Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding

Why choose between chocolate sponge pudding and sticky toffee pudding when you can have both?! this is from Rachel Allen’s Food for Living.

for 16-20 portions you need:
100g dark chocolate, melted
150g pitted dates, blitzed
300ml water
100g butter
150g light soft brown sugar
3 eggs
225g plain flour
1 tsp bicarb
1 tsp baking powder

For the sauce
275g golden syrup
225ml double cream
275g light soft brown sugar
100g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place the dates in a saucepan and bring to the boil with the water. Simmer for 10 mins and leave to cool. Make the cake base in the usual fashion, adding the chocolate and dates last. Scrape in to a lined tin and bake at 160 for 45 mins or so.

Make the sauce by placing everything in to a pan and bringing to the boil. Boil rapidly for 4 mins then serve. Perfect winter fuel.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I adore this. But it’s seriously not good for you. Well actually that’s not true. There are so many dates in the cake bit that I am sure that should count as one of your 5-a-day. But the sauce, oh my the sauce! Nothing with that much cream, butter and sugar can be good for you can it?!

For about 12 portions you need:
200g stoned dates (snigger)
250ml boiled water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g soft butter
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
175g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten

200g light muscovado sugar
200g butter
300ml double cream

Begin by placing the dates in a bowl with the bicarb and pouring over the water. Leave to soften for about an hour (longer if you can). After they have soaked, puree with a hand blender.

Meanwhile cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs, flour and spice. Mix thoroughly. Fold in the date puree and pour into a lined tin. Bake for about 30 mins till springy.

For the sauce place all the ingredients in a pan and heat gently. Cook till a nice golden colour. Slice the cake into portions and place in a bowl. Pour over the sauce and enjoy. This also freezes well.

Sticky Date Bars

These contain fruit so they’re good for you, right?! They’re also deliciously sticky and chewy and moreish. They’re a bit like fig rolls but in a good way.

For about 16 bars you need:
250ml water
200g chopped, stoned dates
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb
175g soft light brown sugar
100g oats
pinch salt
175g butter, diced (or soya marge for a vegan version)

Begin by putting the water and dates into a pan and bringing to the boil. Cook for about 10 minutes and then puree so the mix is very thick and smooth. Blitz the butter and flour till it resembles breadcrumbs and then mix in the bicarb, sugar, salt and oats.
Press half the oat mixture into a lined tin, top with the date puree and then sprinkle over the remaining mixture, pressing down lightly with your fingers.
Bake for about 40 mins till golden brown and set. Allow to cool completely, then turn out of the tin, cut into squares and scoff.