Everyone has that one type of candy that brings them back to being a kid. Looking back, my candy obsessions came in phases. There was the Milky Way phase, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups phase, the Peeps phase...wait. Who am I kidding. Peeps have remained a constant in my 28 years on this earth. Yes, I know Peeps are essentially congealed chemicals that don't melt in the microwave. And even though I have refined my taste in marshmallows over the years, I still can't pass up one of those yellow chicks.
But oddly enough, the one type of candy that reminds me of my childhood isn't even my own favorite. It's my dad's favorite type of candy - rocky road. I remember every year for Easter getting a basket full of candy (which of course included Peeps) and I always recall my dad making a big fuss over his rocky road Easter egg from See's Candy. I blame my uncouth 9-year-old palate for never seeing the appeal in them. Marshmallow and walnuts mixed into chocolate? And this coming from the kid who stuffed her face with Peeps until she was sick.
Sinfully dark chocolate tossed with homemade marshmallows and roasted almonds (I like to mix things up). Its almost a crime not to make your own rocky road it is so easy. Ok, well, it might not be *quite* as easy if you don't have a fancy chocolate tempering machine. But learning how to temper chocolate is good to try once or twice. It builds character...and strong arm muscles.
I'll be the first to admit that after three attempts at tempering chocolate - with only one success story - and many wasted hours and bags of good chocolate, I promptly jumped chocolate tempering machine bandwagon. But understanding how chocolate behaves is still essential to knowing if it is properly tempered, even with a tempering machine. There are a lot of fabulous resources out there about tempering chocolate, so I won't rewrite the book here. Instead, check out Anita's post here about the seed tempering method as well as David Lebovitz's outstanding resource guide here.
But back to the rocky road!
The great thing about this recipe is that you can easily swap or add different ingredients to get a different product each time. Dark or milk chocolate...flavored marshmallows...almonds, walnuts, or pecans...or throw in something unexpected, like cocoa nibs, to change it up a bit. Whatever combo you choose, you are sure to create a treat that is an unexpected treat.
Homemade Rocky Road
Adapted from 'The Great Book of Chocolate' by David Lebovitz
Making marshmallows using egg whites creates a very light and fluffy marshmallow. I personally prefer my recipe using more corn syrup, but either will work well in this recipe.
For the marshmallows:
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 c plus 1/3 c cold water
1 c sugar
1/3 c light corn syrup
4 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c cornstarch, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
For the rocky road:
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 c roasted unsalted almonds (or your favorite nut)
To make the marshmallows, in a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup of water. Set aside until dissolved and softened.
In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/3 cup of water. Set the heat to medium-high.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the egg whites and beat on low until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
When the syrup has reached between 210 and 220 degrees, increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and beat the egg whites until thick and fluffy. Watch them as to not overbeat. Once the syrup has reached 245 degrees, with the mixer running on low, steam the hot syrup into the egg whites taking care not to pour on the beater.
Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you just used for the syrup and stir until it dissolves. Then pour the gelatin into the egg whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla and continue to whip until the mixture is room temperature.
Mix the cornstarch and sugar together and dust an 11 x 17 inch baking pan with the mixture. Pour the marshmallow mixture out onto the prepared pan, using a spatula to spread it evenly. Allow the marshmallows to set for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
When ready, oil a pizza cutter or kitchen shears and cut the marshmallow into small pieces. Toss the pieces in the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture and then shake in a sieve to get rid of the excess dust. Set aside.
Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment or a silicone mat. Temper your chocolate using your preferred method. Once tempered, toss your marshmallow pieces and nuts into the chocolate until coated. Pour out the mixture onto the prepared baking pan, spread it around a bit, and let set until hardened. Cut the cooled rocky road into chunks and enjoy!