Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Light Rocky Roads

In my short time of food blogging I have learned that dessert bloggers love two bakers, Dorie Greenspan and Maida Heatter. They talk about them all the time. I have not made anything by Greenspan, but I know that there is somewhat of a following of her recipes on a certain day of the week. They call it “Tuesdays with Dorie.” (Get it? Like “Tuesdays With Morrie,” the book.) Funny thing is she didn’t start it. She learned about it by reading someone else’s blog and saw her name. How flattering. People learn what to make of hers on Tuesdays by checking a website. Then there is Maida Heatter. She is not blogged about as much as Dorie but there is some chatter. I kept seeing her name and then thinking to myself, “why do I know that name?” Well, low and behold, I have one of her most famous cookbooks in my collection. It is called, “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies.” This is a companion to the “Book of Great Desserts.” Her claim to fame was being the creator of prize- winning New York Times recipes. Cooks love her work because she gives incredible detail in her instructions. They say it like having her right beside you as you are making one of her recipes. To me, it looks like she was getting paid by the word. Her recipes are so lengthy in directions that I tend to get lost now and then. What she says in two paragraphs about cutting a pan of brownies could be said in two sentences in my opinion. That’s just me. Below you will find one of her recipes. I tried my best not to paraphrase anything except for a couple of paragraphs at the end about how to cut the Rocky Roads into 18 pieces. Just do your best.
A few things to note: The word “light” is only used to describe the brown sugar cake and not the lack of calories. Double-acting baking powder-if you use Clabber Girl, you’re covered. I chose to use dark brown sugar myself only because I had an opened bag. Finally, after I did the spreading of the melted chocolate, I thought it looked a bit messy so I sprinkled a few finely chopped nuts on top.
What about the taste? Oh, wow. When the bars were slightly above room temperature I decided to cut a piece to try them. Ooey, gooey bites of marshmallow and nutty bliss would be the words I’d use to describe them. The cake is very thin and full of nuts. The topping is warm, sticky and messy like chocolate and marshmallow should be when mixed together.
More things to note: Serve them while they are still a bit warm. Make sure that the nuts that are in the cake are finely chopped. The chocolate can be a bit over powering. Don’t use a heaping cup of chocolate chips; make sure it is just a cup.

Light Rocky Roads
By Maida Heatter
¼ cup sifted all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1/3 cup dark or light brown sugar, firmly packed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter, melted
½ cup walnuts or pecans, finely cut

Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat to 350. Butter an 8 inch square cake pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a small bowl beat the egg lightly until it is foamy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat just to mix. Mix in the butter and then the sifted dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts.
Turn the dough into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. It will be a very thin layer.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Meanwhile line up the ingredients for the topping
1 cup miniature marshmallows
2 ounces or ½ cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
6 ounces or 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately cover it with a layer of the marshmallows, then with the nuts, and then place the chocolate chips on top.
Raise the oven rack to the top position and bake the cake for only 2-3 minutes, no longer, just until the chocolate is softened but no long enough to melt the marshmallows. Immediately, with the back of a spoon spread the chocolate light and unevenly over the marshmallows and nuts, letting some the marshmallows show through in a few places.
Cool the cake to room temperature and then chill it briefly to barely set the chocolate. Cut into 18 pieces.
If chocolate because spotty, dust light with powdered sugar.

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