For the pudding: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the dates and 3/4 cup water to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Turn the heat down to low and simmer until the water has slightly reduced and the dates are beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, then cover the saucepan and let sit for 10 minutes.
Transfer the dates and liquid to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until smooth. Pour the date mixture into a bowl and cool to room temperature.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk to break up any lumps of flour. Set aside the dry ingredients. Add the brown sugar and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugar together, scraping down the bowl as needed, until fluffy and lighter in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until it is evenly combined. Add the orange zest and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated, then add the date mixture. Mix until well combined, then add the remaining flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Spray 8 of the cups in a 12-cup muffin pan with the cooking spray. Fill the greased cups with 1/3 cup batter each. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
For the whiskey toffee sauce: Meanwhile, add the heavy whipping cream, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture continuously until the butter is melted. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the whiskey and continue to simmer until the sauce has slightly darkened in color, an additional 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and keep covered until ready to serve.
Cool the puddings in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Once the puddings are cool enough to handle, remove them from the muffin pan using an offset spatula. Trim the domed tops from the puddings and set them on serving plates, cut-side down. Pour the warm whiskey toffee sauce over the puddings and serve immediately.
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