Being the dedicated marshmallow fan that I am, I cannot believe I never made rocky road treats before today. Only good thing can come out of combining marshmallows, chocolate, and nuts, don’t you think? Rocky road is the embodiment of excess and over-the-top sugary giddiness. They make me smile like a kid.
Of course, my palate is no longer that of a 6 years old. Mixing sweet and savoury and a little more complexity are more welcomed than one dimensional sweetness. I wanted a more grown up version of classic rocky road. I began with Alice Medrich’s Rocky Road Square as my starting point from her cookbook Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies. Her recipe is a base of vegan chocolate cake mixed in with walnuts, dark chocolate, caramel, and marshmallows. I like the idea of a not-too-rich cake base to complement decadent ingredients.
I’ve never been fond of stuck-to-your-teeth caramel. However, nuts candied in crunchy caramel coating I cannot refuse. That gave me the idea to replace walnuts and caramel with homemade beer nuts. I quickly cooked up a batch of candied peanuts from my favourite recipe. For the all important savoury component, I chose pretzels for it is the one crunchy snack I cannot stop eating.
I half expected the squares to be rocky road brownies and was a teensy bit disappointed that it was chocolate cake with cast of characters from rocky road. I wanted it to be more fudgy, more dense, more sticky. They are good for what they are but unfulfilled expectation is a funny thing. It leaves me feeling a little empty, a little incomplete.
I’m glad that I did not stud the top of the dessert with beer nuts until the cake came out of the oven. The beer nuts kept their crunchy caramel shell. I should have given the same treatment to the pretzel pieces too. They would have been more crispy. I am happy with my grown up version of rocky road but next time, they will be a part of some seriously soft fudgy brownies. I have a feeling that next time will arrive sooner than later. After all, a craving has yet to be satisfied.