I have followed Maire's blogs for years, we first met on recipezaars where we are now forum hosts together. I have a blue binder (in keeping with her own) full of printed out recipes of Marie's. In fact if my youngest daughter wants to bake something, its usually Marie's folder or site that she goes to first, because they are always good, always go together as easy as they should and there is never a duff! No never, in all the years I've been using her recipes, there's not one that we haven't liked.
Anyhoo (now there's a Marie-ism) I digress, I was having a nose around Marie's new site 'The English Kitchen' when I came across 'Sticky Toffee Pudding Bars' Oh me, Oh my...Paul's absolute favourite pudding is sticky toffee pudding. Well I just had to make them, I printed the recipe off and put it to one side with the idea of making them on Friday for when the man himself returns!
Friday morning came bright and early and I jumped out of bed eager to make the bars, gathered the ingredients together then realised I was short of dates by 40g...never mind, I'll substitute with a few raisin no one will notice. I then dutifully read through the instructions - oh oh, there's no sugar in the cake, surely that can't be right? The whole recipe only calls for sugar in the icing. Well I had all the ingredients out on my kitchen counter top, the dates with simmering away and here I was doubting one of Maire's recipes. I should have gone with my instincts and just got on with it, but, I wanted these to be spot on for Paul coming home, so I did what any mad foodie would have done. I text Marie...yes I know it was silly O'clock but she's an early bird too, so I knew she'd be up!
'Help! I'm making ur sticky toffee bars - is it right that there's no sugar in the bars only in the icing?'
Her reply came back in a flash....'That is totally right. the sweetness comes from the dates! Enjoy!'
So I carried on with the recipe as it was written and it was like all of Maire's recipes very easy to put together. I had to stop and ask her another question though, which is so not like me, maybe I'm loosing my cooking mo-jo - who knows! Anyhoo, I just double checked that by baking soda she meant bicarbonate of soda, you see she's from Nova Scotia and has a lovely Canadian accent, so this old Brit wanted to make sure I was using the right stuff!
The cake went in,
..and then came out! I baked it in my pampered Chef square baker
The icing was made, and I was a little bit too impatient (as usual) with the mixing and added a little more milk, then....yep, you've guessed it, a little more icing. I probably have a thicker coating of icing on top of my bars due to this error.
The bars are delicious, wonderfully light and have a great toffee flavour even though I subbed with a few raisins. I'm on my second one already and its not quite 10am and they are still slightly warm, does life get any better?
Not truly bar like in this photo, but that's because it was still warm and slumping rather than sitting on the plate!
My only concern is, as a low carb girl who is not used to sweet things the icing is a little too sweet for me...but there again, I've only got myself to blame for that!!! I also made another mistake with this recipe, I was supposed to cut a portion of it and put it in a separate tin BEFORE sprinkling it with nuts as Jo is allergic to walnuts...whoops, looks like we'll have to eat it all without her!!!
Marie tells me that they are even better the next day, but I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to test that theory out!!! I am going to make the cake part again next week and use it as a dessert to serve with fresh custard, Paul is going to love it!
Edited to add photo - This is one I saved for the next day, its cooled and no long slumps on the plate!
Thank you Marie and oh, I love your new blog, but do miss Michael Buble singing 'Everything' to me. If it comes on the radio, Jo thinks I'm on your site! Its known as Marie's song in this house!
Check out Marie's other blog site A year from Oak Cottage