Sticky Toffee Pudding and Some Thoughts on Christmastime

IMG_2197_resizeWell, it’s finally here: my last post of the year! Today I’m sharing the dessert we’ll be indulging in on Christmas day.

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.

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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:

UNICEF: http://bit.ly/1m6GxNY

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!

"What the hell is that?" he's thinking.
He’s thinking: What the hell is that?
"Oh, it's you, human servant!"
Oh, it’s you, human servant!
"Yawn. I'm bored f you now. Make yourself useful and fetch me a treat already."
Yawn. I’m bored of you now. Make yourself useful and fetch me a treat already.

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!

A :-)

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

Makes 16 muffin-sized cakes

Ingredients:
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
2 eggs
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

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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

Directions:
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!

 

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34 thoughts on “Sticky Toffee Pudding and Some Thoughts on Christmastime

Add yours

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading! Wishing you the best and brightest this season and looking forward to your posts in the New Year. :-)

  1. Thank you so much for such a kind mention. I’m so glad they turned out so well and I’m sure they’ll be a bit hit tomorrow. The pictures of your cat are terrific too :-)
    Wishing you the very best for the festive season.

    1. It’s my pleasure and thank you so much for sharing your recipe! :-) I’m a bit obsessed with pics of my cat, ha ha. Wishing you a beautiful holiday and looking forward to more blogging fun in the New Year.

    1. Thank you so much! Ha ha, pics of Noodles are usually a hit. ;-) I hope you have a wonderful holiday and thanks for dropping by!

    1. Hi sweet Lynn! Thanks so much for your message and please pardon the tardy reply. I’ve taken the last few days offline to focus on my family and things have been fine, thank you! It’s quite a relief actually! I thought I’d write a post about some of the realities for us grieving souls because I know what it’s like to want to be happy but not being able to get there, if you know what I mean. I care for you lots too and I’m so thrilled that we’re friends! How was your x-mas? How is everyone? Sending you good wishes as always! :D xo

      1. Thanks so much, Lynn! :-) That means a lot and I’ll certainly remember that. Hope you and yours are enjoying the holidays! xo

  2. So many thoughts…. let’s see if I can get them down before they escape me! I like how you felt free to change up a recipe to achieve what you wanted. A recipe is a guideline and a starting point. I think many of us have baggage that sort of comes undone this time of year. This is the first time splitting time with my kids. I don’t have them until 9 am tomorrow. But I intend to stay really busy. Well, after I crawl out of bed and stop reading blogs, haha. I hope you have a joyous Christmas in spite of remembering those who are gone in body (though memories remain).

    Oh- almost forgot- adorable kitty! You have an orange tabby too, I didn’t know that. Don’t get me started on the cuteness of cats or this comment will never end :)

    1. Hi Janna! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I always appreciate you insights. Your comment about a recipe being a guideline resonates with so much more than what happens in the kitchen, I love that! I’m sending good vibes your way too. :-) How was x-mas in the end? I hope you’re enjoying the holidays. And I agree, we could probably talk cute ca for ages, ha ha!

    1. Hi there, Thanks so much for the follow! I’m not on FB but I am on Twitter (@MsAnitaKushwaha). How about you? Thanks again for stopping by! :-)

  3. You know the pudding isn’t my thing..but I do love your words of wisdom; they’re all things I know, but sometimes need a reminder, and this time of year especially. Thank you xx I hope your Christmas has been lovely xx

    1. Thank you so much, Elaine! As I wrote the post, while I knew I was writing for others, it also felt like I was writing to remind myself, so I know just what you mean. Christmas was lovely and I hope yours has been too! xo

  4. Such a beautiful post–this was definitely something I needed to hear. Sometimes I get so caught up in the grieving that I forget we are not alone and the love between souls is what will carry us on. Thanks so much for the gentle and beautiful reminder. <3

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Kas! And I know exactly what you mean. I was in a somewhat better place this year and felt the need to reach out, so I’m overjoyed that the post resonated with you. Sending you lots of good vibes and I hope you and yours are having a lovely holiday together. :-)

    1. Lynn! Thank you so much for this honour! And I’m SO sorry for the delay in replying. I’ve been on a little holiday internet diet. ;) You are kind and generous and I am so fortunate to have become friends with you this year. I wish there was something more I could say than thank you. XO Wow, you’ve made day!

      1. I feel the same way about you and I thank you so much! I learn so much from your posts about perseverance and resilience, it’s a blessing to know you. :-)

  5. I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blog award which you don’t have to feel obliged to participate (I know they are time consuming). I wanted to share with others a few of the blogs that I enjoy. Thanks so much for visiting my site, and happy new year again :)

    1. Thank you so much for the nomination! It’s a lovely surprise and I hope to participate soon. :-) I hope you’re enjoying the new year so far and thanks again!

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