June 2nd is National Rocky Road Day.
Rocky road ice cream is chocolate ice cream mixed with nuts and marshmallows, the “rocks” in the road. The original nuts, walnuts, were later replaced with toasted almonds.
Over the years, the concept has been ported to fudge, cookies, popcorn and other sweets.
In 1928, William Dreyer and Joseph Edy founded Edy’s Grand Ice Cream in Oakland, California. Rocky Road ice cream was created the following year.
William Dreyer’s professional relationship with ice cream began in 1906 when, as a galley boy aboard a German passenger ship, he was tasked with making a frozen dessert to celebrate the ship’s arrival in America.
By the 1920s, he had established an ice cream manufacturing facility in Visalia, California. In 1926 he was recruited by National Ice Cream to run a large plant in Oakland. In Oakland he met Joe Edy, a prominent confectioner.
In 1928, Edy and Dreyer teamed up to manufacture premium ice cream under the name Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, focusing on creative flavors. At the time, ice cream was only sold in basic flavors such as chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
Dreyer was inspired by Edy’s use of marshmallows and nuts in a candy creation. In those days there were no miniature marshmallows. So in March of 1929, Dreyer cut up marshmallows with his wife’s sewing scissors, and added them along with walnuts to a base of chocolate ice cream.
The flavor was named Rocky Road for the texture. You’ll also find references that it was named for the troubled economic times of the Great Depression. However, the flavor was created in March 1929 and the stock market crash that engendered the Depression didn’t happen until October of that year.
 Enjoy a dish of Rocky Road (photo © Baskin-Robbins).
EASY ROCKY ROAD ICE CREAM RECIPE
If you don’t want to make chocolate ice cream from scratch:
1. LEAVE a quart of store-bought chocolate ice cream on the counter to soften. You want it just soft enough to mix in the “rocks.”
2. STIR in 1 cup of miniature marshmallows and 1/2 cup roughly-chopped almonds or pecans.
3. RETURN the quart to the freezer to harden.
Here’s a recipe for rocky road brownies.
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