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This dessert recipe yields a decadent Rocky Road Ice Cream that is perfect for wowing guests or for eating solo curled up on the couch with a good book.
How to make Rocky Road Ice Cream
This ice cream recipe is pretty straightforward. The one caveat is that it is not a churnless recipe which means you will need an ice cream maker or an ice cream churn in order to successfully make this rocky road ice cream. I’ve used the Bosch ice cream maker attachment for about three years now and I have no complaints! You can see the ice cream maker I use below:
This is a custard based ice cream recipe which means it contains egg yolks. The egg yolks create an almost pudding like consistency before you churn the ice cream and create a very silky texture and rich flavor once the ice cream is churned. It is very important to follow the instructions on this recipe to achieve that texture. If you introduce the hot ice cream mixture to the eggs too quickly they can curdle essentially giving you chocolate scrambled eggs.
The first step is to create the milk based mixture. This is very simple and all you do is combine the first five ingredients in a pan on medium heat and whisk vigorously until thoroughly combined and near a simmer. I recommend removing the pan from the heat at this point because the mixture could easily scorch or boil over while you’re getting the eggs ready.
Next put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk until they are frothy in texture and have a light, lemon yellow color. This is the most important step: carefully add a ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks and beat furiously to prevent the egg yolks from curdling. Once fully combined add another ¼ cup and repeat. Do this a total of four times. This will ensure your eggs are well tempered before you add them to the pan with the milk mixture.
Return the pan with the milk mixture to the heat and pour in the egg mixture and mix until combined. Stirring continuously, bring the mixture near to a simmer again. Immediately remove from the heat.
Pour the mixture into a heat proof container and store it in the fridge until cold. I prefer to let the mixture sit overnight because the texture is slightly better. My husband is a chemistry/sciency sort of person and he explained why the texture is better if you let it chill longer (something about crystals and chemical structures), but to be honest I’ve forgotten his explanation.
Once the mixture is chilled you can churn it and be one step closer to enjoying this decadent treat! Here’s a little tip for you: before you churn your ice cream, put the container in which you will store the ice cream in the freezer. This will prevent your ice cream from melting when it comes in contact with the container.
Churn your ice cream until it is the consistency of soft serve and then add the marshmallows and toasted almonds (if you add them too soon they will sink to the bottom and will not be evenly incorporated). Continue churning for about 5 more minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency. You can either eat it immediately as soft serve or put it in the freezer for a few hours to firm up.
Some Ice Cream History
I’m a self proclaimed history nerd so I was thrilled to learn that there are people who have the profession of ice cream historian. One of my favorite historical theories on how ice cream was invented is that it was all thanks to the Mongols. The Mongols were already fascinating to me because while they were one of the most successful conquering groups in history and having a fierce reputation as ruthless warriors, they were also known for being extremely benevolent rulers. Under Mongol rule there was freedom of religion and women had far more opportunities and rights than in other ancient civilizations.
The theory is that the Mongols would put mares milk in waterskins and hang them from their saddles and then ride through the freezing Gobi Desert. The freezing temperatures combined with the shaking of the milk in the waterskins churned the milk into the very first ice cream. Without sugar and chocolate I doubt it was as tasty as this modern rocky road ice cream, but it is still a fascinating historical theory.
By the way, the ice cream scoop in my photos is by a brand called Sumo. I love it! It’s affordable and indestructible and dishwasher safe! I had never owned a dishwasher safe ice cream scoop before so the first time I saw my husband put it in the dishwasher I was concerned, but he happily informed me that one of the reasons he bought it was because it was dishwasher safe. I’ve linked to the product below:
Rocky Road Ice Cream
- ice cream churn
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ can sweetened condensed milk (7 ounces)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup chocolate syrup
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds (not sliced!)
- ½ cup mini marshmallows
- Add 2 cups of whole milk, ½ can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, ½ cup of chocolate syrup, and ½ cup of cocoa powder to a medium saucepan and mix until well combined.
- Heat the milk mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously until it is near to a simmer.
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks until lemon yellow and frothy. Add ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture and immediately beat vigorously until combined. Repeat this step a total of four times. This will temper the eggs so they don't curdle when added to the hot milk mixture.
- Add the tempered egg mixture to the hot milk mixture and stir until well combined and heated through.
- Remove the ice cream mix from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Put the ice cream mix in a heat proof container (I frequently use mason jars) and place in the fridge until completely cooled (preferably overnight).
- While the ice cream mix is chilling, toast the almonds in a saucepan on the stove medium-low heat until golden and fragrant. Set aside.
- Place the dish in which you want to store your finished ice cream in the freezer.
- Follow the instructions on for your ice cream churn to churn the ice cream. When the ice cream has reached the consistency of soft-serve add the marshmallows and toasted marshmallows and continue churning until fully incorporated.
- Gently and quickly spoon the ice cream into the cold dish. Top with more chocolate syrup, marshmallows, and almonds if desired.