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NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies


Chocolate chips cookies. One of the most loved cookies of our time and a good old fashioned favourite.  However given its simplicity in ingredients, how can it be that one simple biscuit could cause me so much grief?

A few years ago I was content with using any chocolate chip cookie recipe and as long as they didn’t burn I was satisfied.  As I continued to bake I became more interested in finding the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, one that not only produced a cookie with crisp edges but also a soft centre, one  that was not cake like but slightly chewy. Most of all I didn’t want a flat cookie that spread to a undesirable pancake.

After searching various cook books and baking blogs, I decided to try the Nestle Toll House recipe, you know, the one that is on the back of the packet of Nestle Toll House choc chips. The recipe is devised by Ms Ruth Wakefield who accidently created the chocolate chip recipe. She is considered a somewhat heroine in the baking world. Being the recipe that invented the chocolate chip cookie I figured it would produce some pretty awesome cookies (I should also sheepishly insert here that after watching a Friends episode where Phoebe admits that her Grandmother’s secret choc chip cookie recipe that produces the best cookies is actually the Nestle Toll House recipe, I was further convinced!)

I continued to use this recipe for a few years, learning along the way little tips and ticks to make the cookies stop spreading and ending up flat, such as chilling the dough in the fridge before baking and making sure your cookie trays are cold. However I found that despite my best efforts, I would still end up with flat cookies.

I then searched for the reasons why this occurred. There is in fact a science to all that sugar, butter and flour and after reading countless articles on the art of baking cookies, I discovered that the New York Times had the same issues as me a few years ago and David Leite set out on the quest to find the prefect chocolate chip cookie. He ended up publishing this article, which explains the science of producing the prefect chocolate chip cookie and after conducting his investigation, he formulating what has been regarded as the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. The article is a very interesting read and explains that using both bread and cake flour plays a very important role in producing cookies that are not flat as does letting the dough rest for at least 36 hours. Further, this resting time allows the flavours of the cookie to develop giving you a richer, tastier and all round more delicious cookie. The type of chocolate used is also important, plain old choc chips won’t suffice (sorry Nestle). Instead, disc of coventure chocolate are used as they melt beautifully to produce a rich, gooey chocolate cookie. The balls of dough also need to weight to  at least  about 100g (3.5 ounces)  in order to produce a cookie that is about 12 cm (5 inches) big. This way you can experience all the textures of the cookie that this recipe produced. That is a crisp outside, soft centre and the one and half inch ring in the centre where the two textures meet (told you it was scientific!).

The recipe also calls for a sprinkling of sea salt on top of the dough before it is baked which can transform the cookie as the tastes of saltiness beings out the caramel flavour. In How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science, Paula Figoni explains that salt changes the rate aroma molecules evaporate, resulting in a longer lasting flavor. Apparently salt in baked goods is all the rage now.


Anyway enough of the science, the main things you need to know is that these are by far the BEST chocolate chip cookies that have even passed my lips. They are beyond delicious. Eaten fresh the day they are made you will understand that the 36 hour wait is defiantly worth it. The chocolate is still melted and gooey and they have the most delicious toffee/caramel flavour. Crispy on the outside but soft in the centre, they are cookie perfection.

As the recipe requires the resting time, it does take some planning ahead. You may be tempted to bake the cookie dough straight away. Doing so will still produce a nice cookie, but to really experiment the New York Times wonder, rest the dough for at least 36 hours. It can be left in the fridge for up to 72 hours (if it lasts that long) and it also freezes well for 3 months ( ask Alex, his freezer is now full of glad bags contaninig carefully meaured balls of cookie dough, ready to pop right in the oven.)

I’m so glad that I finally had the chance to try these cookies. I declare this my go to recipe and with all due respect to Ms Wakefield, I will never look at the back of another packet of nestle choc chips again.


NY Times Cookies
Author: 
 
Possibly the best chocolate chip cookies you will ever make
Ingredients
  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons(8½ ounces) cake flour
  • 1⅔ cups (8½ ounces) bread flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2½ sticks (1¼ cups) unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate disks, at least 60 percent cocoa content
  • Sea salt.
Instructions
  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.
  4. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them.
  5. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees (170 degrees Celsius).
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  8. Scoop 6 3½-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie.
  9. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more.
  10. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.
  11. Eat warm.
  12. Yield: 18 5-inch cookies.
Notes
Metric conversions: For the flour: 8.5 ounces = 241g For the sugar: 10 ounces = 283g 8 ounces = 226g You will need 282.5g of butter you will need approximately 500g of chocolate chips Other notes: I usually make you make 2 ounces cookies (57g) cookies as I found 3.5 ounce cookies are just a bit too big. for 2 ounce cookies you will need to bake them for 12-15 mins. All oven vary so keep an eye on the cookies. they are ready when the edges are slightly brown and starting to crisp up but the centre is still soft.they will harden upon cooling. if you use salted butter, dont add salt to the flour. Sometimes I sprinkle sea salt on the top before baking other times I dont. try it with both and see what you like best.

