This Sticky Toffee Pudding is a slight variant of the traditional recipe. My aim was to lighten up the recipe a bit, since everyone is already stuffed by the time dessert rolls around, anyway. We have nut-freers coming to Christmas dinner this year, so I’ve omitted the walnuts that usually go in. Also, I’ve made this recipe nearly vegan. If you like, you can substitute the butter with Earth Balance and omit the eggs to make it purely vegan. For the sauce, I’ve used maple syrup and almond milk instead of heavy cream.
I did quite bit of research to assemble this recipe. A big thanks goes to Claire over at Art and Soul (https://clairehuston.wordpress.com) for sharing a recipe that certainly helped me devise the one posted here. She blogs about baking, writing, and books, so why not drop by if you have a minute.
Now, some thoughts on Christmastime. You might look at the recent baking frenzy that has taken place on this blog and think to yourself: Wow, this lady really digs the holidays. I mean, it must be her favourite time of the year!
In fact, my heart tenses leading up to the holidays and feels sore throughout. For those of us living with grief, the holidays can be especially rough. We are the ones for whom sad Christmas songs are written. The ones who hear “Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on,” and think Joni Mitchell is our long lost soul sister. It can be a time of year that splits the stitches we’ve been diligently threading over our hearts for the past twelve months.
Perhaps it’s memories of past Christmases that make us want to pull the covers over our heads until January 2nd. (Because, let’s face it, ringing in the New Year without the one you love is a very hard thing to do, indeed.) Maybe we’re bothered by those who fail/ed to support us when we need/ed them most, who forget that grief is a lifelong process, who burden us with expectations and judgment while never pausing for long enough to observe themselves and question whether or not their demands are deserved or even reasonable. Maybe we picture the empty chair at the table and lose our appetites.
Well, if any of this sounds familiar, then I have some good news: you’ve just found one of your people and now we are friends. ;-)
I like giving to my friends, so here’s my gift to you:
Remember that you are as deserving of your compassion as anyone else, so be extra kind to yourself, especially in the face of ignorance.
Give yourself permission to walk away from anyone or anything that does not lift you up or serve your inner peace.
Know that you are thought of often, supported at a distance, loved from afar.
Real love is not ruled by time and space, life and death.
Love is boundless.
And after all, love is what Christmastime is all about.
So, when you’re leaving cookies out for Santa, maybe add a few extra for your cherished departed and remember the lasting love that you share.
If all else fails, you can always give to someone else in need in honour of your loved one. That always feels really good. Here are some of my favourites:
United For Refugees: http://bit.ly/1U4JKYD
Canadian Association for Mental Health (CAMH): http://bit.ly/1V80eQT
And if none of this has helped, here are some adorable pics of my cat Noodles to cheer you up!
Thanks for stopping by, as always. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you this year through my little blog. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all good things for 2016! May you be surrounded by the best of company.
See you next year!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Makes 16 muffin-sized cakes
1 1/2 cups of pitted dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups almond milk or milk
1/4 cup butter or Earth Balance, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Toffee Sauce: (If you like a lot of sauce, double the recipe.)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp almond milk or milk
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease moulds and set aside. (I used silicon muffin moulds and placed them on a baking sheet.)
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Set aside.
3. Using a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmering boil. Add dates, reduce to low heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4. Using a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time.
5. Add the dry to the wet and stir until just combined. Stir in milk and date mixture. Careful not to over-mix.
6. Spoon into prepared moulds and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then prick with a toothpick many times.
7. For the toffee sauce, whisk together ingredients over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, and making sure nothing scorches. Remove from heat. If you are serving right away, pour some of the sauce over each cake and enjoy! I think this would go superbly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If you’re making this ahead, like me, pour a generous tablespoon of the sauce over each of the cakes while still in the moulds, so they get nice and moist, but also reserve some sauce to reheat and garnish with just before serving. This should warm up the cakes nicely! Happy Holidays!