I'm a stress eater. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. I'm well aware of the fact that when I'm having a bad day my first instinct is to seek out some comfort food. Thanks to my insatiable sweet tooth it's usually in the form of dessert (which should be pretty obvious by the majority of the recipes on my blog). The main problem with this habit is that my husband has absolutely no interest in anything sweet. People usually tell him that he's lucky to be the main taste-tester of my baking experiments. The truth is, when I ask him to taste a dessert the look on his face is very similar to a child who is asked to swallow the last piece of their least favourite vegetable on their dinner plate. (To be fair; he always gives very useful and encouraging feedback after that.)
So here's where the idea of single-serve desserts becomes extremely handy. One of my favourite winter desserts is chocolate self-saucing pudding - a pudding that comes with its own sauce straight out of the oven? Magical. This particular recipe is cut down so that it's enough for just one person, which is perfect for stress eaters like me. And because I always like to go a little bit overboard, I'm also including the option of whipping up a really quick and easy extra topping; salted butterscotch sauce. Pour this over the top of the single-serve chocolate pudding and it's like child of a chocolate cake and a sticky toffee pudding. It's a hug in dessert form.
Of course there's absolutely no need to make the extra butterscotch sauce, the pudding tastes great on its own. I had a bit of cream leftover in my fridge, and the butterscotch sauce recipe is so easy that it just happened to be good option for me. (Though really, butterscotch sauce is never a bad option.) The full-sized version of the pudding is one that I've been using for years and years, I blogged about it way back in the early days of my blog if you really want the recipe (link below - the photos are horrendously bad, please don't judge me too harshly). It's definitely not one of the prettiest desserts around, but it really hits the spot when you're snuggled up on the couch on a chilly winter's night. P.S. It's even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Single Serve Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce
(pudding recipe adapted from an old recipe on my blog)
For the pudding:
1/3 cup (50g) self-raising flour (or 1/3 plain flour plus 1/2 tsp baking powder)
1 tbsp cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
A pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
10g butter, melted
2 tbsp milk
A few drops of pure vanilla extract if you are not making the butterscotch sauce
Optional: 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
To sprinkle on top: 1/4 cup (50g) tightly-packed brown sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of boiling water
Preheat oven to 180°C and butter a 1 & 1/2 cup capacity (375ml) ramekin/pie dish/oven-safe bowl. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Add milk, melted butter, egg (and vanilla and/or nuts) to the bowl and whisk to combine. Don't worry if there's a few small lumps in the mixture, that's okay. Pour mixture into your prepared dish. Whisky brown sugar and cocoa powder together and sprinkle over pudding batter. Pour boiling water carefully over all the ingredients. You may wish to place your dish on a lined baking tray in case the sauce bubbles over the side of the dish like mine did (but mine overflowed because my pie dish was only 1 cup capacity). Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the pudding has puffed and is firm to the touch in the centre. The sauce should be bubbling around the edges. Carefully remove from the oven and serve immediately on its own or with butterscotch sauce (recipe below) and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For the quick butterscotch sauce:
30g butter, melted
1/4 cup (50g) tightly-packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pure (heavy) cream
1/4 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
You can prepare this sauce ahead of time (keep chilled in the fridge and reheat in the microwave), or make it while you are waiting for your pudding to bake. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat on medium-low, stirring until the butter melts. Increase heat slightly to bring mixture to a very gentle boil, stirring regularly. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then remove from the heat. Taste test and add extra salt if needed. Pour over the top of your pudding.