 
 
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Crunchie Cake

What do you do with 15kg of chocolate? Apart from eat it, give it away, eat some more, hide it so you don’t eat it, or share it with the dog, the best thing to do is transform it into something else. This way chomping down copious amount of chocolate is justified. Hey, it’s not chocolate I’m eating, its chocolate cake and its HOMEMADE, so much better for you.

The scenario above is not made up. Yes, Alex and I were once the owners of 15kg of rejected Cadbury chocolate. 5kg of picnics, 5kg of boost bars and 5kg of crunchies to be exact. While we thought we were very clever at the time ( “hey we can get really cheap chocolate, what flavours do you want? You cant ask me to choose, get them all!” was how our conversation went)…unfortunately we could only stomach so much before we would get to the  point of needed to be boosted out of the house having almost eaten half the  weight of a small child in chocolate

Of course we could not waste the chocolate so we decided to get creative and combine our favourite bar, the crunchie bar, into a delicious cake. (Ok I admit now that I could have chosen a favourite flavour and ended up with only 5kg of chocolate) .

The idea of the cake was to combine the flavours of honeycomb and chocolate. After brainstorming a few ideas we decided that a chocolate cake, with a buttery icing with crunchie crushed through it  in the middle, chocolate ganache on the outside and crunchie crumbled on top would meld together into a delicious representation of a crunchie bar.

And let me tell you it was delicious. I used this chocolate cake recipe from one of our favourite blogs, raspberri cupcakes. The recipe has been taken from David Lebovitz’s devil’s food cake recipe. The cake itself was made with cake flour and cocoa so it has a light fluffy texture without being too rich. This meant that the icings did not make the cake too overly sweet.

While the crunchie bars paired fabulously with the chocolate cake, the icing in the middle could also be easily adapted to use any other chocolate bar. Just an idea if you ever have 15kg of chocolate lying around….

 

Crunchie Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 115 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup whole or low-fat milk
For the butter icing
  • 125g butter softened
  • 1½ cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • crushed crunchie bars (quantity is up to you)
For the chocolate ganache
  • ½ cups (375ml) single or pouring cream
  • 340g finely chopped dark chocolate
Instructions
For the cake
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Butter two 22 cm springfrom cake pans (9″ x 2″) and line the bottoms with baking paper.
  3. Sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
  4. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or with hand held beaters, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. (If using a standing electric mixer, stop the mixer as necessary to scrape down the sides to be sure everything is getting mixed in.)
  5. Mix together the water and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.
  6. Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Coolin the tin for 5-10 and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completly before icing.
For the butter icing
  1. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and creamy
  2. Add half the icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of the milk
  3. Beat until incorporated and smooth
  4. Repeat with remaining butter and milk
  5. Stir through the crunchie pieces
For the ganache
  1. Place the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boilRemove from heat and add the chocolate/ Allow to melt slightly and then stir until it is glossy and smoth.
  2. set aside to cool to a spreadable consistency.
Notes
If using salted butter, omitting adding the salt from the recipe. This is a very fagile cake. Be careful when removing it from the tin and inveritng onto a wire rack. Wait till its completely cool before you handle it to avoid it breaking. If you cannot find cake flour, use plain flour and replace 3 tablespoons of the flour with 3 tablespoons of corn flour I find it takes a good couple of hours for the ganacheto set to a spreadable consistency.

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A Slice of Family Tradition – Caramel Slice Recipe

 

This caramel slice recipe is the epitome of a homemade , traditional  family recipe. It doesn’t come from a fancy cookbook, a celebrity chef or from the internet, instead it has been passed down to me by my Nanna, Maureen Beall.

I grew up on this slice. It was something that Nanna would always make us when we came to visit her in Glen Innes, a small country town in north-eastern New South Wales. Or,  when she would travel down by train to Wollongong or Melbourne where we now live, she would carry this slice, packed between layers of baking paper in an old ice cream container. And let me tell you, it never lasted more than a day and we would beg her to make more.

