No oven needed: bake-free dessert

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Bryan Jarboe -- These microwaveable sweets are not only delicious but fool-proof.
Bryan Jarboe -- These microwaveable sweets are not only delicious but fool-proof.

My mom’s recipe box is something I will always treasure. It is full of handwritten index cards, magazine cutouts and even pages ripped from cookbooks. I love going through it to find a recipe that sounds particularly delicious.

Some of my favorite memories are making desserts with my mother and my older sister. When we were young, however, using an oven wasn’t always an option. Having a small kitchen, my mom thought it was too dangerous to have us in there helping.

The best thing we ever made when we were young was our rocky road marshmallow bars. At just 6 years old, I described these delectable treats as “little pieces of heaven.”

We first stumbled upon this dessert while looking though magazines, trying to get ideas for my sister’s birthday party. At the time, my sister was going trough a phase in which she didn’t like cake or cupcakes, so we needed to find something different. We thought cookies were too ordinary, and brownies were too plain, so we began our search.

After only a few magazines, we found one that looked like a hit. The magazine had placed a picture of the dessert floating on clouds, and we knew it would be a heavenly treat.

The best part of this dessert is it can be made in advance and is actually better if prepared the evening before an event. I made these when I threw a baby shower for a friend. It was such a relief to have dessert done the evening before and to be able to focus on other food and decorations.

Because the bars become firm like candy after hours of refrigeration, they are easy to cut up and are perfect to set out in a stacked display. You can also wrap the squares individually with cellophane and ribbon and send guests with an on-the-go treat.

ROCKY ROAD MARSHMALLOW BARS

(Courtesy of Sherry Nutt)

Makes about 36 1 1/2 inch squares

INGREDIENTS 

1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chunky-style peanut butter

3 cups miniature marshmallows

••• cup chopped walnuts (optional)

EQUIPMENT 

Microwavable bowl

stirring utensil

9-inch square baking pan.

INSTRUCTIONS 

1. Microwave chocolate chips and peanut butter until melted, stirring after each minute for two to three minutes.

2. Fold in marshmallows and chopped nuts until ingredients are mixed well.

3. Spoon into 9-inch baking pan and chill until firm. Usually takes 2 hours to chill thoroughly. Cut into squares after chilling.

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