Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

On World Chocolate Day, I want to share one of my favourite chocolate recipes, and frankly, one of the most under-rated puddings: the chocolate self-saucing pudding. I’ve made this pudding countless times and it is always a hit with friends and family.

The first time I saw a recipe for this was when my parents bought our first ever microwave. The recipe was in the booklet that came with it. When we made it, the bowl we used was way too small and all the sauce just overflowed as it cooked. I remember thinking what a messy pudding this was, but after tasting it, I quickly became a fan. While this was at least 15 years ago, every time I have this pudding now, it takes me back to that moment I tasted this microwaved version.

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Dark Chocolate and Kanamadhu Cake recipe

Dark Chocolate and Kanamdhu Cake

This cake is purely chocolate and kanamadhu (sea-almond). It is rich, fudgy and you want to keep going back for one more slice. The ground kanamadhu gives it a nice crunch and the cake is perfect to practice some of your baking skills.

Being the perfect combination of kanamadhu and chocolate, this cake will please even the pickiest of eaters. I know a few people who don’t like the original kanamadhu cake (blasphemy, I know, because who doesn’t like kanamadhu cake?!), but they loved this cake. My husband had always claimed he didn’t like kanamadhu or the kanamadhu cake I baked but when I made this cake, I had to fight for leftovers.

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Sticky Date Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

Sticky Date Pudding

As the weather gets cooler, I crave for a warm pudding. And sticky date pudding is an easy and delicious one to whip up! Such a comfort to eat the pudding with some cream, knowing that the temperature is dropping to single digits outside.

My first sticky date pudding was a Sara Lee sticky date. It wasn’t until I moved to Australia when I was able to eat a homemade sticky date pudding, and eating it with vanilla ice cream was just amazing. This became an immediate favourite. And surprisingly so, as I never used to like dates. I would like to think that the sticky date is an Aussie dessert, but it might have it’s roots in England. The sticky date is called Toffee pudding in England and it actually does remind me of a toffee-flavoured sweet we had when we were young.

Sticky Date Pudding

 

I looked at a few recipes and picked a few things I liked from different recipes to come up with this. I prefer pureeing the dates (as Jamie Oliver recommends) but a lot of people like getting the small bites of the dates, so I’ve come to a happy compromise by pureeing only half.

With the sugar and the dates that go in the recipe, I thought the cake would be too sweet, but trust me, it’s not. And when you soak the pudding (the more the better) with the sauce, it is absolutely delicious. I’ve made a salted caramel sauce but you can omit the salt and have a regular butterscotch sauce. While I’ve made this in individual ramekins this can also be made in a muffin tray or a cake pan (20cm square cake tin) as well.

Sticky Date Pudding

Ingredients
Serves 8-10
Sticky Date Pudding

  • 340g fresh dates, seeded and chopped
  • 1½ cups (375ml) boiling water
  • 1½ tsp bicarb soda
  • 150g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 cup (175g) brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt

Butterscotch Sauce

  • 80g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1½ cups (265g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) Single (pouring) cream
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven for 180 degrees.
  • Mix the dates and bicarbonate soda in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Rest for about 5 minutes.  Then puree half the date mixture in a food processor.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat till mixed.
  • Add the date mixtures (pureed and the chopped dates) into the egg mixture and mix using a wooden spoon. Fold in the self-raising flour and yoghurt till combined.
  • Pour the batter into greased individual ramekins or 20cm square cake tin (greased and lined with baking paper) and bake for about 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with skewer.
  • While the pudding is in the oven, make the sauce. Place the sugar, butter, salt and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook till sugar and butter has melted and till the mixture thickens.
  • Serve puddings with the sauce and dollop cream or ice cream.

Chocoflan

 

Chocoflan

My dessert making is mostly limited to Italian (panna cotta) or something chocolate or something Maldivian. Even with Maldivian desserts I am really limited to caramel pudding or kanamdhu cake. I really want to venture out to other cuisines.

As we were having a Mexican-themed dinner, I wanted to make a Mexican dessert and came across this recipe on SBS Food for a chocoflan. This cake is absolutely magical. I don’t know if this constitutes as a cake, but it really brings the best of both worlds, cake and flan together. This recipe reminded me of a simple trifle we made in the Maldives when I was younger. It was just layers of chocolate cake and custard, maybe some canned fruit cocktail mix if we were being fancy. And I absolutely loved this!

