The first time I ever had rocky road ice cream, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I usually stuck to my normal chocolate ice cream, or chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream as my go-to flavors, probably because I knew exactly what I was eating, and there was no sense of mystery to it. Rocky road? Um, what does that even mean? I remember many years ago, when I was maybe like 9 years old or something, my cousin offered to buy us ice cream, and she asked me which kind I wanted. I said chocolate, obviously, and then she suggested rocky road. Not knowing what it was, I asked for further clarification. She told me it had marshmallows and peanuts in it, and that it was also made with chocolate ice cream. I think the mention of chocolate ice cream is what got me to agree to venture out and try this new flavor, and boy, I've been hooked ever since.
Rocky road ice cream is now one of my absolute favorite flavors. It's the flavor of ice cream that I order the most when at an ice cream shop (the other two flavors I usually go for are butter pecan and praline, crazy how neither of those has chocolate, right?). I will actually admit that the Rocky Road Dazzler at Haagen-Dazs is one of my all-time favorite indulgences. In case you don't know what that is, it's a giant frozen dessert made up of layers of rocky road ice cream, hot fudge, Oreo cookie pieces, and is topped off with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It's an obscene amount of ice cream, and sadly, I've actually been able to eat the entire thing by myself in one sitting. That hasn't happened in a very long time though, as I have learned the virtues of self-control, and the importance of not eating ice cream in ridiculous quantities such as that. I now limit myself to a scoop or two of rocky road, and you know what? I actually think I enjoy it even more now that it is just a something that I get to treat myself too, and enjoying rocky road in its pure and simple form is without a doubt the best way to go.
This ice cream is no more difficult to prepare than any other custard-based ice cream. As in any other custard-based ice cream, egg yolks are mixed with a mixture of hot milk and sugar, and then mixed with the remaining ingredients that provide all the flavor. When making a custard-base ice cream, it is extremely important to take your time when adding the hot milk mixture into the eggs. If you add the hot milk too fast, your eggs will end up scrambled, and will make for a pretty nasty ice cream. As long as you pour the hot milk in a steady and very gradual stream and whisk constantly, you should have no trouble with this stop. I won't lie though, and I admit that it took me a couple of tries at making ice cream before I nailed this technique. Once you get it though, you'll be on your way to making perfectly delicious and creamy ice creams every time, I promise!
This is legitimately my favorite ice cream that I've made to date. Seriously, I'm being totally serious. This ice cream was just perfect in literally every way. It was rich, and full of deep chocolate flavor that would every now and then be interrupted by a crunchy, and slightly salty bite of peanut, or by a smooth and sweet bit of marshmallow...just perfect. This rocky road ice cream has an amazing chocolate base to it, and I think the next time I make it, I will leave out the marshmallows and peanuts, and have an incredible chocolate ice cream. Orrrr...I could add other mix-in's, like chocolate chips, or small pieces of brownie, or candy...the possibilities are endless! This is the best part of making any recipe with a great base flavor- once you have a great base, the combinations that you can come up with to use it are infinite!
Rocky Road Ice Cream
recipe from Annie's Eats, originally from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
5 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of heavy cream with the cocoa powder, and warm over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the cocoa powder. Once it has dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate has melted completely and is smooth. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl, and place a fine-mesh sieve over the top.
In the same saucepan, combing together the milk, sugar, and salt, and warm over medium high heat. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the 5 egg yolks. When the milk mixture is warm, begin to add it to the egg yolks very gradually, making sure to whisk the egg yolks continuously. It is very important to take your time with this step, as the egg yolks must be tempered, because otherwise, you'll end up with scrambled eggs! Once all of the milk mixture has been added to the eggs, return the mixture to the saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture has thickened (you'll know the custard is ready when you can draw a line across the back of the wooden spoon and the custard doesn't cross it). Remove the custard from the heat, and pour through the fine mesh sieve into the chocolate mixture. Stir to blend, and add the vanilla extract.
Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (this will take at least 3-4 hours). Once the mixture is well-chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Stir in the miniature marshmallows and chopped peanuts, making sure to incorporate them evenly. Store the ice cream in an airtight container, and freeze for several hours, until the ice cream has firmed up. Enjoy!
Makes about 1 quart of ice cream