Paddy Mac’s Rocky Road

As you may know from my tweets etc. my husband and I have just returned home from a very quick trip to Australia. We spent 61.5 hours travelling to spend 68 hours in Sydney. For one of the saddest reasons. My Husband’s Uncle Pat lost his fight with cancer and we returned to Australia for his funeral.

Whilst it wasn’t the most logical of decisions and it’s left us both reeling with jet lag, an overabundance of emotion and exhaustion; there are times in life when reason and rationality are justifiably booted out the door and emotion takes over.This was one of those times. I asked Husband to decide what he wanted purely on how he felt, not what the bank balance said, how many annual leave days he had, or that we’d be spending only 3 nights on the opposite side of the world. The answer was clear; “I want to be with my family”. So within hours we’d booked flights, the hotel, rental car, trains, organised a house sitter, tidied the house and still managed to see Dylan Moran’s show in Geneva for a much needed laugh to land in Sydney the night before the funeral.

Paddy Mac was renowned for his strong work ethic, his love of family, his avid following of the Dragons football team, his fantastic wine collection (“Life is too short to drink bad wine” was his motto), his refusal to even allow average wine in his house, for his huge hugs and for his Rocky Road.

According to Wikipedia Rocky Road was an Australian concoction created “in 1853 as a way of on-selling confectionary spoiled by the long journey from Europe. Gold miners in towns outside of Melbourne, such as Ballarat, were wealthy but uncultured. Unscrupulous businessmen took advantage of these men, mixing the spoiled confectionary with low quality chocolate and other ‘filler’ ingredients, such as locally foraged nuts. The name Rocky Road is derived from the ‘Rocky Road’ travellers had to take to get to the gold fields.”

At every family gathering Pat would make Rocky Road. And whilst there may be beers, sandwiches, steaks or sausages leftover; you could guarantee that not a crumb of Rocky Road would remain by the time the table was cleared. It’s delicious! Has just the right mix of coconut, nuts, chocolate and marshmallow so as not to be sickly sweet; and is a hit with adults just as much as with kids. He guarded his recipe closely. So I was greatly honoured when he gifted it to me when Husband and I got married and moved overseas.

In honour of this fabulous man; one who will be sorely missed, I’m sharing the recipe with you.

This recipe calls for some very ‘Australian’ ingredients including Nestle Dark Chocolate, Copha and Pascall marshmallows; none of which I have available here in Switzerland. So I’ve substituted available alternatives. I’ve listed both in the ingredients list. Also the original recipe called for the use of a microwave. I don’t have a microwave so I’ve modified the recipe to use only a cook-top. This means that my Rocky Road is likely not to taste exactly the same as Paddy Mac’s. But it will always taste slightly different… if only because Paddy Mac didn’t make it.

It’s not the prettiest of recipes. But it’s delicious. It reminds me of the ad for Picnic bars all those years ago. It’s deliciously ugly.

  • 85 grams of desiccated coconut (shredded/ dried coconut)
  • 115 grams of roughly chopped walnuts
  • 400 grams of chocolate roughly chopped (Nestle dark chocolate if available. I used organic, fair-trade, Max Havelaar Crémant chocolate as it has a similar cocoa butter ratio (about 50%) available from Migros or Coop in Switzerland)
  • 30 grams of Copha (I substituted coconut oil, also available at Coop and Migros)
  • 250 grams of Pascall Marshmallows (I used Rocky Mountain Marshmallows as they’re available in Coop and Migros and are gluten free. I chopped them in half to make them closer to the Pascall marshmallows in size)

  • Line the base and sides of a 16.5 x 26cm tray with baking paper
  • In a large saucepan or non-stick frying pan, place the coconut over a medium to high heat and stir until lightly toasted. Place toasted coconut in a bowl and set aside.
  • Using paper towel, wipe out the pan and add the walnuts. Stirring over medium to high heat until also lightly toasted. Put aside.
  • Put about 5cm of water into a saucepan on the cook-top and bring to a simmer.
  • Place a large metal bowl on top of the saucepan ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl.
  • Turning off the heat, add the chocolate and coconut oil (or copha) and stir until melted and combined. Turning off the heat makes it harder for the chocolate to burn.
  • Remove the bowl containing the chocolate and coconut oil from the saucepan of hot water. Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a paper towel and move to a heat-proof surface.
  • Add the toasted walnuts, toasted coconut and marshmallows and stir until well combined.
  • Spread the mixture into your prepared pan and place in the refrigerator until set.
  • Chop up roughly and serve!



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