

    That is amazing, Jen – I’m not a huge fan of dates, but like them in baked goods. And I feel the same about toffee – move over, everyone! :D
    I laughed so hard with you – it reminded me of an episode of Seinfeld in which George does something similar to one (maybe 2? It’s been a while since I last watched it) old lady.

  23. Margie says:

    This is a keeper!

  24. Aran says:

    that sounds like such a sinful and irresistible dessert!

  25. Binsy says:

    How about instead of prying them loose from the ramekins, just leave them be, scoop out a small hole and pour in caramel sauce? Putting the ice cream on top might be a problem. I wonder if this method would work.

  26. barbara says:

    Sounds amd looks wonderful.

  27. Melissa says:

    (not really, but you get my point)

    Oh you know you totally do that.

  28. Jess says:

    Oh wow. This is one of my favourite indulgent desserts. You’ve made it look so easy!

  29. Jess says:

    P.S. I’m Canadian, can you tell? ;)

  30. Lori says:

    Oh my gawd is right. I really have to try this!

  31. MysticMeg says:

    Sugar Shock!!!!!!! Not an everynight dish. Love your! Dates are an acquired taste for a knowlegeable palate.

  32. peabody says:

    One of my all time favorites. Yours looks so good Jen.
    I love the use of the brioche mold, I will have to start doing that more! Clever thinking girl.

  33. jenyu says:

    Adrienne – oops! Good luck finishing the thesis. It took me forever to finish mine :)

    Kim – thanks! That’s really sweet of you to say. Of course, I’m not going to post about picking up dog poo in the yard ;) hee hee

    Caitlin – good on ya, girl. Keep running. Make little desserts ;)

    Adrienne – it’s nice that dates are available year-round. I usually get mine from the grocery store (hope you can find some!)

    Marija – hee, yay!

    Pearl – it’s really not that hard (and soooo good)

    Irene – awesome!

    Rosa – very very indulgent, but if it’s small, it must be better for ya ;)

    Phoo-D – thanks!

    Culinary Wannabe – thank you :) It’s the only toffee pudding I’ve ever tried. Hmm, now I’ll have to look for others!

    Laura – oh, perhaps I should try David’s recipe. He rocks.

    Memoria – not sure as I am not terribly familiar with toffee pudding to start with. Perhaps prunes?

    Kate – yes, VERY sweet. I mean, who adds vanilla ice cream to CUT the sweetness? :)

    Jen – oh noes!

    Haya – aw, thanks :) The altitude can be a source of lots of cussing!

    Jo – It’s good stuff, but it makes me almost pass out from the sugar high.

    Mark – oh, so that’s where the sticky comes from? it is pretty sticky. if i have extra cuisinarts, i will let you know, hon :)

    Mrs. E – you can’t even tell they’re in the pudding! cool, huh?

    Jenn – I know, I like dates, but hubby isn’t a fan ad he loves the pudding!

    Nirmala – no worries. it’s a great cake on it’s own. it’s totally different with the sauce. i dare not eat the sauce on its own – veeeeeery dangerous :)

    Maja – you’re bf’s coworkers will love you!

    Patricia – ha ha, we’d be a force to reckon with over toffee! yes, I miss those Seinfeld episodes with George and his abominable behavior ;)

    Margie – thank!

    Aran – definitely! That’s why I have to make them small and give the rest away :)

    Binsy – You could, but the presentation wouldn’t be as nice and you couldn’t get nearly as much sauce on it :)

    Barbara – thank you, dear.

    Melissa – doh! *sheepish grin*

    Jess – thanks :)

    Lori – it’s goooooood stuff. Hope you like it!

    MysticMeg – yes, I quite fell in love with dates years ago in Death Valley (of all places!)

    Peabody – thanks sweetie! Clever? Maybe not – that was the hardest one to unmold :(

  34. VeggieGirl says:

    Oh my, YES YES YES please!!! :-D

  35. jenyu says:

    VeggieGirl – :)

  36. Recipe Hit List: 10 Tempting Sweet Treats : says:

    […] Sticky Toffee PuddingI don’t typically dig on dessert despite making dessert (what seems like) all of the time, but I am always curious to see how restaurants make and plate their desserts, so I am usually willing to split an order with my companions. We agreed on the sticky toffee pudding, something I had heard raves about from others who have dined at The Kitchen. Rich. Delicious. I’m not a big chocolate fan, but I will shove little old ladies out of the way for toffee (not really, but you get my point). Recipe found at Use Real Butter. […]

  37. Deb says:

    My son is the pastry chef at The Kitchen. We live in Pennsylvania and he is in Colorado. I flew him home for his father’s 50th bday so he could make this recipe. You should also try the Basque Cake on the website. That is my second favorite.

  38. jenyu says:

    Deb – how AWESOME! It’s one of my favorite places to dine. He does a great job. Thanks for the Basque cake rec!! :)

  39. Katie says:

    I have a the coffee/espresso measurement in granules or liquid, and already brewed?

  40. jenyu says:

    Katie – I believe it is liquid and already brewed (yeah, that threw me too).

  41. Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe says:

    […] Real Butter made a Sticky Toffee Pudding too! I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Click on the above title “Megan’s […]

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