Rocky Road Ice Cream—chocolate with nuts and marshmallows—was my dad’s favorite, so around Father’s Day I was inspired to make some. Which led to a couple of months of testing and tasting to get the chocolate, nuts, marshmallows, and creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture just right, including some interesting experiments with no-churn recipes. (What do I think of no-churn ice cream? Find out here.)
The result is a chocolatey-delicious ice cream guaranteed to make those you love—including yourself—swoon.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
- 4 ounces good-quality 55-65% semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, ideally dutched
- 2 cups whole milk
- 8 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon Scotch, whiskey, bourbon, or other 40% alcohol liquor (see note)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1 1/4 cups marshmallows
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted (I like mine coarsely chopped)
In a large bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water, or in a double boiler over simmering water, combine the chocolate and 1/2 cup of the cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from the heat, gently whisk in the cocoa powder, and set aside.
In a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk and remaining 1 cup of cream and heat until the mixture is just beginning to bubble at the edges. Remove from heat, arrange a fine mesh strainer over the bowl, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, then pour the whole egg mixture into the milk mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the saucepan constantly, to 170°F, until the ice cream base coats the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately strain it through the strainer into the chocolate mixture. Add the Scotch, vanilla, and salt and stir until smooth. Thoroughly chill.
When the custard is completely cool, taste and add more salt if you like. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's manufacturer's instructions, adding the marshmallows and almonds at the very end.
NOTE My preference is Scotch, whiskey, or bourbon because they go well with chocolate, but you can use any 40% alcohol you like because it's not there to add flavor—it's there to lower the freezing temperature of the ice cream and help make it a more scoopable consistency. If you like, you can omit the alcohol, but know your ice cream will be a touch harder than ideal.