The first few months being dairy free are so hard. For me it felt like everything I had ever cooked comprised primarily of cheese and every ingredient I had ever bought had milk or soy hidden somewhere in it. I had to do a complete overhaul of my usual go-to recipes and started making everything from scratch.
I was ravenous all the time - breastfeeding is hungry work and breastfeeding a reflux baby who throws up more than half of what he drinks must be second only to breastfeeding multiples when it comes to the amount of extra calories you need!
I also needed some 'pick me ups' - it is so tough when your baby is in pain most of the time, their crying aches in your soul and the almost complete lack of sleep that comes with sore babies makes you even more emotional than a postpartum mom usually is... and that's saying something.
I resorted to bags of sugary sweets on many occasions but the empty calories didn't help. What I needed was something sweet and indulgent but also packed with nutrients, that filled me up for long periods of time and was really easy to make with one hand - and these rocky roads are the answer.
They're healthy enough that you can give them to kids as a treat too - I now leave half of the mixture without marshmallows or chocolate so Little Goat can have some too (marshmallows can be a choking risk and I don't give him any refined sugar if I can avoid it) - this makes a healthy version that is free of added sugar (although I think strictly speaking, a rocky road without marshmallows is a tiffin!).
Coconut Rocky Roads
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes to roast the sweet potato
1 sweet potato (~200-250g)
80g maple syrup (about 4 Tablespoons)
½ cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened) (~40g)
60g coconut oil (melted)
2 ½ Tablespoons cocoa
Optional - ~15g mini marshmallows (a handful)
Optional - 50g chopped pecan nuts (a handful)
Optional - one medium slab dark dairy free chocolate (~80-100g) (many dark chocolate slabs are dairy free - if you are also completely soy free find one with no lecithin or sunflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin)
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and roast the sweet potato until soft (about 45 minutes)
Melt the coconut oil (if it’s a hot day it will be melted already, if not, just a few seconds in the microwave will do it or submerge everything but the top of the jar in a bowl of hot water)
When cool enough to handle, peel the sweet potato and put in a food processor together with all of the ingredients except the raisins, nuts, marshmallows and chocolate
Blend until well combined and the sweet potato is smooth
Pour some boiling water over the raisins to re-hydrate them and make them plump, discard the water and add to the mixture
If using marshmallows and / or pecan nuts, add them and blend just long enough to combine and mix them without dicing them too much. (If you are doing half without marshmallows, take half the mixture and follow the step below.)
Pour the mixture into a lined baking tray (use enough baking parchment to cover the top too) and spread evenly.
Cover with the extra baking parchment and push down hard and evenly (a book works well to do this step) - put in the fridge while you melt the chocolate
Put the chocolate in a microwaveable dish and put in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir, put back in the microwave for 10 seconds, stir, put in for another 10 seconds and stir – repeat this until the chocolate has just melted. (Make sure you don’t have any water in the dish or on the spoon to get the best results from melting your chocolate)
Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the rocky road mixture, spread evenly and put into the fridge to set (about 2 hours)
Cut into squares when set
These freeze well (especially the healthier version with no marshmallows which suffer a bit from freezing). Re-use the baking parchment by cutting or tearing it into squares and wrap each square individually and store in a freezer / zip-lock bag.
Roast a sweet potato whenever you have the oven on for a while and then you have them on hand to make treats like this in no time (if you use a cold, previously roasted sweet potato in this recipe, heat it up in the microwave for a minute first, because the coconut oil will set if the sweet potato is too cold).