Monday, 23 December 2013

The Rocky Road to Christmas

I am writing this post under protest. I am not sure who I am protesting but here I am typing away under sufferance. You see I had finished this post about Rocky Road a week ago but in the rush of attempting to do a million things at once I must have not saved it. So here I am a week later with a little window of time to make the finishing touches to it so I can satisfyingly/apprehensively click the “Publish” button only to discover I can’t find the document- anywhere!
This is the fourth day of our Christmas trip away to visit my family and who knows whether it’s a combination of the change of weather, change of time zone or change of environment but Master Q and Miss M have decided they won’t sleep. They are Not.Having.It.
They have been taking it in turns to wake at the ungodly hour of 4.30am and refusing to go back to sleep and so Husband, my Mum and I have been taking it in turns to get up with which ever little misfit has decided that this is an appropriate time to start the day. I shouldn’t be so infuriated because if we were at home there wouldn’t be two extra adults to lend a helping hand and give us a break but I am still annoyed. I let it slide the first few nights but this morning I had had enough. And so when I dragged myself and my computer outside to finish this post only to find I would have to write it all again I felt like bursting into tears. Totally ridiculous reaction I know, but these are the kind of things that push you over the edge when you are tired and worn out, aren't they? You are exhausted, struggling to put one foot in front of the other and attempting to take some time out to do something for yourself and WHAMO! It feels like the universe is punishing you for wanting to do something purely for your own happiness! I’m sure the ‘universe’ is playing its really little violin at the moment and yelling at me to “Swallow some concrete and harden up!”, but still it’s an emotional ‘rocky road’ (pun intended!) being a Mum and I’m not going to apologise for losing it over something so trivial but I will move on…
Rocky Road. I have been making this little gem for friends and family for Christmas for the last few years and even though I am on the sugar-free band wagon I couldn’t deprive my loved ones of these little treats, could I? I will confess I did have some little tastes during the process of making these but it was all in the name of quality control!
According to the font of all knowledge ‘Wikipedia’, “Rocky Road was invented in Australia in 1853 as a way of on-selling confectionery spoiled by the long journey from Europe. Gold miners in towns outside of Melbourne, such as Ballarat, were wealthy but uncultured. Unscrupulous businessmen took advantage of these men, mixing the spoiled confectionery with low quality chocolate and other 'filler' ingredients, such as locally foraged nuts. The name Rocky Road is derived from the 'Rocky Road' travelers had to take to get to the gold fields”. Now I am not sure as to the veracity of this story but I did enjoy this little tale!
My Rocky Road contains four ingredients; chocolate, marshmallows, peanuts and coconut. My version definitely does not contain glace cherries or Turkish delight, these two ingredients are at the top of my ‘most disliked’ ingredients list. Rocky Road is one of the simplest gifts you can make for Christmas but for me there are a number of things which make my rocky road a crowd pleaser. I use a combination of dark and milk chocolate, I use unsalted roasted peanuts and I always use Pascall Marshmallows (this is not a sponsored post, I just love them!). In my twenties I had been known to scour convenience stores and petrol station shops in search of the illusive Pascall all-White Marshmallow packet this is how much I LOVED THEM! When making Rocky Road however I relent and use both the pink and white marshmallows, it makes them look a lot more delightful.

Every year I do vow that I will find a way to wrap them in a much more ‘modern/edgy’ looking way but in the rush of Christmas I always fall back to clear cellophane and curling ribbon – 80’s Style! I think it suits the kitsch-ness of Rocky Road anyway.

To counteract the sugar-filled Rocky Road I decided to attempt some sugar-free truffles as gifts this year. I trialed two truffle recipes from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar; a chocolate orange truffle and a coconut truffle. The ingredient combination of the chocolate orange truffle tasted great but no matter what I did I could not form them into anything resembling a truffle so I abandoned this one. The coconut truffle (you can find the recipe here) was also a little difficult to form into a ball and I felt like Goldilocks either finding the mixture either ‘too hard’ or ‘too soft’ to work with but I eventually rolled them into truffle-like formations and covered them in shredded coconut. They are of course nowhere near as sweet as the Rocky Road and are very ‘coconut-ty’ but I think the pure white, snow-like look of them are a great contrast to the jagged, gnarly look of the Rocky Road.

Make a batch or two of the Rocky Road and take them along to your Christmas day celebrations, they are an easy last-minute treat and sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

Nicole’s Rocky Road


(Yields approx 24-36 pieces)
1 x 250 grams good quality milk chocolate
1 x 250 grams good quality dark chocolate
½ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
½ cup dessicated coconut
1 x 250 gram packet Pascall marshmallows

1.Line a plastic slice container or slice tin with greaseproof paper making sure the paper extends over the sides
2.Cut the marshmallows into quarters using kitchen scissors or a knife and place into a bowl along with the coconut and peanuts
3.Break chocolate into glass bowl
4.Place the glass bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the water doesn’t touch the bowl (you can also melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals but be careful as it easily seizes in the microwave) and stir until chocolate is melted
5.Once melted quickly combine the chocolate with the other ingredients
6.Pour mixture into the tin/container spreading to edges (if you like it thicker just spread it to half of the tin)
7.Place in fridge to set for approx 2 hours
8.Once set lift paper out of tin and cut into pieces

What is your signature Christmas treat?

1 comment:

  1. Well I think is the first Xmas that I havent baked,made heaps of non bake goodies that consisted of condensed milk,chocolate,copha,nuts etc. I was really thinking of my waist line, not that I have seen it lately !! But after seeing NIcoles "Rocky Road" and "White Coconut Ball" I wish I had made the effort and made something really naughty....they look soooo inviting. Merry Xmas and enjoy all the things that we will then decide to stop in the New Year.


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