Rocky Road ice cream contains chocolate, marshmallows and nuts – usually walnuts. In Australia, they add jam to their Rocky Road ice cream and in the United Kingdom they add cherries and raisins. There is also a variation with vanilla ice cream, almonds and chocolate chips.
History of Rocky Road
A “rocky road” can be an actual bumpy road, or it can mean a rough time. Both metaphors seem to be behind the history of Rocky Road ice cream and desserts.
The first Rocky Road dessert was created in Australia in 1853. It was named after the Rocky Road they traveled on to get to the gold fields. It took its toll on their confectionery goods. They had spoiled on the trip over from Europe. Since necessity is the mother of invention, they mixed their goods with local nuts and chocolate to cover up the spoiled taste. A new dessert was on the market.
It is said that on Black Thursday after the stock market crash of 1929, William Dreyer of Dreyers Ice Cream wanted to create something that would make people smile. He used his partner Joseph Edy’s chocolate to make chocolate ice cream and then did the unthinkable. He used his wife’s sewing scissors to cut walnuts and marshmallows into little pieces. Once they were added to the chocolate ice cream, Dreyer knew he had something special. Or maybe he knew it was something special before he picked up the scissors . . .
In Fenton’s Creamery, candy maker George Farren chopped up a rocky road candy bar and added it to their ice cream. Reportedly, he was a friend to Dreyers and Edy who stole his idea when he told them about the awesome creation. Fenton’s Creamery maintains that it was Melvin Fenton who invented Rocky Road ice cream.
Either way, they may not be the original creators. The 1920 edition of Rigby’s Reliable Candy Teacher published by W. O. and Fred Rigby featured the first known Rocky Road recipe. It included honey creme whip, crumbled almond macroons, whole walnuts and pecans with a cherry on the top.
Celebrate Rocky Road Ice Cream Day!
Of course, you can celebrate Rocky Road Day by going to your favorite dairy and buying an ice cream cone.
But why not take it to the next level and make vanilla Spaghetti and rocky road Meatballs for everyone. Pump it up and make it one for the memory books! (Recipe here.)