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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie

I hadn’t been planning on doing any baking on the long weekend. On top of packing and preparing for our holiday, fighting off a cold before traveling was crucial, and since we only have a few days left, our grocery shopping was very minimal.

But the craving to do some baking hit me. I thought I had all the pastry staples to whip up some cookies. Pastry staples I had, but we were out of eggs. It being Good Friday, usually everything is closed, but luckily, our local corner shop was open.

The really good thing about this cookie dough is I can easily freeze it. I rolled all the of dough into balls, and packed a few in a freezer bag, saving it for a rainy day. The last time I froze the dough, I rolled it into a log and cutting it had been a pain. So I made cookie dough balls which should be much easier to take out and bake.

Peanut butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie

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My husband has forever been asking me for some peanut butter cookies. I’ve made the base recipe a few times and has always worked, but making changes to it for the first time is always risky. What was the addition of the peanut butter going to do to the sugar to butter to flour ratio? I’ve seen what happens when I get the ratio wrong (usually things go haywire in the oven and by then it’s too late to do anything). When I mixed this recipe, the dough felt good and familiar, but there really was no way of telling how it would turn out until I baked it.

Peanut butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie

And the recipe worked! I wasn’t a huge fan of the smell of the peanut butter cookie dough; it smelt very strongly of peanut butter. But it tasted great! The texture was soft and chewy, and getting the bits of chocolate in it was so yummy. the cookie dough balls I rolled are probably a bit too small ( I used a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon) but the texture of the cookies was great.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 25 cookies

Ingredients:
– 120g butter, melted and cooled
– 220g (1 cup) brown sugar
– 55g (1/4 cup) castor sugar
– 130g (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 egg
– 1 egg yolk
– 300g (2 cups) flour, sifted
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 cup dark chocolate (chopped coarsely)*

Method:
– Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Prepare an oven tray by greasing it lightly and lining it with baking paper.
– Place melted butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla in a bowl and beat with an electric mixture until smooth
– Add the egg and egg yolk and beat until the mixture is creamy.
– Add the flour and baking powder and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Then add the chocolate bits and mix until the dough comes together
– Spoon heaped tablespoonfuls of dough onto the lined oven tray, about 5cm apart. Flatten slightly and bake in oven for 6-8 minutes (or until edges are golden). When they come out, they will be soft but will harden as they cool. Cool completely on trays.

You can store these cookies in an air-tight container for 2-3 days and store the dough in the freezer for about 6 months.

* Note: you can use chocolate chips as well. When I made this today I actually used a mixture of chopped dark and milk chocolate.

 

Easy, Chewy Brownies

Chocolate brownies

It has been a while since I have made brownies. I had actually forgotten how easy it is to bake a batch. I had to take something for a work afternoon tea and initially had though to baking a cake or making some cupcakes. But the thought of having to bring butter to room temperature, make a buttercream, or washing numerous bowls just left me feeling a bit tired.

The Milk and White Chocolate brownie recipe I had posted earlier is usually my go to recipe. But even that required some ingredients like sour cream which I did not have at home. Going to the supermarket at that time was not appealing so I needed to come up with a simple recipe but still featured one of my favourite things about my brownie recipe; chopped white chocolate bits which caramelised in the oven! And I was lucky I had some white chocolate in the pantry.

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Pistachio and Almond Cake with Pomegranate Cream Cheese Icing

Pistachio and almond and cake with pomegranate cream cheese icing

We are very close to the end of summer. At the moment, it is pomegranate season here and I enjoy seeing the pomegranate trees with the fruit starting to ripen, on my morning runs. I have never really associated pomegranates with summer, but I think I will make use of pomegranates more next summer, now I know when to expect it.

Pistachios and pomegranate have recently become one of my favourite flavour pairings. Not only just in taste, I am loving the colour combo of the green with pink too. This cake has a very pudding-like texture due to the high content of ground nuts and because of it being baked in a water bath. It is dense, but moist, and the cream cheese compliments the cake perfectly. This can also be made gluten-free quite easily by substituting the self-raising flour with gluten-free self-raising flour.

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