Monday, March 10, 2014

Rocky Road Brownies

My family were never vacation-takers. Once every couple of years or so we'd end up in Atlantic City for a long weekend, and a few summers we went to Willow Valley Farms, in Lancaster. Apart from what I thought was an outstanding buffet at Willow Valley (hey, I was in middle school) and the Planters Peanuts shop on the Boardwalk near the Steel Pier, those trips don't particularly stand out in my mind. But one summer, when I was about 9, my Mom took my brother and me to Ocean City, Maryland, for a week, via Trailways.

The three of us stayed at the Commander Hotel, where we set up a routine pretty quickly. After a full breakfast (included in the price of our room), we hit the swimming pool. After a few hours of splashing around, we went to a place just off the boardwalk for slices of Sicilian-style pizza. We then changed and wandered the boardwalk until dinner (also included).

Every night after dinner we went to the candy store to pick up some TV-time nibbles. My brother always got milk chocolate bark, but I wanted something more exotic, like peanut butter fudge or rocky road. Oh how I loved the textures of rocky road candy, with its squishy marshmallows and crunchy nuts! I still love it today, but I try to stay away from eating it every night, like I did during that summer week in 1975.

I found a recipe for brownies with marshmallows and peanut butter chips in my copy of the Fat Witch Brownie cookbook. The bakery's owner calls them "bumpy highway" brownies, but I prefer "rocky road," and with real nuts instead of chips. Walnuts are my preference, but you can use any nut you like. These are very sweet and gooey, owing to a high sugar-to-flour ratio and of course, to marshmallows. They're also quite chocolatey, and a little goes a long way.

Rocky Road Brownies (adapted from Fat Witch Brownies)

3/4 stick unsalted butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons semi sweet chocolate chips, divided use
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9" square baking pan.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in half the semi sweet chips until they are melted.

Beat the sugar and eggs until light and lemon-colored. Blend in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and salt together and add to the batter, mixing until well-combined.

Spread half the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 12 minutes.

Stir the remaining semi sweet chips, marshmallows, and walnuts into the remaining batter. Spread as evenly as possible over the partially-baked layer. Bake 15 more minutes.

Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting. Makes 12-16.

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