Monday, March 5, 2012

Rocky Road Cookies

Just after Christmas I stumbled upon these at Target and couldn't pass them up. They aren't quite like regular marshmallows, tender and soft. They are more like the little crunchy marshmallows that you find in Lucky Charms or Hot Chocolate mix. But the taste is all marshmallow, and how I do love marshmallows and things made with marshmallows. So simple, so vanilla, oh the possibilities! I bought them and waited to be inspired. I did a bit of poking around on other cooking blogs and saw that other bloggers had discovered these as well. I found lots of recipes for S'mores inspired treats and lots for Hot Chocolate inspired treats but none that really grabbed me. Then it came to me, how about a Rocky Road inspired treat. Chocolate, marshmallows, nuts. . .all good stuff.

I decided to create a recipe for Rocky Road Cookies. I started with my trusty old Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and tweaked it a bit to make a chocolate cookie dough. Then reduced ever so slightly the chocolate chip quantity and added in the marshmallow bits. Now for the nuts. Traditionally Rocky Road is made with walnuts, but I'm not a big fan. However, I love the Rocky Road Candy Bar and I was pretty sure it didn't have walnuts. A little internet research answered my question: cashews. The Rocky Road candy bar uses cashews. So, I used cashews. Here's how it went. . .

Note: I made this recipe twice, once with the marshmallow bits and once with regular mini marshmallows. I was concerned that the bits could be a seasonal product and that not everyone would be able to find them. I'm happy to report that both worked great with some subtile differences. I'll give you more details at the end of the post.

Here's what you need to get started: butter (I always use unsalted), sugar, eggs, vanilla, AP flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, chopped nuts (I used cashews. Walnuts, almonds or pecans would all work, use what you like.), semi-sweet chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows (or marshmallow bits).

Cream together the butter and sugar. Really get it light and fluffy. See how pale that butter is. Then add the eggs and vanilla.

And mix them in well.

While you are creaming the butter and sugar, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.

Add the flour mixture a cup at a time, mixing after each addition, just until combined.
Be careful not to over mix or you'll have tough cookies.

Once the flour/cocoa mixture is combined and you have a smooth even dough, add the nuts, chocolate chips and marshmallows (or marshmallow bits) and stir them in by hand. 

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a silpat lined cookie sheet and bake in a 375°F oven for 12 minutes. Remove cookies to a rack to cool.

And there you have it: Rocky Road Cookies. Even with out the nuts and marshmallow bits, this is a great Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie. The cashews and marshmallows definitely take it to the next level.

As I said above the recipe worked great using either regular mini marshmallows or the marshmallow bits.  The bits hold their shape better and are distinguishable in the cookie with a milder marshmallow flavor. Next time I use the bits, I'll probably add an additional 1/2 cup so they'll have more of a presence in the cookie. The regular marshmallows definitely add more marshmallow flavor to the cookies but they tend to melt into the cookie so there aren't many distinguishable chunks of marshmallow. Also, the marshmallows on the outside melt and kind of turn into a chewy caramel. Which I liked. Seriously, if you've got a problem with chewy caramel on your cookie I don't think we can be friends. Well. . .we can but I'll be keeping my eye on you!  All and all, they were both great. I'd give a slight edge to the regular marshmallow version but either way I will make these again for sure.

Rocky Road Cookies
Yield: 3-1/2 dozen

1 C. unsalted butter
1-1/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2-1/4 C. flour
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 C. chopped cashews
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C. mini marshmallows or 1-1/2 C. marshmallow bits)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, stift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter-sugar mixture and mix just until combined. Add cashews, chocolate chips and marshmallows. Stir to combine.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto greased or lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 12 minutes just until set. Do not over bake. Remove cookies to a rack to cool.

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