Crunchy, nutty rocky road bars! With loads of bittersweet chocolate. Yum!
My oh my. I really love rocky roads, but did you know these are relatively new to me?
While marshmallows are a thing where I live and so are various meringue or marshmallowy recipes and candy, rocky roads just aren’t a part of the picture. I didn’t even know these existed until I first watched Gilmore girls. In episode 8 of season 1, Sookie makes these and Rory takes them to her unofficial boyfriend Dean, who looooves them!
And so there I was, watching this episode, wondering about these cookies / bars. Maybe we do have something similar here, sold under a very different name, but the more I think about it the more I just don’t care.
Why, you ask? Because of these nutty rocky road bars! I mean, why even look for any other, when I have these amazing bars at home. I adapted the recipe from Maida Heatter, who I bet some of you know as she is the queen of cake. And cookies.
So when I was looking for rocky road recipes, I decided to go to her. I just knew it in my gut that she has the recipe. And the book that I have has two! One for dark and one for light rocky roads.
They’re not light in their calorie count, but she doesn’t use that much flour or much of anything really. The cake portion is very thin compared to the toppings.
Of course I am a creature of habit and I tweaked the recipe to match my taste better. I prefer a thicker cake layer and so I doubled the ingredients. Her topping instructions were also a little complicated for me because they include this whole thing of sprinkling chocolate on top, baking it and then smearing it over the marshmallows with a spoon. I guess it’s not that difficult to do, but I thought it was unnecessary.
The end result of my playtime in the kitchen are these nutty rocky road bars. The cake is super crunchy and just packed with finely chopped walnuts. I make it with brown sugar which just adds that amazing aroma. But it’s the topping that I love the most. A fine combination of walnuts, melted bittersweet chocolate and large marshmallows.
Now, marshmallows on their own are okay but they turn into something absolutely amazing when you expose them to heat. It’s almost indescribable and so dreamy you’ll want to eat these until you make yourself sick.
With the cold days upon us and the cocoa season kicking in, I think you need these nutty rocky road bars in your life. The recipe makes 9 bars of pretty good size and that’s more than enough for a small crowd of people. As they hold well in the fridge, they’re also perfect for a solo-weekend-binge-session.
Nutty rocky road bars
For the kid that lives in all of us!
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 25 min
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 9 bars 1x
- Category: Dessert, Snacks
- Cuisine: American
- 60g (1/2 cup) sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 80g (2/3 cup packed) Demerara or light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 30g (2 TBSPs) unsalted butter, melted and cooled + butter for greasing
- 110g (1 cup) walnuts, finely chopped
- 16 marshmallows, sliced in half
- 55g (1/2 cup | 2 oz) walnuts, broken in pieces
- 170g (6 oz) bittersweet (50-55%) chocolate, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 177°C (350°F), with the rack placed in the lower third of the oven. Line a 20-cm (8-inch) square baking pan with parchment paper, leave a little overhang for easier handling later on. Butter the pan with butter and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another large mixing bowl beat the eggs just until foamy. Add sugar and vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Mix in the butter, then the flour and stir just until incorporated. Lastly fold in the walnuts.
- The batter will be thick and sticky. Transfer batter to prepared pan, distribute it over the pan in an even layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and the cake slightly springs back when pressed with the back of a spoon.
- As the cake bakes, melt the chocolate. Transfer chocolate to a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water. When most of the chocolate is melted, remove bowl from heat and let chocolate melt completely.
- Take cake out of the oven. Immediately top with sliced marshmallows (cut side down, save 2 for later), leaving some space between them.
- Fill the voids between marshmallows with walnuts. Drizzle chocolate all over, try to get most of it in the spaces and only some over the marshmallows. Take the remaining 2 marshmallows and rip into smaller parts. Stick these in some of the spaces – in those where you have the most chocolate.
- Your oven should be turned off but still hot. Place baking pan back in the oven for 2 minutes. The marshmallows should soften (you can test this with your fingers), but not melt.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting. Ideally leave the rocky roads in the pan, let cool to room temperature, cover with aluminium foil and chill in the fridge overnight.
- When ready take pan out of the fridge. Grab the parchment paper and lift the whole bar. Transfer to a cutting board. Slice into 9 bars, wash knife under warm water between each slice. Store rocky roads in the fridge, covered. (They last for at least 3 days. We weren’t able to keep them for longer.)
Recipe adapted from Maida Heatter’s Cookies.