I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really make tray bakes. Sometimes I find them a bit bland or boring unless they’re seriously pimped to the max, which is what I’ve tried to do here with my rocky road brownies. What’s wrong with either rocky road or a brownie? I hear you cry. Well, nothing really. They’re both a delicious chocolatey treat. But when you combine the two, this becomes the powerhouse of sweet treats.
This is an idea I’ve been mulling over for a couple of months now, I devised the recipe and then promptly forgot about it (read: too lazy to make it). Given I have challenged myself to get back in the kitchen more and do things for me, I whipped these up last night and boy, I was flippin well glad I did!
Using Nigella’s wonderful Christmas rocky road as my muse, my recipe is a clash of dense, fudgey, dark chocolate brownie, speckled with amaretti biscuits for texture and that marzipan tang. Pistachios and walnuts for earthiness and more texture (plus they were the only nuts I had hanging about in my cupboards) and then dried sour cherries to cut through all the sweetness.
This brownie in itself would be delicious, however given I like over the top things, the brownie is then covered in chocolate ganache. Rocky road isn’t rocky road without marshmallows so whilst the ganache is still softly set this is sprinkled with mini marshmallows and more crushed amaretti biscuits. Because I love any excuse to get my blowtorch out, the marshmallows are then toasted for that smoky sweet element.
Now I’m not just saying this, but these were bloody good. I’m gutted I didn’t make them a few months back when I first thought of them but then that’ll teach me. The contrasting textures worked so well and the sour cherries worked a treat to stop the whole things from being too sickly and cloying. I’d love to try these with smoked almonds for the nut element and I’d probably increase the amount of sour cherries. If you can’t get hold of the cherries then dried cranberries will be just as delicious.
This is a rocky road – but for grown ups!
Rocky Road Brownies
(Makes approx 35 1 inch square brownies)
For the brownie
200 g dark chocolate (chopped)
150 g butter
225 g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150 g plain flour (sifted)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
A couple of handfuls of amaretti biscuits, crushed into small pebble sizes pieces
75g sour cherries
100g nuts of your choice (probably not peanuts though), chopped
For the topping
150g dark chocolate (60% cocoa)
150 ml double cream
200g pack of mini marshmallows
2 tbsp finely crushed amaretti biscuits
Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line a 30cm x 23cm tray.
Melt the chocolate and butter together until liquid, use a bain marie to do this so you don’t scorch the chocolate. Take off the heat and then beat in the sugar, then gradually mix in the eggs until combined.
Add the sifted flour, salt and baking powder and mix through until combined and no traces of flour appear. Stir through the amaretti, nuts and cherries until thoroughly combined through and then pour into the lined tin.
Bake in the oven for around 30-35 mins until the top is flaky and the middle is just set. Please don’t over bake, as it will continue to cook as it cools.
Whilst the brownies are in the oven, make the ganache topping. Chop up the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to just about boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until all combined and glossy.
Leave to cool until of a spreadable, yet still sticky consistency. Once spreadable, apply in an even layer over the top of the brownie, (make sure the brownie isn’t hot straight from the oven, leave it for about 20-30 mins once out) then sprinkle over the marshmallows and amaretti crumbs. You may want to gently press on the marshmallows so they will adhere to the ganache.
Finish the marshmallow top by popping under the grill for a few seconds – keep your eye on this, or, if you are into your gadgets, use a blowtorch.
Leave to cool completely in the tin – this will take about a couple of hours, then pop in the fridge to chill thoroughly. Once chilled, remove from the tin and chop into pieces, however big or small.
These will keep in the fridge for a good few days.
Go on, give these a go!