My Nanna was born in England and apart from this caramel slice she would always make for us other traditional english treats. Think steak and deep fried chips, shepherds pie or a roast lamb with mint sauce for dinner and  then for dessert or afternoon tea  she is a master at steamed pudding, scones with jam and cream or pretty butterfly patty cakes. I hope one day that I can prefect the craft of english cooking just like Nanna.

As for the recipe for the caramel slice, it required a bit of trial an error before I finally got it right. When I asked Nanna for the recipe she told me it was in her head and that she would get my Poppy, Basil Beall to type it up and email it to me ( I guess even with a recipe like this you can’t escape the joys of technology). So Poppy did just that and I’m delighted to be able to share the recipe with you. I have posted the recipe, exactly how poppy sent it and like all handed down family recipes, there aren’t precise measurements or quantities.

A Few Tips on Perfecting Caramel Slice

That being said I can offer a few tips to you for getting this slice right but it might require a few goes to work out what works best for the size of your pan, oven etc.

Nanna uses a cookie tray that measures 32cm squared. I use a cookie tray that is about 30cm x 28cm. I find this is ok. In order to get the best ratio of base:caramel:chocolate I would recommend at tray at least this size. Anything smaller and you will have a thicker base (this is not necessarily a bad thing if you like a thicker biscuit).

Nanna also uses two tins of sweet and condensed milk for the size of her tray and so do I. Again if you have a smaller tray, have a go at using just one can.

Nanna only uses Cadbury’s milk chocolate and uses one and half blocks. I have found that for my tray size this works well. You could use one block if you have a smaller tray, again this is a personal choice. If you like a thicker top use a bit more.

Finally, Nanna always runs her fork though the chocolate when it is nearly just set. To me when we were kids if it didn’t have these fork lines, it wasn’t “Nanna’s slice”.

The final result of this slice, if you follow the measurements, is the perfect ratio of buttery biscuit crumb, sweet caramel and smooth chocolate. This definitely trumps those thick bricks of mass produced caramel slice that you can buy from cafes. We have paired this slice with Toby’s Estate coffee, ground and brewed  by Alex. The combination is perfect for morning or afternoon tea. I hope you get as much joy from this slice as I have from having it prepared for me by my loving Nanna. She is someone who I admire not only for her delicious baking but for who she is a person as well. This post is dedicated to her.

Caramel Slice Recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
A Slice of Family Tradition - Caramel Slice Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Morning/afternoon tea
 
the best caramel slice you will probably ever try.
Ingredients
For the base
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup coconut
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 or 5 oz butter (melted), I tend to go with 5oz
For the filling
  • 2 tins of Condensed Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
Instructions
For the base
  1. Grease a 32cm squared tray
  2. Mix flour and sugar and the coconut together in a glass bowl
  3. Pour melted butter over the flour mixture and mix till it comes together in a crumb...if dry add more melted butter
  4. Press mixture into greased baking tray
  5. Bake in a moderate oven of some quality for 15 -20 minutes or until golden brown
For the filling
  1. Melt all ingredients together on low setting in a bowl in a microwave for 2 minutes at a time
  2. Stir every 2 minutes and eventually it will form fudge. The time taken to form fudge will depend on your microwave. The consistency you are after is that of a thick but runny caramel that is a yellowish/brown/golden colour.
  3. Pour fudge on top of cooked base
  4. Cook in a very slow oven for about 5 to 8 minutes or until FIRM
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool
  6. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or over a saucepan of simmering water. When the base
  7. has cooled, cover it with the melted chocolate.
  8. Place the slice in the fridge to set.
  9. When the chocolate is nearly hard...make a pattern of creative lines with a fork onto the chocolate
  10. Refrigerate overnight.
  11. Dip a sharp knife in hot water and cut the slice into neat equal squares. Slice each sqaure in half to make a triangle.
  12. Slice must be kept in fridge at all times...only take out just before serving or if it has to travel freeze solid and carry to your destination
Notes
1 ounce is approximately 28 gram. 4oz = 113gm. 50z =141.5gm A moderate oven temperature is 180 degrees celcius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit A very slow oven is 120 degrees celcius or 250 degrees Fahrenheit To prevent the slice cracking and the caramel oozing out when you cut it, turn it over and the it with the base facing up. Poppy suggest making the base in a Royal Daulton bowl.
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One weekend in June, Alex escaped the winter chill of Melbourne and came up for a visit to Sydney. And the Sydney weather didn’t disappoint. We had two days of sunshine, albeit it was a little cold. However with no wind or rain to dampen the day, we managed to cram in a lot into the weekend. On our early morning run we were rewarded with stunning views of the Harbour Bridge.

