Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas Rocky Road

I feel very privileged to be writing this blog post for Attachment Mummy as she settles into her crazy Christmas with her (now 3) lovely children.   When she requested Christmas themed posts I knew I had to share my favourite treat with you all .... Rocky Road Bites.

Yes sure, you can buy it from that well know high street bakery or your local supermarket but there's something special about making your own, not to mention you get a lot more for your money.

Out of everything I make this is the one that gets requested time and time again by small boys and husband alike....not to mention my work colleagues and (as of today) the builders putting our new windows in.

We have come to the conclusion in my house that the less I touch the cooker the better which is another
reason why this Rocky Road Tray 'bake' is a hit with me too.  I use the term 'bake' loosely as there is no baking involved, heating yes but mainly cooling.

I'm not normally one to mess with a recipe....if it asks me to add 50g of flour then 50g it is .... 52g eek must get those 2g out.  If my muffins aren't cooked in the time the recipe says I panic as to what I've done wrong... normally I've put them into the wrong sized cases..... and please don't ask me what happened to the rainbow cake....

             But with Nigella's Rocky Road I am all for playing and tweaking to get it just right.....

Nigella's original recipe calls for:

125 grams soft butter
300 grams best-quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) broken into pieces
3 tablespoons golden syrup
200 grams rich tea biscuits
100 grams mini marshmallows
2 teaspoons icing sugar (for dusting)

However even with my very sweet tooth I cannot use 300g of dark chocolate, normally I substitute the dark chocolate for either a 50/50 combination of milk/ plain or 200g of one and 100g of the other.  I never ever buy the most expensive either, smart price/ value is as good as any others.

Although rich tea biscuits are lovely I find that using 100g of rich tea and 100g of ginger nuts give not only an edge to the flavour but also the texture.  again don't buy the expensive brands, value/ smartprice are fine and because they come in large packs you just have to eat them to finish up .... such a shame!!!

I like to tweak the ingredients depending on my mood, what I have in my cupboard and what time of the year it is.  If I have digestives in but not rich teas then the digestives are used.  no small marshmallows but plenty of large ones.... just cut them up.

There are many other versions out there (which I look at later) but at the end of the day the best ones, I think, are the ones that you make up yourself.  

The method is so very simple (perhaps that's why I love it?) and the children can get involved with virtually every step.
My method below differs slightly from Nigella's.  Like most good cooks she would tell you to heat the chocolate, butter and syrup in a saucepan.  So long as you are very careful to keep an eye on so it doesn't burn  there is no reason why this can't be melted together in a microwave (I have many times) so the children can join in pressing the buttons.

The original recipe also suggests you take about half a cup of melted mixture out of the bowl before you mix in the dry ingredients and use this to make a smooth top on the tray 'bake'.  I have never done this and to be honest I like the rustic look they produce without it..... no that's a lie... I did once think it would be a good idea to melt some white chocolate and use this to top the 'bake'........I can't find the pictures.... but that's probably a good thing, lets just say it wasn't pretty.

Anyway..... my tried and tested adapted seasonal recipe........kindly assisted by Noah (2 and a half) and Ben (5)...

With Christmas right around the corner I have added a bit of festive sparkle by replacing the suggested icing sugar on top with with gold and silver edible glitter .........


125g soft butter

200g supermarket value dark/ plain chocolate (broken into pieces)
100g supermarket value milk chocolate (broken into pieces)
a dollop of golden syrup
100g supermarket value Rich Tea biscuits
100g supermarket value Ginger nut biscuits
100g mini marshmallows
edible glitter (for dusting)

Method  (small children assistance optional)

1.   Melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a microwavable bowl.  Be careful not to overheat it as it will burn. 

2.   Put the biscuits into freezer bags  (a few at a time) and give 2 small children rolling pins.  Ask them to bash the biscuits into bits.  remind them to be careful of their fingers (been there....they only hit them once!).

Refill the bags after bits have gone in mouth and pray they eventually end up with 200g of crumbs and pieces of biscuits - this is really important without the bigger pieces your bites will have minimal texture, too many big bits and they will have the same effect.

Put biscuit pieces and crumbs into the melted chocolate mixture, and give children spoons to mix it with.  Replace spoon after it has gone in mouth and pass to other child. 

Replace spoon again.  Clear biscuit crumbs off the table back into the bowl and give it a stir.

3.  Repeat with the marshmallows, replacing those that accidentally fall into mouths with fresh ones.

4.   Spoon into 2 foil trays* and give children spoons to flatten the mixture.  Replace spoons due to licking and repeat.

5.   Open the edible glitter and attempt to sprinkle nicely over the top of the Rocky Road.  

6.   Put in the fridge until required

7.   Take the Rocky Road out the trays and cut into small pieces.

8.  Serve (straight into fingers), making sure to leave some for yourself and a cup of tea when you have finished cleaning fingerprints off the table/ cups/ hands and faces and the kids are in bed.

*Note that the size of the tray you choose will affect how many you make, you want them quite thick but not like house bricks.  Silver foil trays are ideal because you can cut them and remove from the 'bake' they come out of oven proof dishes less well (been there done that). 
You will also want to ensure you have eaten an entire tub of delicious chocolate of your choosing in advance so you have an empty container to store them in ........

Cost:  You can make this variation for around £7.

Rocky Road Variations

For an additional Christmas feel why not add some cranberries or cherry's.

You could replace the ginger nuts with amaretti biscuits?

Shortbread and honeycomb I have been advised makes for another tasty treat.

Stir in some white chocolate chips.

Retromummy opted for white chocolate, raspberry and coconut and I must say after seeing them I am very tempted to give the white chocolate another try.

Becca Bakes made a Malteaser version that has been on my to-do list for a long time.

As Christmas approaches I think I may be substituting some of the chocolate for chocolate orange and see what they tastes like.

But finally our new favourite addition...........popping candy!!  If you add 2 sachets you don't notice the flavour (I found these 2 in the back of the cupboard), in fact you don't even notice it's been added .... until the chocolate clears your mouth and your tongue has a little party of its own.

For a sneaky adults version to see in the new year add a splash of Baileys and some nuts.....just remember to put them in a separate box to the children's version.

Although I have never had to do it, Nigella does say these will freeze for up to a month so you could make plenty in advance of Christmas celebrations so you can relax nearer the time.

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe and it encourages you to have a go yourself or just be more adventurous with a tried and tested favourite.

Whatever you decide to do please pop over to my blog, facebook page or tweet me and share your ideas, perhaps check out some of my other tried and tested favourite treats.

And most of all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

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