It’s been a very long week–perhaps because this was the first full week of the academic year for me (classes started on Tuesday last week.) Or perhaps it seemed inordinately long because The Boy was home sick for two days. And then again, perhaps it only seemed long because it stretched out in front of of a three-day weekend.
I think long weekends are wonderful not only because they include an extra day, but also because they make me think outside the box. Do I really have to do the usual Saturday chores? Can’t they wait until Sunday–or even Monday? And now, since Saturday is free, what would I like to do with all that extra time? (Is it really even necessary to ask that question?) This is the way a Foodie like me arrives at a plan to spend a good portion of the weekend chopping, cooking, baking, and otherwise occupied in the kitchen. Otherwise known as my happy place.
Today I drove home thinking I’d make something special for the Foodie children to have after school, to start the weekend on a celebratory note. I stopped by the grocery store, to do my usual Friday afternoon shopping, and browsed through the baking aisle for inspiration. Here’s what I came up with:
Rocky Road Brownies. They’re incredibly easy to make–especially if you use a packaged brownie mix, as I did today–and really, really good.
Start with any brownie recipe, or any mix–I used the gluten-free brownie mix from Bob’s Red Mill. (And no, once again, the lovely people at Bob’s do not pay me to say nice things about their products. I love the company, I love their mixes, and I’m trying hard to stay gluten-free. End of story.) Make sure your brownie mix makes enough batter to fill a 9 x 13 inch pan, and follow the directions for cake-like brownies if that’s an option.
One thing to keep in mind: this is a recipe that requires some speed and timing. The miniature marshmallows need to go on the brownies as soon as they come out of the oven. The chocolate glaze needs to go on top of them while it’s still hot and pourable. And the chopped almonds need to go on top of the glaze as soon as it’s been poured, so have them chopped ahead of time.
The marshmallows will be fragile and puffy when they come out of the oven, so plan to pour the glaze where you want it and leave it there–any attempt to spread it around will tear the marshmallows, which wouldn’t be a tragedy but will interfere with the “rocky” texture of the topping. After sprinkling on the almonds, you might want to press down on them very lightly, to make sure they stick to the glaze. Then again, a rogue almond never hurt anyone–if you find that they fall off when you slice the brownies, just put them back where they belong.
I put chopped almonds on only half of the brownies, knowing that The Boy would prefer not to eat them, so really I wound up with half a pan of Rocky Road Brownies and half a pan of Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies. I like the added texture of the almonds, but chocolate and marshmallow are, of course, pretty darn good on their own. Feel free to make your road as rocky or smooth as you like.
Rocky Road Brownies
1 package brownie mix (or 1 recipe of brownies designed to fill a 9 x 13 inch pan)
1 stick butter
4 T. cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
2 T. hot water
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1 bag miniature marshmallows
Chopped almonds (a lot or a little, depending on your taste)
Prepare the brownie batter according to package directions (or follow the recipe you've chosen.) When the brownies have about 5 minutes left to bake, start making the glaze: melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the cocoa powder, milk and water. Stir this mixture until smooth and allow it to come to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Stir in the powdered sugar half a cup at a time, making sure the glaze is smooth before making the next addition.
Meanwhile, when the brownies have finished baking, take the pan from the oven and sprinkle miniature marshmallows over the top. (Use the whole bag or as many as you think you'd like.) Return the pan to the oven for a few minutes, until the marshmallows are light and puffy. Remove the pan from the oven again and pour the hot glaze over the top. Immediately sprinkle almonds over the glaze.
Let the brownies sit for at least half an hour before cutting into them, so the marshmallows stabilize and the glaze has a chance to set a bit. The brownies will still be gooey when you take them out of the pan. This is a plate-and-fork dessert.