Recipe: Rocky Road Fudge Bars

by Cate on April 28, 2010

Marshmallows, chocolate, and nuts come together in a delicious bar that is perfect for what ails you.

Rocky Road Fudge Bars

One night last week when I was catching up on Facebook, the little instant message window popped up.

“I had a bad day today.  I don’t think tomorrow will be any better.  I think sweets will help.”

Talk about a call to duty.  It was all I needed to hear.  What is it about sweets, or perhaps mostly chocolate, that make us feel better?  Even if just for a moment?

I turned to Pillsbury’s Bars & Cookies cookbook, a book I have been slowly working my way through lately (the Dream Bars and the Cherry … come from there as well) and flipped through it, looking for something to catch my eye.  I folded down a few pages with possibilities, and ultimately ended up going with the Rocky Road Fudge Bars.  With its multiple layers of chocolate, I knew it wouldn’t fail me.  Or her.

And it didn’t.  I love that a recipe from nearly 40 years ago is still just as relevant (and delicious!) as it was back then.  The bars are three layers of nutty, marshmallow-y, chocolate-y goodness.  I was especially fond of the chocolate glaze on top.  The kids loved them, fighting over the last piece.  I only kept one row of the bars at home, quickly disseminating the rest of the dish to our friend-in-need-of-sweets-asap and my office because I knew if they hung around here, we’d all be in trouble.

That’s not to say, of course, that we don’t need to make these again.  Because we do.  And we will be.  You should too.  Just sayin’.

Project 365
April 28, 2010, Photo #85

I love seeing the behind-the-scenes reveals on how food bloggers and food stylists get their “money shots,” and I thought about that as I shot the pictures of these Rocky Road Fudge Bars. Perhaps you’d like a peek at the behind-the-scenes of one of my pictures?  The best light in the house is a window at the end of the kitchen, and a window by my desk in the office. I don’t want to use a flash, if at all possible, so if I’m taking an inside picture, I shoot in one of these two windows.  I want to get the plate as close to the window as I can, but manage to lose the outside scenery, so you just see the food.

You can see I have to stack a few things so I can set the plate down to get the picture. I’d really like to build out a small ledge to make it a permanent spot to take pictures; perhaps that’s a summer project. You can also see some of the extraneous other things I have to contend with when taking my food pictures. Our own little Swiper.

First a look at me to see if I’m paying attention to what she’s about to attempt. “Mommy, no watch me, okay?”

Swiper Checks the Coast-1

Then a smile as she focuses on the prize.

Swiper No Swiping-1

Then complete seriousness and steely concentration as a little hand moves in for the steal.

Swiper Moves in for the Steal-1

Rocky Road Fudge Bars
Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest 1972
Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookies & Bars

Heat oven to 350.  Grease 13×9″ pan with shortening or cooking spray; lightly flour.  In 2-quart saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter and 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (cut into pieces) over low heat, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Stir in 1 cup flour and remaining base ingredients (1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup chopped nuts) until well mixed.  Spread in pan.

In small bowl, beat 6 oz. softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg with electric mixer on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl occasionally, until smooth and fluffy.  Stir in 1/4 cup chopped nuts.  Spread over chocolate mixture; sprinkle evenly with 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.

Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Immediately sprinkle with two cups mini marshmallows.  Bake 2 minutes longer.

While marshmallows are baking, in 3-quart saucepan, cook 2 oz. softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup milk and 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (cut into pieces)  over low heat, stirring until blended.  Remove from heat.  Stir in 3 cups powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth.  Immediately pour frosting over puffed marshmallows and lightly swirl with knife to marble.  Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.  For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.  Store in refrigerator.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Caron April 28, 2010 at 9:32 pm

She’s adorable! And wow to your stack of things to make that photo happen.

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mandy April 28, 2010 at 9:43 pm

You do go to great lengths to get such a great shot!

I have made these brownies numerous times before.

Yesterday I was having a horrible no good very bad day and absolutely needed chocolate.

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pamela April 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Oh, she’s so sly! These look great. And the things we do for good food pictures, right? :)

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Joanne April 29, 2010 at 6:15 am

I love the balancing act that you’ve got going on just to take that photo. There is one light in my apartment that gives good light and so I’ve made a makeshift table under it by stacking things together. It’s perfect for night photos, albeit kind of low tech. During the day, my desk is actually the perfect place for natural light photo-taking.

Maddie is so adorable, but judging by how delicious these look, I don’t blame her for trying to sneak one!

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Patsy April 29, 2010 at 8:29 am

chocolate can cure anything – especially a bad day! Love the shots of your little swiper… too cute!

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Ramona April 29, 2010 at 10:13 am

My cat Putter lurks by my plate waiting for a chance to nab something off of it.

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Tyanne April 29, 2010 at 10:15 am

She is so cute. Sounds like a good recipe. My kids Loved the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and I loved your frosting. Yummy!!!

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Kris #40 April 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm

They look yummeeee! Maddie is such a monkey!

You need something like a petshelf by your window. Go to Miles Kimball.com and check out the pet section.

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Jesse April 29, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Oh those look yummy!

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