There's quite the backlog of post building up in my head as there's been a flurry of activity in the North London Kitchen since we returned from Dorset. It's resulted in sticky floors, sticky slippers, a tonne of washing up and some interesting phone calls (not all of which were to my Mum).
However, when I assessed which of the recent projects was in most urgent need of being posted, it wasn't anything from this week at all. Now, I've warned you, the following is highly addictive. If, like me, you have no will power, make at your peril, they will vanish, leaving a trail of gooey devestation in their wake.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, the Ultimate Rocky Road Brownie Recipe.
Oh yes, it is good enough to warrant the use of "ultimate" in the title. I know, because I've had them. They may not look that special, or pretty, but it's what's inside that counts.
I am very careful not to make these too often. They are a special occasion brownie, packed with far too much deliciousness and gooey stuff and bits of niceness. They are not a grab-on-the-go type, but a savouring-in-front-of-Match-of-the-Day-after-a-hard-night's-drive-across-the-west-of-England-to-your-hotel type brownie. Which is exactly why I made them last Friday ready for our River Cottage Road Trip. The time I made them before that was for a 26 hour, three changes, haven't seen my boyfriend in three months, flight across to Peru when N was away two years ago. As you can tell, these are very special indeed.
I can't remember where I found the recipe, but it was years ago, I think when I was still in college. I think I was reading something at the time that mentioned them and I decided I wanted to have a go. Problem was, I didn't have a recipe. Back then there wasn't a barrage of food blogs I could turn to, but a little hunting and careful search engine usage produced a recipe. I still have that original print out, typed in courior new and cut out to a size just big enough to fit into my recipe scrap book. It is America, as it should be, and so uses cup measures. I'd never come across this back in the day, so actually used a cup. How quaint!
I've adapted and changed and tweaked over the years and every time I think I've got it perfect, then I change something the next time and it's even better. This is one of the things that makes it the "ultimate" rocky road. It can be whatever you want. I didn't used to be a fan of nuts in brownies, so have used everything from chopped biscuit to maraschino cherries (which are now a staple in my final version) in their place, this time I used some macadamia and it came out great. Next time, whenever it may be I will probably try toasted pecans to get some caramel flavour in there.
Oh, and while I remember, they're a great way to use up gritty marshmallows!
The Ultimate Rocky Road Brownie: Makes, well it depends, the original recipe says 12, this time I cut it into 8, but they were pretty large and we ate half one each to make them last longer!
Also, the original recipe calls for a 9" by 13" pan, which I still don't own. I used a 7" by 10" (I think), basically any brownie sized pan will do, they will just be thicker or thinner. Keep an eye on the baking time though, you want them gooey not charcol!
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs 4 squares dark chocolate melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 milk/dark chocolate chip or chunks
1/2 white chocolate chips or chunks (or nuts or dried fruit, or chopped biscuit or...)
1 cup maraschino cherries (I prefer these to glace as they are moist and include alcohol!)
marshmallows (gritty or otherwise)
Heat oven to 180C and line your brownie pan with parchment (I've found the hard way that this is the best way to ensure easy release of your baked brownie goodness). Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until thick and lemon coloured. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Add the cocoa and flour and mix until well combined. Stir in the chips and bits.
Lay the marshmallows (as many as you want, but don't have them touching - I used 12 large) in the pan with space between them. Allow a 1" border from the side of the pan if possible. Spoon the batter over the marshmallows so they're all covered and then pour any excess into the middle of the pan (it will spread as it bakes).
Bake until a toothpick comes out moist from chocolate, but not batter. Aprox 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pan and the lift out and cut. Chill to solidify slightly if needs be, but indulge at room temperature.