Good morning. Here we are, passing the 'Monday morning blog post' test! It certainly does feel good to be so organised. Let's get on with it. I like to bake. A lot. I usually use this kind of stuff to bake.
Sometimes, however, an electric whisk, an oven, measuring spoons – it’s all so unnecessary. Sometimes all you need is a big bowl and a pair of eyes (and a pan, and hot water).
Rocky road. For years, I did not ‘get’ rocky road. It’s American, for one thing (don’t ask; I can only think I must have been prejudiced as a child, despite loving American wrestling and TV: Saved by the Bell, Blossom etc).
For some reason, I also linked rocky road with Canada (Rockies?) and a moose (is there a moose called Rocky?). All these perfectly acceptable things – America, Canada and mice – got blended in my head and became something I – a British person who had never seen a moose – should not be interested in. (Oh, it also made me think of hockey. Again, no clear reason – with hindsight, perhaps because it rhymes with rocky? I wonder if child therapy would have been beneficial).
Anyway, it looked like a lazy fatty food for lazy people who couldn’t even be bothered to switch their ovens on for their fat but just wanted it as quickly and easily as possible. There, I’ve said it. You know, I planned for this to be a mainly visual post with my tips for creating a delicious treat. Now I’m writing a thousand words and putting myself off rocky road in the process.
Let’s cut to the chase. I was wrong: rocky road is fabulous. It’s also filthy, unnecessary and a bit of an excuse to eat loads of stuff that’s not good for you in one fell swoop.
I have made a few batches of rocky road of late; here’s what I have discovered:
- Biscuit: an essential component of rocky road, I use Arnott’s Scotch Fingers - they provide the perfect level of crispness (a harder biscuit makes eating it more of an effort and, let’s face it, rocky road is not about effort).
- Chocolate is another crucial element of this easiest and filthiest of treats. I use Cadbury’s baking chocolate and it tastes absolutely delicious. It seems less sweet than regular chocolate (so you can eat more of it, I think).
- When it comes to marshmallow, think big. I started my rocky road trials with mini marshmallows more suited to adorning a hot chocolate. These looked cute and tasted fun. Then I upsized to ginormous marshmallows: when I chopped each one in half, they STILL made the tray look small. BUY THE BIGGEST MARSHMALLOWS YOU CAN FIND. You can always cut them in half, but you can’t make them bigger. BIG MARSHMALLOWS. Taste before adding.
- Cherries: proceed with caution. I added whole glacé cherries to my second batch and it was horrible. I thought it would make it feel healthier (hahahahahaha), though I don’t subscribe to the delusion of glacé cherries counting as one of your five a day. But I did it. And it was rubbish. I was actually eating the stuff dreading every sphere, knowing it was going to be yet another manky glacé cherry destined to sully my rocky road experience. Didn’t stop me eating it, but certainly lessened the pleasure considerably. Will never repeat this heinous error.
- What looks like a chocolate-coated cherry but does not need to be feared? I’m glad you asked. For my most recent tray, I ditched the stupid cherries (of course) and substituted...Maltesers! A revelation. Now this is more like it. MUCH more like it. Taste before using.
- What gives the illusion of health but does not get in the way of the filth? Tiny dried cranberries. Use these sparingly (say, five in a whole tray) and you get the occasional fruity burst without ruining rocky road time.
With all that in mind, here’s how to make rocky road so that you’ll never want to eat anything else.
Note before starting: quantities are not crucial. This is where that pair of eyes I mentioned earlier comes in. Just add ingredients to a big bowl in what you feel are the right amounts – they probably will be. A good rule is to throw in the whole bag/bar/packet, then take a few out and eat them straightaway. Whatever’s left will be right.
Baking chocolate. Milk baking chocolate tastes nicer than dark for this (I normally eat very dark chocolate, and have made this with half milk and half dark – it was rubbish. Do not try this at home. Just use milk). Two big bars – remembering to eat the odd square first – should see you right.
Biscuits. Buy a plainish packet of biscuits that you like, bearing in mind that too crunchy makes eating hard work. My friend uses Jammie Dodgers and her rocky road is excellent. I have used Scotch Fingers and Jammie Dodgers and my rocky road is excellent.
Marshmallows. MASSIVE ONES.
Maltesers. Say, a sharing bag. Or bigger.
Chocolate chips. I threw a few white chocolate chips into the most recent batch just because I had some left, and it was fun.
Cranberries. You know, the more I think about this one, the more I think “Just leave them out”. It’s your call: they taste fine and everything, but really, they’re not going to turn it into a health food.
Break up the chocolate in a smallish bowl that is okay to be placed over heat (Pyrex or similar, she says, using some kind of plastic bowl every time herself). Find a pan that the bowl nestles on top of happily (not one that the bowl falls into). Boil a small amount of water (in a kettle – it’s about a million times quicker), pour a small amount of boiling water in the pan, put the pan on a low heat, put the bowl of chocolate over the pan and let it melt the chocolate. The water should not touch the bowl, so just lift it up and check it’s not wet or that the water doesn’t look as though a bowl has just been lifted out of it. You can also melt chocolate in a microwave but I have never done this – it just feels wrong.
Whilst your chocolate is melting, grab all your other ingredients. Mmm, eat some marshmallow, a Malteser or two and maybe a biscuit.
Break the biscuits into the bowl. Arnott’s Scotch Fingers break nicely into pieces (usually each biscuit goes into six or eight bits), but it’s not an exact science. I think I use around 150g of biscuits (more than half a pack) but, as I said, do what feels right. It’s just rocky road.
Tip in the marshmallow, halving if they’re as big as mine, then pour in the Maltesers. When I made these last time, I picked out some of the marshmallow and Maltesers and put them in a separate dish to sprinkle on top later, but you don’t have to bother with stuff like that – it’s just aesthetics.
Throw in some chocolate chips – handful or two? I only had about seven white chocolate chips left, but you may have more than seven :)
Okay, has your chocolate melted? If not, go back and eat some more Maltesers out of the bowl of stuff to pass the time. Also, line a baking tray with baking paper. I use a small tray and pile it high; size really isn't important. It doesn’t even matter if you find you don’t have enough mixture to reach the sides. You’re just going to plonk it in – WHO CARES. Also, I say "line" the tray but, if you look at my pictures, you'll see it is hardly precision-lined. I let the weight of the rocky road do the work - no need to get your ruler and scissors out.
Right, get that chocolate melted, you must be starving by now. Pour chocolate over your bowl of stuff and mix together. Mix, mix, try not to crush the Maltesers. You're looking for a coating of chocolate over everything.
Tip into your lined tray. Make it roughly even by pressing mixture down and out but don’t cry if it looks weird – it’s only rocky road and it is REALLY hard to make a bad batch.
If you kept some of your Maltesers and marshmallows aside, sprinkle them on top now. Press them into the chocolate a bit, just so they don’t roll around or fall off.
Put tray in refrigerator (that’s the full name for a fridge) and leave to chill and go hard. Check every two minutes to see if it's ready by poking finger in it, grumbling and licking finger. Pull Malteser off top every third check and eat.
Remove from fridge after about half an hour, saying “That’ll do, it’s had long enough”. Break off giant amount, biting into it before putting it on a plate.
Carry through to chair, eating as you go. Sit down and realise you have already eaten it all. Get up, go to fridge, and break off another piece. Repeat as necessary until you need to make another batch.