 On the way home I introduced Alex to whats been labelled a Sydney institution – Bourke Street Bakery. We picked up some coffees and a wholemeal sourdough loaf which became the foundation of our lunch and late nights snacks for the weekend.(word of warning to BSB virgins – the bakery doesn’t have a bread slicer, so don’t bother asking for them to slice your loaf. Alex found out the hard way when he asked  the girl behind the counter to slice the loaf “for toast”( ie thick slices) and she proceeded to slice the whole loaf by hand and put them in the toaster!)

 We also visited another Sydney icon on the restaurant scene, Ms G’s in Potts Point where we sipped alcoholic bubble tea and ate mini bah mi. The rest of  the night was a little less classy than Ms G’s when we watched and laughed at the inappropriate, Inbetweeners Movie.  On Sunday we had breakfast at a Darlinghurst local, The Bunker  and then wandered the wealthy streets of Woollahra to Donna Hay’s General Store for inspiration.

 Amongst all this we did find time to bake and  an we needed an excuse to try out my new Kitchen Aid. When thinking of what we wanted to bake, we were focused on creating something other than your usual cake or muffin and  we also wanted to experiment with some different flavours. Also being on location, we didn’t want anything too difficult. Alex had some small tarts tins that were yet to be used so we thought we would try them out. Donna Hay provided us with a recipe to try – maple cheesecake tarts.  Her original recipe uses gingernut biscuits as the base but we decided to swap spices and biscuits and used plain butter snap biscuits as the base and cinnamon on top. The flavours and textures of these little tarts was wonderful. The filling was sweet but tangy from combining the maple syrup with the cream cheese and the base was crunchy and buttery. Served with whipped cream ( which took seconds in the Kitchen Aid to make!), they were a heavenly dessert.

 Having succeeded with these tarts we are keen to find some bigger cases and make a buttery pasty so keep an eye out for more tarts to come! We also hope you spice up your weekend or (weekday!) and give these little tarts a try!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Sugar n Spice in Sydney
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
 
Sweet but tangy maple cheesecake tarts with cinnamon sugar and whipped cream and candied nuts.
Ingredients
  • 250g store bought buttersnap biscuits
  • ¼ cup(30g) almond meal
  • 100g butter melted
  • 175g ricotta
  • 250g cream cheese
  • ½ cup(90g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (90g) maple syrup
  • cinnamon sugar, whipped cream and candied to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. Place the biscuits in a food processor until coarsely chopped
  3. Add the butter and process to combine
  4. Press into the base and sides of 6 (8cm diameter) tart tins
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour
  6. Place the cheeses in an electric mixer and beat for 5-6 minutes or until smooth
  7. Add the sugar and beat for 3-4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved
  8. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition
  9. Add the vanilla and maple syrup and beat until well combine.
  10. Divide the mixture ( if you haven't already eaten it - trust me it's good!) between the tart bases
  11. Place on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until firm to touch
  12. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until chilled.
  13. Dust with cinnamon sugar and serve with whipped cream.
Notes
If like us, you don't have a food processor handy, crush the biscuits in a bag with either a roller pin or pestle. If you cant find cinnamon sugar you can make your own by combining ½ cup sugar with cinnamon to your taste. Cinnamon sugar is also sold as "dutch cinnamon". Candied nuts can be bought from the supermarket or specialty nut stores.

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Sticky Date Pudding Recipe

The second weekend of June each year brings to me the same realisation, that winter is officially here in Australia and that it’s not going to get ANY warmer for the next 3 months! (Actually, I shouldn’t complain too much and also mention that the  second weekend of June brings the consolation prize of a day off to celebrate the Queens Birthday!)

While I don’t have anything against winter personally, I just don’t like the cold! I have to admit I enjoy the change in seasons and I love watching the tree-lined streets of Melbourne become bare and wintery as the final autumn leaves fall to their resting place on the ground. I also enjoy the fact that with a change in temperature comes a whole new array of seasonal produce and a whole new winter  menu of food to cook and enjoy! Winter is one of my favourite times to spend in the kitchen. Dinners that were once vegetables, salad and  BBQ’d meat are now able to be transformed into slow cooked casseroles, curries, pies and roasts. When it comes to baked goods, well winter is designed to indulge in richer sweets (who wants to eat cold fruit when its cold outside!) Instead think puddings, crumbles and warm cakes.

Alex had his heart set on producing a sticky date pudding way back in summer(!), so we decided to celebrate winter and our long weekend by making a delicious sticky date pudding complete with butterscotch sauce and home-made vanilla bean ice cream.


