Hello again - ready for a baking lesson? Last year I shared one of my best-loved posts (really, people still read that thing! As well they may - great recipe). Anyway, it was for rocky road, which I am excellent at making.
As a keen baker - glossing over the fact that rocky road really has very little to do with baking - I am always thinking about refinements to recipes and often change stuff as I go along in the hope of improving the final result.
This is obviously no mean feat in the case of what I declared to be the "perfect" rocky road. How does one top that?
Well, depending on the state of your glass, you could say that nothing is ever perfect (come now, you old grump), or that you can always improve, even on perfection (that's the spirit! Don't let semantics get you down, either).
So, here are the improvements on what was a perfect recipe.
I am eating rocky road on a fairly regular basis, and I eventually notice that I am trying to avoid the marshmallow. Even though I like marshmallow, it works in the recipe and, after all, what is rocky road without a flump or twenty?
Well, I am very clever - and also do not want to stop eating the rocky road - so my thinking came up with the theory that it isn't the marshmallow per se, but the whacking great size of the marshmallows I use(d). My previous post decreed that massive marshmallows are the way to go with rocky road, and so it was for a time. But it transpires that you can, after all, have too much of a good thing (who knew?) and I had to bring my mallow consumption in line with regular human beings. In fact, after years of bingeing on giant mallows, it was time to go small or go home. I bought mini marshmallows - the kind they sprinkle on your hot chocolate - and had a go with them.
God, I am brilliant, sometimes! Lovely mallow taste remains, mouth stuffed full of mallow to the extent that I am trying to bite around the humongous mass is avoided.
We are now one mark above perfection. An excellent start.
Still I am not satisfied. After solving the mallow conundrum, the poor Maltesers are pushed into the firing line. They are too sweet.
I have been switching to dark chocolate over the past few years, up to 70% cocoa. It's a bit wild. When it comes to rocky road, however, only an idiot would use dark chocolate (I can't even apologise if you are one of those people - you should be apologising, to your tastebuds for getting it ALL WRONG). So, milk chocolate is still where it's at (in case you didn't get that), but the Maltesers just made it too sweet.
Enter the most marvellous chocolate of all time. This title is bestowed primarily because you can eat lots without feeling sick, but also because you can grab it in handfuls - always a plus - and buy them in really big bags ("sharing" bags, "family" bags, ha ha ha).
The m&m. Or, as they normally travel in packs, m&ms.
Be gone, loser Maltesers; come here, divine m&ms, I love you.
Be gone, off-putting sweetness; hello, could-eat-this-all-day just-rightness.
So that's the ingredients upgrade. I also adjusted a few quantities: what, for example, was I thinking of, suggesting two thirds of a pack of biscuits?
Behold, rocky road 2.0:
- 2x200g Cadbury's milk baking chocolate (silly Cadbury's stopped doing the extra 20g per bar, but any size around here is fine).
- 1 whole packet biscuits (I use Scotch Fingers - don't know if these are a thing outside Australia, but maybe shortbread fingers are kind of the same? Just a plain, yellowy, not too crunchy, not too thin biscuit)
- 1 big bag m&ms
- 1 packet mini marshmallows (I got the rainbow ones, only because the plain ones were out of stock. This did lead to the mother of all psychedelic rainbow nightmares when combined with the m&ms: should you venture down the path of rainbow marshmallows, consider yourself warned.)
4 ingredients! Too easy. Here goes with the too easy method:
Boil a bit of water in a kettle. Pour it into a small pan, pop it on the hob and switch on the hob (low, low, low - we do not want boiling water here). Break all the chocolate up and drop it into a heatproof bowl (I have now bought a Pyrex bowl as opposed to my plastic-looking one and it conducts the heat far more efficiently - should have invested many years ago).
Heatproof bowl on top of small pan, please. Bottom of bowl should not dangle in the water; if you followed my instructions re "bit of water" and "small pan" - both highly technical and ultra-precise measurements - this should not be an occurrence.
Chocolate begins to melt, and this is the closest you'll get to calling yourself a baker with this recipe.
Empty your biscuits into a large bowl and break them up. Something like the size of your finger from the tip to the first knuckle should produce the optimum taste and texture sensation.
You can stop checking your fingertips now.
Pour about two thirds/66.7% of the m&ms into the big bowl; ditto the marshmallows.
That's your baking prep done. Have a butcher's at your chocolate and give it a bit of a stir if it makes you feel good. A spoon rest is a good invention to have for this recipe, as chocolatey spoons can be a mite messy. Put your spoon down, now - it's time to line a baking tin.
I mean that in the very loosest sense of the phrase: just unroll some baking paper over the top of whatever tin you've got (not too big - I'll measure mine later for info). Bear in mind that, the smaller the tin, the higher your rocky road will pile - no bad thing. If you have only a super large cookie tray or similar, you can pour your rocky road into one end and bunch it up, or drop it smack in the middle and be careful how far out you spread it/let it spread. Size is not important at all, is the gist of this paragraph.
Where are we? Oh, you're lining a tin. Yes, unroll baking paper over top of tin. If it looks covered, rip the roll off. When you drop your mixture in, the weight will hold down the paper and shape doesn't matter and baking paper's so awesome it won't stick, so you don't need to worry about being neat unless you have issues.
How's that chocolate coming along? Melted?
No? Give it another stir, it must be about there.
Yes? Excellent. Time to combine.
Lift the bowl off the pan (careful, now, it's hot beneath. Pan and all that). Use a tea towel or similar to dry the bottom of the bowl, as it will probably have some water on it (from the steam, NOT from your pan touching the water because that did not happen).
Pour melted chocolate over the broken biscuits and jolly mini marshmallows. The marshmallows will begin to melt a little but that's okay - no-one will see (especially if you eat it all yourself). If you have a spatula, use it - it's an excellent tool for getting stuff like melted chocolate from the sides of a bowl and you'll be amazed how much more you can get out with it).
Mixy, mixy. Use a wooden spoon. Try to coat everything with at least a thin layer of chocolate, but don't worry, because there's a second chance in a minute.
Tip bowl over "lined" baking tray and in goes your rocky road. Use the wooden spoon to get the bulky bits onto the tray, then the magic spatula to corral the rest of the chocolate. Here's your second chance to produce something vaguely attractive: drizzle the rescued chocolate over any naked biscuits/marshmallow/m&ms. Drop it into the spots that are looking somewhat unloved etc.
Good job. Now grab your extra marshmallows and fling them over the surface, semi-artistically ie not all in a heap.
Scatter the saved m&ms in the same fashion.
Finished. Shove in fridge.
Allow to set to some degree if at all possible - it does taste better this way.
There you go. Better than perfect rocky road. Now, I said I'd measure that tin. I'm not in the mood for measuring at present, so don't let me forget. Also, remember that this measuring business is purely for those of you who like to KNOW STUFF PRECISELY. It's okay, I used to be one of you: when my mum would give me recipes with directions such as a "handful" of rice, I'd go spare. "A handful? What kind of handful? Open, closed, yours, mine? Give me a WEIGHT! No, not in ounces! Arggggh!" (I don't know at what point the pirate walked in).
Okay, I hope that works for you and that I haven't missed out any steps, vital or otherwise, doing this from memory. I probably have, but rocky road is hard to bog up, and easy to improvise, so your new, improved rocky road shouldn't veer too far off course.
Until next time x
PS I will not be measuring the tin at this time. I will add it in when I am armed with the tape measure, the tin and, most importantly, the inclination.
PPS Measuring's for losers. It's about A4 size.