Christmas Rocky Road

I happen to really admire and idolize Nigella Lawson. And if you do, too, you know she loves Christmas.

This rocky road recipe is a Nigella recipe that she adapted for her Christmas cookbook, in order to make it more Christmassy! I’ve made it a few times now, and it’s become a holiday favorite for my family.

My favorite Nigella cookbooks are Nigella Kitchen, Feast, and Nigella Christmas. I can’t narrow those down any further. They’re all so unique and wonderfully entertaining, and packed full of hearty and satisfying recipes. Nothing too fancy and fussy. Or fiddly, in British speak.

Nigella had a tv show in the U.S. at one time that I loved to watch. She’s extremely funny, irreverent, and quite a hoot. Nigella embraces just about all food and drink, loves her children, and loves parties. We should really be friends.

So I’m not sure why I made this rocky road recipe the first time, actually. I don’t love candied fruit, marshmallows are strange, I don’t like rocky road ice cream, and we’re not really a sweets family. But am I glad I took a chance on this recipe.

In the past I’ve followed it almost exactly, except for the fact that I’ve always substituted other cookies for the Amaretti, because I could never find them. I used shortbread once, and gingersnaps another time; both turned out fabulous.

But this year I ordered Amaretti in the fall, so I was prepared! Plus I made a few changes to enhance the Christmas theme of these fudgey bars. I used pistachios for their green color, and I added some dried cranberries for their scarlet color. So here’s this year’s version of Nigella’s Christmas Rocky Road:

Christmas Rocky Road

1 bag Amaretti cookies, 7 ounces
1 cup whole pistachios
1 cup whole candied cherries, plus a few extra
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
15 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cup Lyle’s golden syrup
Powdered sugar

In a food processor, pulse the amaretti cookies until they are a coarse crumble. Place them in a large bowl.


Add the pistachios, candied cherries, dried cranberries, and mini marshmallows, and set aside.


To the top pan of a double boiler, place the chocolate, butter, and golden syrup. Heat about 2” of water in the pot below until it is gently simmering; the water should not boil, and should not touch the pan on top. We are melting the chocolate, not cooking it. Then, place the pan with the chocolate mixture on top. Using a spatula, occasionally stir the mixture as it melts. This should take about 10 minutes.


Have a 9 x 13” pan ready.

When the chocolate and butter have melted, pour this into the cookie mixture in the large bowl. Using the spatula, fold everything together until completely incorporated. Then pour this mixture into the pan, using the spatula. Push it all around so it fills the corners, and is relative smooth on top. Using any extra cherries, if you wish, push them into the bars in random locations.


Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to serve the bars, slice them into big squares and remove them from the pan. If you wish to cut them smaller, it’s easier to do on a cutting board. If desired, sprinkle the Christmas Rocky Road with sifted powdered sugar.

By Published On: December 18th, 201416 Comments on Christmas Rocky Road

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Julie is HostessAtHeart December 18, 2014 at 8:58 AM - Reply

    What a beautiful dish! These would make gorgeous gifts.

  2. chefceaser December 18, 2014 at 10:08 AM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  3. chef mimi December 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM - Reply

    Thank you!

  4. ladyredspecs December 18, 2014 at 2:44 PM - Reply

    I’m a Nigella fan too! Her recipes are reliable and always delicious! I’m no great marshmallow lover either, so I choose to make her chocolate salame when I’m looking for decadent no bake treat. I just change the fruit and nut elements to suit myself. Have a happy Christmas Mimi..

    • chef mimi December 18, 2014 at 3:52 PM - Reply

      I’ve always wanted to make the chocolate salami… Merry Christmas!

  5. chef mimi December 18, 2014 at 3:51 PM - Reply


  6. hotlyspiced December 18, 2014 at 3:55 PM - Reply

    It’s true that Nigella certainly does have some amazing Christmas recipes. I do love to watch her Christmas special on TV. Your rocky road looks fantastic and yes, very Christmasy. I think I might make some for a Carols by Candlelight event tomorrow night xx

    • chef mimi December 19, 2014 at 8:52 AM - Reply

      I didn’t know she has a Christmas special! Darn it. I hope they show it in the US. These treats are so quick and easy, so you have time!

  7. chef mimi December 18, 2014 at 8:20 PM - Reply

    well, it’s British, and I actually bought it after seeing it in a lot of European dishes. It’s golden, seriously, so maybe mix the two together!!!

  8. chef mimi December 19, 2014 at 8:06 AM - Reply

    I watched that too but missed the comment! I love her Christmas cookbook!

  9. Conor Bofin December 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM - Reply

    I have to stay away from such delights Mimi. I would gladly eat the whole highway!
    Happy Christmas to you and yours,

  10. flippenblog December 19, 2014 at 1:27 PM - Reply

    Why must I always read these things at night? With no chocolates or anything close to the ingredients in this house! Perhaps a good thing……

Leave a Reply. I love 'em!