Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding Cookies

cook 009
Cookies and news for you today!  I hope everyone out there is having a good weekend.  It’s cold and bleak outside, so I don’t really want to leave my cozy apartment to do some Christmas shopping, but I must.  I have to start my Christmas shopping, actually.  I did a little shopping after school last night, but the only thing I bought was a pair of shoes for myself.  They’re really cute though.  Graduation shoes!

Shopping for others really stresses me out.  I never know what to buy anyone, and most of the time I feel like they already have everything they want.  I usually get my family gift cards but I’m not doing that this year.  I told them not to give me gift cards, either.  It’s pointless if we do that – we’re just exchanging money back and forth.  I think we should all save our money and go on a trip together to the beach.  That would be fun. 

So Monday we had master demo, where one of the chefs gives us a demonstration on desserts all day long.  They’re really a lot of fun, although sometimes it’s too long to sit there.  I have trouble sitting down for six hours. 

Chef Della Gossett demonstrated a variety of plated desserts for our class.  Speaking of Chef Della, she will be the executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck’s, Spago, starting in mid-January.  She’ll be replacing the iconic Sherry Yard.  Isn’t that crazy?  I’m so excited for her!  She will be missed by the French Pastry School, I’m certain.  She was definitely one of my favorite instructors. 

The desserts she made on Monday were wonderful… although you can’t tell by my pictures.  I took pictures of my little samples, and you can’t tell what anything is.  I have no idea how she thought up these desserts – she’s brilliant.  I want her brain.

This was a dessert that she would’ve served as a palate cleanser.  It’s a Buddha's hand “ravioli” stuffed with raisins, grapes, and apricots.  On top is a Meyer lemon-olive oil sherbet, and a piece of microgreen.  I’ve always wanted to try Buddha’s hand, but it’s way too expensive.  To make the ravioli, she sliced the thicker part really thinly, and then blanched the slices to remove bitterness.

Another dessert was poached quince that she cooked in a pressure cooker.  She cooked the quince with the peel, and the peel made it even a rosier color.  The quince was topped with a granola, nougat frozen yogurt, thyme, and this honeycomb mixture.  The honeycomb was this crazy crunchy mixture made from a cooked honey-syrup and baking soda. 

I’m having trouble remembering this dessert because Monday was such a long time ago.  It’s a steamed cake made with raisins, served with a red wine toffee sauce, pecans, and… I forget what the ice cream was.  Maybe that was the frozen yogurt. 

When I got home I made my own steamed chocolate cake and baked a 9-inch chocolate cake in a water bath.  It was a little too moist… kind of like a really gooey flourless chocolate cake, even though I baked it quite a while.  I’m going to try again though because I think I’m on to something. 

The toffee-wine sauce from chef’s dessert was really delicious, and my inspiration behind these cookies. 
I’m entering my Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding Cookies in Fonseca BIN 27 Port’s cookie rumble contest.  They’re inviting everyone to share your favorite cookie recipe that pairs with BIN 27.  Entries are due by December 31st!  You can win a private cooking lesson with Jacques Torres and  Dorie Greenspan!  I think these cookies complement the port well, and they actually have port in them.

The dough is a spiced chocolate cookie dough made with BIN 27, dates,  (dates are traditionally used in sticky toffee pudding), brown sugar and browned butter.   I made little thumbprints and filled the cookies with caramel and chopped pecans before baking. 

cook 007

Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Fonseca BIN 27 Port
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup caramel sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped salted roasted pecans

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. 

Melt butter in a small saucepan; cook 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently, until butter foams and starts to turn golden brown.  Whisk in dates and baking soda until combined; boil 1 minute.  Remove pan from heat and whisk in chocolate and port, until chocolate is melted and smooth; place mixture into a large mixing bowl. 

Add brown sugar to chocolate date mixture, and beat with a mixer on medium speed until well combined.  Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined.  Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined.  Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour, or until cold and firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Roll dough into 24 (equal sized) balls; place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing about 3/4-inch apart.  Make a thumbprint in each ball; fill with about a teaspoon of caramel sauce.  Drizzle any remaining caramel sauce on top of cookies.  Sprinkle pecans on top.  Bake 12-14 minutes, or until set, and crisp.  Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Makes 2 dozen cookies


  1. I feel the same about buying Christmas present and I would love to come up with a new thought - like putting all our money together to spend time together at a beautiful resort. Everyone has everything they want anyway. I'm glad to hear someone else thinks like I do.
    Anyway love your cookies!

    1. I'm with ya, sister! Let's save our money for a cruise.

  2. My tips on Christmas shopping:

    1 START EARLY. We're talking September here. You don't have to do the actual shopping. Just start making lists of people you need to buy gifts for and at least possible ideas for what they might like.

    2. Pay attention. Chances are your friends and family might be telling you what they want or need without realizing it. For example a couple of years ago I kept noticing the old wooden desk chair Kevin used for his computer desk was constantly falling apart. I bought him a cushy new office chair. One afternoon while shopping with my BFF, I noticed her looking at makeup bags and she said something about really being able to use a new makeup bag.

    3. Go to Amazon and see if people have wish lists. If they don't have one, encourage them to make one. You can put anything on an Amazon wish list and it makes ordering easy. In fact, make one of your own and let people know about it if they ask you what you want for Christmas. You'll make their lives easier too.

    4. Don't do it all at once. Spread it out over the course of a few weeks. Pick up a gift here and there if you happen to be in or near a store that sells something. Order online now and then.

    I'm often finished with shopping before Thanksgiving. At the very least I like to be finished before December starts. I enjoy the season much more when I don't have gifts hanging over my head.

    Then again, the vacation idea sounds awfully good too.

    1. I LOVE your tips! Thanks so much, Rachel!

  3. your cookies look like a sure winner to me!! Good Luck!!

  4. I need to get started on my christmas shopping also! Oy. I foresee a lot of people getting baked goods for christmas. seriously.



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