On a dreary Friday, I whipped up the puddings and I have to admit making them  was a risk as, because we were unable to locate a texan muffins pan (i.e. one that has 6 2/3 cup capacity moulds) I had to settle for some ramekins I found in my local $2 shop. I had to guesstimate the amount of mixture to put in each ramekin and I must confess that the first one I made, was pulled out of the oven with half the mixture having over flowed onto the tray. This was not necessarily a bad thing in the end as I was able to sneakily taste the mixture – it was delicious! Despite this small game of trial and error, we managed to produce the puddings and spent Sunday morning admiring them as we took the photos.


By  the afternoon we had worked up an appetite and we were treated to lunch from Hook’d with Alex’s parents, who were visiting from Hobart.  We then wandered through Chapel Street Bazaar for hidden treasures before just missing the rain shower as we walked back home.  By the afternoon, the puddings, warm, gooey and full of caramel goodness were waiting for us, begging to be eaten. They tasted divine and like all good puddings were best enjoyed when it’s cold and wet outside.  Despite the gloomy shadow of winter, I would not have asked for a better way to spend Sunday.

We hope you brighten up your winter too and make a date to enjoy these  comforting and oh so yummy puddings.


4.8 from 4 reviews
It's a Date...with Saucy Sticky Date Pudding
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Saucy, gooey stickydate puddings, dressed with a caramel butterscotch sauce and finished with a rich vanilla bean ice-cream.
Ingredients
For the puddings
  • 250g (1½ cups) deseeded dried dates, roughly chopped into small pieces
  • 312ml (1¼ cups) water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 60g (1/4 cup) salted butter, chopped roughly
  • 2 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 188g (1¼ cups) self-raising flour
  • 150g (2/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • Peacans for decorating
For the butterscotch sauce
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 60g butter
  • 300ml pure cream
For the ice-cream
  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 2 cups thickened ( or heavy) cream
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
for the puddings
  1. Place the dates and the water in a medium sauce pan over a high heat.
  2. When the date mixture starts to boil, add the bicarb soda and the butter and remove from the heat.
  3. Set saucepan aside and allow mixture to cool for 25 mins. During this time the butter will melt.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (356 Fahrenheit) If you have a fan forced oven preheat it to 160 degrees celsius (320 Fahrenheit).
  5. Grease 6⅔ cup capacity muffin pans or ramekins.
  6. Transfer the date mixture to a medium mixing bowl.
  7. Using a hand-held beater or whisk, add the eggs and vanilla to date mixture until combined ( this should take less than 30 seconds).
  8. Mix the flour and brown sugar together, breaking up any lumps of sugar.
  9. Add the flour/sugar mixture to the date mixture and fold through until combined.
  10. Spoon mixture into prepared pans.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  12. Allow to cool in pans for 5 mins and then turn upside down on a plate.
  13. Smother with butterscotch sauce and serve with ice cream and crushed or crumbled pecans ontop.
For the butterscotch sauce (makes 2 cups)
  1. Place sugar, butter and cream in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil.
  3. Once at the boil, reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.
For the ice cream
  1. In a medium saucepan, over a medium heat, whisk together the milk, cream, half the sugar and vanilla bean ( including the pod).
  2. Bring the milk mixture just to the boil.
  3. while the milk mixture is heating ( ie before it is just at the boil), combine the yolks and the remaining sugar in a mixing bowl and using a hand-held beater on slow speed or a whisk, beat until thick and pale.
  4. Once the milk mixture has come to a slight boil, whisk about ⅓ of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture.
  5. Whisk another ⅓ of the hot milk mixture to the yolk mixture.
  6. Return the yolk mixture to the remaining ⅓ of milk mixture in the saucepan.
  7. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  8. This mixture must not boil or the yolks will over cook - the process should only take a few minutes.
  9. Pour the mixture through a sieve or mesh strainer and discard the vanilla pod.
  10. Bring this mixture to room temperature.
  11. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
  12. Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to manufactures instructions.
Notes
Before being smothered with the butterscotch sauce, the puddings resemble a light but moist date cake. The more sauce the puddings absorb, the sticker they will become. The amount of individual puddings the recipe produces will depend on the size of your pudding or muffin moulds. Whatever the size of your moulds, only add enough mixture so that they are ⅔rds full. This will allow room for the puddings to rise. This recipe can also be used to make one large pudding by placing the mixture in a 20cm diameter pan. To achieve a more toffee flavour for the sauce, add 25g of golden syrup.

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