Rocky Road, like most of my favorite ice cream flavors, has a memory connected to it.
In 3rd grade, my elementary school (I wrote a bit about my elementary school here in the Russian Tea Cakes recipe) took us on what I still think, to date, was the best Field Trip ever. We went to the Dreyer’s Ice Cream headquarters in Oakland, California. As a class, we got to tour the factory where they make some of their ice cream. I remember being fascinated roaming the halls and looking through the windows to see factory workers standing along conveyer belts and giant vats of ice cream churning.
When the tour came to an end, we landed in a tasting room. As third graders we were going to “help” Dreyer’s taste-test their newest flavor: milk chocolate rocky road. The tour guide explained that it was thanks to the classic Rocky Road that Dreyer’s really launched. The flavor was “created in March 1929 by William Dreyer by William Dreyer in Oakland, California when he cut up walnuts and marshmallows with his wife’s sewing scissors and added them to his chocolate ice cream in a manner that reflected how his partner Joseph Edy‘s chocolate candy creation incorporated walnuts.” (Wikipedia) (The only marshmallows at the time were the classic large marshmallows, hence the use of his wife’s sewing scissors). Apparently, it was a method to bring joy to an otherwise pretty dire time (or Dreyer time…) in our nation’s history. They named the flavor “Rocky Road” because it was created when the Depression hit. Dreyer’s Ice Cream was born and is still around today.
If you haven’t tried them, it’s worth a taste! I personally love the rocky road (duh) and the French Silk flavor. It’s a mocha chocolate with vanilla ice cream and it has flat, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chunks throughout. It was my Dad’s favorite to buy and stock in the freezer while I was growing up so naturally it became one of mine too.
Flash-forward to today’s recipe though. If you haven’t tried making your own ice cream, it’s time. Let’s be real. It’s August. And guess what? Homemade ice cream is like most homemade desserts, SO MUCH BETTER. And before you shoo me off, or click on to the next recipe because you don’t have the proper equipment – you don’t know anything fancy, and you definitely do not need an ice cream machine, to make this recipe. It’s a No-Churn ice cream, meaning you just have to combine the ingredients and let it sit in your freezer for 4-6 hours until frozen enough to eat. That’s it! It’s as simple as making any other dessert and you don’t even have to turn your oven on.
Rocky Road is a chocolate ice cream that has marshmallows, chocolate chips (or chocolate sauce), and almond pieces throughout. It’s perfect for summer and it’s absolutely delicious. I tried making it with almond milk versus regular milk, and just stick with the regular milk since you’ll have to use heavy cream anyway. The non-dairy milks give it a more sorbet like texture, and you miss that creamy smooth real ice cream texture.
Rocky Road Ice Cream
Easy, no-churn, creamy chocolate ice cream with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and almond pieces.
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
- 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk (one can )
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (~ half a lemon)
- pinch salt
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 3/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped (roasted and salted (if desired))
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or mini chocolate chips)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup chocolate sauce (optional)
Combine the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Set aside.
Microwave the milk until almost boiling and then pour it immediately over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes and then stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Stir in the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the heavy cream.
In a separate bowl, using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate mixture, without deflating it.
Transfer the mixture into a 2-quart container* lined with parchment paper that can go into the freezer (metal or plastic but NOT glass). Swirl in the chocolate sauce with a butter knife (if using). Otherwise reserve the chocolate sauce for a topping when serving. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper that completely touches the surface of the ice cream so no crystals form.
Freeze for 4-6 hours, or until frozen. Serve with chocolate sauce. Enjoy in a bowl or ice cream cone.
*I use a 10-inch metal springform pan.
Adapted from Carlsbad Cravings.