It was the third evening since they had fled from the Company, as far as they could tell: they had almost lost count of the hours during which they had climbed and laboured among the barren slopes and stones of the Emyn Muil, sometimes retracing their steps because they could find no way forward, sometimes dicovering that they had wandered in a circle back to where they had been hours before. Yet on the whole they had worked steadily eastward, keeping as near as they could find a way to the outer edge of this strange twisted knot of hills. But always they found its outward faces sheer, high and impassable, frowning over the plain below; beyond its tumbled skirts lay livid festering marshes where nothing moved and not even a bird was to be seen. (pg. 209, book 4, chapter 1 - ''The Taming of Smeagol''. The Lord of the Rings, red leatherette collector's edition, Houghton Mifflin Co. 1987)
I don't like waste. There was a lot of fudge at my recent gathering, but in the course of preparing the balrog s'mores and West Gate of Moria fudge, I ended up with quite a bit of left over fudge. What on earth was I to do with almost 2 pounds of fudge? Furthermore, it was not in the best of shape. I'd overmicrowaved it at some point, so it had become somewhat grainy. It then occurred to me that I should add things to it and create another item. Rocky Road and Emyn Muil just seemed to make sense together. At least it did in my sleep deprived state. But even giddy from exhaustion, I knew it needed to be a very grown up Rocky Road, and it needed to be more ''rock'' than ''road'' to work thematically. With all the sweets on the menu, it needed to be something not only with a bit of an edge, but also significantly different from everything else. So, while it is still fudge, and still contains marshmallows, I think I succeeded in creating something suitable for even the most sweet-jaded palate.
The quantities of ingredients are all approximate, and you can experiment by throwing just about anything in. The key is to use the fudge essentially as mortar for holding together an absurd quantity of other things. This way, it's not too sweet, and it has an intriguing smooth, crunchy, soft, firm, fluffy texture.
approximately 1 batch fudge
- 0.5 - 1 cup dark rum, brandy, or bourbon (I used rum)
3 cups shelled walnuts; don't bother breaking or chopping them up. The larger the pieces the better, although if chopped is all you can find, that's OK too.
2 cups shelled pecans; again, don't bother breaking or chopping them up
1 cup slivered almonds; in this case, slivered is important as whole almonds are difficult to cut, unlike walnuts or pecans. Sliced almonds is an alternative, as well.
1 cup double chocolate (or large sized) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup milk chocolate chips
0.5 cup white chocolate chips
4-5 cups mini-marshmallows
It is best to do this in a very large bowl, as you'll need space to stir. Or, make the fudge in a smaller bowl and transfer it to a large mixing bowl or pot for the post-booze additions.
The fudge is the same as what I use in my other recipes. 1 can (14 oz.) of sweetened condensed milk is heated and a pound of chocolate is added to it, and stirred until smooth. I usually use 14 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 2 oz. of unsweetened chocolate for the best balance of sweet and dark. I microwave them all together until the milk is bubbly (about 1 1/2 minutes) and stir with a spatula until everything is smooth (microwaving for another 30 seconds as necessary). Note, if you over-microwave it, the chocolate will get grainy, it will start to separate, and the whole thing will be lumpy. There's no way to recover from this. However, there's so much stuff in this recipe that it doesn't matter, no one will notice.
Stir the booze into the warm fudge and stir until it is thoroughly incorporated.
One by one, add the ingredients to the warm fudge and stir to partially mix after each one. This is easier than adding them all at once, as you need to get everthing thoroughly coated. Also, this allows the fudge to cool enough not to melt the chips or the marshmallows.
Once everything is as evenly coated as possible, take a large square or rectangular dish (I used a 9x13'' pyrex roasting pan with a lid) and line it with waxed paper. Scoop the fudge out into the dish and pat it out a bit. Poke and prod it so that it's a relatively regular thickness. It will not want to settle; avoid making it too smooth as you're patting it out but also avoid large air pockets. It's supposed to be a rocky road but large air pockets are annoying.
Cover or wrap so the fudge doesn't dry out, and let it set. It should be ready fairly soon as all the ingredients have cooled it down, but it's easier to cut if you let it sit for at least half a day. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1-1.5 inch squares to serve. I wouldn't go smaller than 1'' squares as these tend to be aesthetically most pleasing larger. The waxed paper facilitates removing the fudge from the pan. Just take the whole thing out, peel off the paper but leave it with the fudge, and then cut it on the waxed paper for the greatest ease. This way, you can transfer the whole thing back to the pan easily, etc. This makes a very large batch of fudge, I ended up with about 60 1.5'' square pieces.
Other possible additions are raisins; yogurt flavored coated fruit (like raisins or dried cranberries); dried cherries; toasted hazelnuts; popcorn; puffed rice; breakfast cereal; toffee chips; nuggets of almond paste; broken up cookies, graham crackers, plain crackers and pretzels; crunched up lembas; etc. The key to this is to push the quantity of ingredients so that there's more filling than fudge. And to leave them chunky and assertive, and with a good balance of sweet to not sweet. The Emyn Muil is a seriously rocky road, after all. When cut, the different colors and textures become very apparent, and it looks lovely piled on a plate or in a bowl. Store well wrapped to prevent drying out.