toffee STICKY-TOFFEE PUDDING Servings Serves 12 Ingredients Pudding: 1 cup dates 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon baking soda 5 tablespoons softened butter, plus additional for molds 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 egg, beaten Toffee Sauce:  7 tablespoons unsalted butter 3/4 cup cream 11/3 cups dark-brown sugar 2 tablespoons Myers’s rum, or to taste Cooking Instructions Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the dates, and boil for 5 minutes. Strain, and place the dates in a bowl of cold water. Working in the water, remove the skins and pits from the dates. Place the dates in a medium saucepan with 1 cup water, vanilla extract, and baking soda. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 2 minutes (watch carefully, as it will foam). Set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish or 12 6-ounce ramekins very well. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger and sugar in a bowl. Cream the butter briefly in a mixing bowl. Add the date mixture, dry ingredients, and egg, and stir gently to combine. (Do not over-mix.) Spoon the mixture into the molds or baking dish until they are a bit less than half full. Set on a cookie sheet, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Toffee Sauce: While the pudding bakes, combine the butter, cream, and brown sugar with 3 tablespoons water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, add rum, and set aside, keeping the sauce warm. Remove the pudding from the oven when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If using a large baking dish, cut the pudding into 12 squares. Pour the sauce over the pudding, allowing it to seep down around the sides and cover the top. (Use a fork to pull the pudding away from the pan, to get the sauce down the sides.) Bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature. Serve with Rum Raisin ice cream, if desired.