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Sticky Toffee Pudding in a Jar

I’ve jumped on this dessert in a jar bandwagon a little, finding 250 mL glass jars the perfect solution for cakes you’d eat with a spoon anyway – pudding cakes and the like, which you serve up in bowls, fighting your family for the sticky edges and goo or nibbling at it yourself before they even know it’s there. Sticky toffee pudding is the perfect candidate for serving in glass jars – everyone gets the same ratio of cake to sticky toffee, and you can lob on a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream before bringing them to the table. It winds up a warm sticky toffee pudding sundae in a jar, and what in the world is better than that?

Like cupcakes, desserts in jars are also ideal to serve at parties – guests can eat them standing up, and you don’t have to worry about cutting a cake and having enough small plates to serve the slices on. Load up a tray with jars, keeping one empty for spoons, and you’re good to go when feeding dessert to a crowd.

Sticky Toffee Pudding in a Jar

adapted from the October 2000 issue of Bon Appétit

1 cup chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp. instant coffee or espresso granules
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Toffee sauce:
1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter

vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 8 250 mL jars with nonstick spray or rub their insides with soft butter. Place the dates in a small bowl, pour the boiling water overtop, stir in the instant coffee and set aside until cool.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of flour with the baking powder and salt and beat to blend. Add remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition, then add the remaining flour and beat just until blended.

Stir the baking soda into the date mixture, add it to batter and stir to blend. Divide the batter among the jars, filling them about halfway full. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch.

Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce: in a small saucepan, stir together the cream, brown sugar and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes, until smooth and slightly thickened.

Pour the warm toffee sauce over the baked puddings and serve topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Serves about 8.

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