Rocky Road Crunch Bars by Nigella Lawson (Nigella Express)

Rocky road is one of those treats that appeals to all. A medley of chocolate and other niceties, divided into minute portions that no one really adheres to. It is a sweet treat for overeating, not being calorie conscious. Growing up in the 90s, Rocky Road seemed almost exotic. Americana was rife thanks to a slew of popular films, so even vaguely American confectionary like Rocky Road was ‘cool’. In hindsight, Rocky Road had long existed in the UK as fridge cake, but the American nomenclature is better in this case. (N.B. According to Wikipedia, Rocky Road is Australian, who knew?)

While a good Rocky Road is one of my favourite treats, I would never buy it pre-made. £1.50 in Pret for a meagre amount of chocolate, half a digestive biscuit, 3 mini marshmallows and maybe a raisin or two. It is simply too expensive for what it is.

When looking for the Perfect recipe for anything, I usually look to Felicity Cloake’s Perfect column in the Guardian (the clue is in the name). On this occasion, her recipe seemed a bit too much work. Soaking dried fruit in alcohol? Save that for a special occasion.. not a lazy Saturday morning.

Enter the Domestic Goddess herself.

One can always rely on Nigella Lawson to turn out a good sweet treat with minimal faff, her Rocky Road Crunch Bars are no exception. Chocolate, butter, golden syrup, rich tea biscuits and mini marshmallows. A quick stop to the recently renovated local Lidl and I had my plain chocolate and mini marshmallows with change from £2. Golden syrup is usually lurking in most people’s store-cupboards, if you can prise the sticky tin off the shelf. Nigella specifies Rich Tea biscuits in her Rocky Road Crunch Bars. I prefer a digestive for its almost savoury crumb. But on this occasion I had some cheap ginger nut biscuits that needed using. I’ve tried all three in the recipe and I can say that each biscuit has it’s benefit, but I would opt for a Rich Tea in future. Rich Tea offers that bland, nursery food hit which is what a rocky road is all about. 

Rocky Road Crunch Bars Nigella Lawson Nigella Express
Not a looker! Rocky Road Crunch Bars aren’t very photogenic on a gloomy Autumn morning.

Rocky Road Crunch Bars are never going to revolutionise the culinary world but it is delicious nonetheless. Would I make Nigella’s recipe again? Well, is the Pope a Catholic? Stupid questions don’t need answering. The ginger nut substitution added a grown-up depth to an otherwise childish treat. Most recipes will specify a ‘Good Quality Chocolate (Minimum 70% Cocoa Solids’.. I don’t think this is strictly necessary. Lidl’s slightly less bitter dark chocolate was 45 pence per 100g versus £1.99 for the Lindt equivalent, the maths add up. Save your fancy choc for one on one enjoyment. You don’t want thrift or guilt holding back your Rocky Road binge.

A Rocky Road is about as complicated to create as crispy cornflake cakes. Nigella’s recipe can be found here, but recipe is a very loose term.

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