Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Pudding Batter
4 1 tblsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar (or slightly less)
1/4 c. lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour + 2 tsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
vegetable oil
1 1/4 c. pitted dates (I use more, closer to 1 3/4 c.)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Toffee Sauce
3 tblsp. unsalted butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 tblsp. heavy cream
[optional] A couple tblsp. molasses

For the Batter:
Preheat oven to 350. Use an electric mixer to combine the butter and white & brown sugar, beating at medium speed until fluffy. Sift the 1 1/2 c. flour with the baking powder. Add the beaten egg and about 1/2 c. of the flour mixture to the sugar & butter. Blend it, then add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until blended. The batter will be very crumbly.

Oil a 9-by-9-inch cake pan (square or round). In a bowl, combine the dates with the remaining 2 tsp. flour, and toss to coat. In a food processor, finely chop the dates, then return them to the bowl and cover with 1 c. boiling water.

Add baking soda and vanilla to the batter. Stir. then add the date mixture and blend. Transfer to the cake pan and bake about 35 minutes until dry in the center. Remove from the oven and keep it warm.

For the Sauce:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the brown sugar and heavy cream (and optional molasses). Simmer until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

To Serve:
Preheat the broiler. Option 1: Cut the warm pudding into squares & cover with a spoonful of toffee sauce. Option 2: Put the whole pudding on an oven-proof serving plate and cover with toffee sauce. Put the pudding (in either format) under the broiler just until the sauce bubbles. Do not allow it to overcook. Remove and serve immediately, with either whipped cream or ice cream.

Source: Paul (adapted from Francis Coulson's original recipe)