It's summertime! The days are long, the temperature's high, and if you're like me, the desire to stay indoors working in a hot kitchen is low. During times like these, we all need a stash of quick and easy recipes to satisfy every craving. Here's a simple, fast candy rocky road candy recipe that you can make without breaking a sweat.
Have you noticed that marshmallow flavors have gotten crazy? Whereas there used to be just two choices--large or small?--I can now find a huge selection of different marshmallow flavors and shapes in most grocery stores. I was inspired by this bounty to make Neapolitan rocky road, using vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry marshmallows. They're mixed with roasted almonds and semi-sweet chocolate to form a rich, chewy, crunchy candy. If you can't find these exact marshmallow flavors, you can substitute whatever is easily available.
One quick note: when making chocolate candies, it's best to temper the chocolate, meaning to heat it and cool it to a specific temperature. This keeps its hard and shiny, and keeps it from melting in warm weather. If you have an instant-read thermometer, or a chocolate thermometer, the process is easy. If you don't want to go to the trouble of tempering, you can skip this step--I've included both variations down below.
Neapolitan Rocky Road Recipe
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (about 2 cups chopped)
- 1/2 cup miniature white marshmallows
- 1/2 cup chocolate marshmallows
- 1/2 cup strawberry marshmallows
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds
- Chocolate or instant-read thermometer (optional, needed only if tempering the chocolate)
Here's how not hard this recipe is: the next four pictures are all going to be about chopping ingredients. That's the bulk of the work! Start by making sure your marshmallows are all the same small size. These steps might vary depending on what is available to you, but the basic idea is that you want them all to approximate the size of the miniature marshmallows. The chocolate marshmallows I found were about twice the size of miniature marshmallows, so I cut the chocolate ones in half.
The strawberry marshmallows I found were pretty gigantic, so they were cut in 6-8 pieces each, until they were about the size of a dime.
Next, coarsely chop the roasted almonds. Make sure you leave them in good-sized chunks to add some much-needed texture. They do put the rock in rocky road, after all.
Finally, chop the chocolate. If you will NOT be tempering it, chop all of the chocolate into small pieces, and place it in a large microwave-safe bowl.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second increments so it won't get overheated. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth, then skip down a few steps to where we add the mix-ins.
If you WILL be tempering the chocolate, chop about three-quarters of it into small pieces. Leave one big chunk whole. It should be about a quarter of the total chocolate, but don't worry about being too precise.
Melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave. When it's completely melted, add the big chunk of chocolate and insert the chocolate thermometer or instant-read thermometer. Stir the chocolate frequently, and try to scrape the big bar of chocolate with your spatula, to encourage it to melt into the melted chocolate. Keep stirring the chocolate around until it dips below 90 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.
Once it's under 90 F, do a quick test by spreading some of the chocolate on a sheet of parchment. If it's properly tempered, it should quickly begin to set, and within 3-5 minutes it should be hard and shiny and room temperature. If it doesn't set, keep stirring and let the temperature dip lower, then try again.
The last step is to remove the rest of the unmelted block of chocolate. Take it out of the bowl, and set it aside to use for your next cooking project!
Now it's time to add the mix-ins. Dump all of the chocolate marshmallows, strawberry marshmallows, and miniature marshmallows into the chocolate. Add most of the chopped nuts, but reserve a few spoonfuls of nuts to scatter on top of the rocky road.
Stir everything together until all of the nuts and marshmallows are completely coated with chocolate.
Scrape the candy out onto a baking sheet covered with parchment or waxed paper, and spread it into a thin, even layer.
Sprinkle the remaining chopped nuts all over the top of the chocolate, and press down gently to get them to stick. If you've tempered the chocolate, you can let it set at room temperature, but if you've just melted it, you'll want to put it in the refrigerator to firm up, for about 20 minutes.
When it's completely set, cut the Neapolitan rocky road candy into small squares. You could also break it into pieces, but because the marshmallows are so chewy, it's easier and neater just to cut it.
Now you can enjoy a taste of your not-so-hard work! If the chocolate is tempered this can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. If it's not tempered, you might find that it gets soft or streaky at room temperature, so it's better to keep it in the refrigerator until shortly before serving. Enjoy!
All text and images (c) Elizabeth LaBau