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Book review: 'Rocky Road' another in Kilpack's sweet mystery adventures (+recipe)

"ROCKY ROAD," by Josi S. Kilpack, Shadow Mountain, $18.99, 346 pages (f)

This time around, Sadie Hoffmiller is trying really hard not to become involved in the case surrounding the odd disappearance of Dr. Trenton Hendricks — by all accounts a good doctor, father and charitable friend to the community of St. George.

She listens to and looks at the "evidence" gathered by her friends and wisely turns it over to the local police only to find them asking for her help.

She wants to focus on her wedding, which is only weeks away.

In "Rocky Road," the 10th installment in Josi S. Kilpack's culinary mystery series with Sadie, she's on her own as Pete Cunningham, her fiance, is away on a bachelor's excursion. He can't be reached for help.

She's also still somewhat gun-shy following her last dangerous adventure in "Baked Alaska," so she's trying to pull back and resist her natural urge to investigate wherever there are questions without answers.

Once she commits, however, to following her nose and helping her friend, she's involved to where ultimately only a batch of Rocky Road Fudge can really soothe her.

She finds people committing fraud, deceiving and robbing. She discovers lies and infidelities.

She's also discovering Mormonism along the way as she's introduced to cultural halls, funeral potatoes and ward congregations.

In some ways, the explanations and inclusion of prayers, etc., seems a little forced, but Sadie is curious and accepting even if she does drink Mountain Dew with caffeine in it and think Mormon ways are a little odd. The preaching is subdued.

In "Rocky Road," Kilpack takes on those who might defraud the public with charitable foundations and fundraisers — as the dead doctor and his second wife apparently skimmed off the top and gave little to actual research from their money-making effort.

Without giving away the ending, it's safe to say this story goes in a different direction than one would initially expect — twice.

It's simple at the same time that it's a convoluted tale. It's an enjoyable read with good intentions.

The violence and death are limited in description and there's no bad language. There's no blatant sex.

Sadie is still a likable character who seems to have a knack for stumbling in and out of trouble without lasting scars.

And the recipes, including one for the Maddox Restaurant rolls, Utah's Fry Sauce and Cafe Rio's Barbacoa Pork, also make it worth buying the book.

Granny Annie’s Rocky Road Fudge

4 ½ cups sugar

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

3½ cups mini marshmallows, divided (2 cups frozen, 1½ cups at room temperature)

1 stick butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

3½ cups (21 ounces) chocolate, such as chocolate chips or chopped candy bars*

1½ teaspoons vanilla

1 cup nuts (any type, but peanuts are traditional)

Put 2 cups of miniature marshmallows in the freezer. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan. In 4-quart saucepan (or larger—mixture will triple in size once it begins to boil) on medium heat, combine sugar and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 7 minutes (to soft ball stage), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Allow to cool 3 minutes. Do not stir mixture after removing it from heat or crystallization will occur. While the sugar-milk mixture cools, mix together 1½ cups mini marshmallows, butter, chocolate, and vanilla in large bowl.

Pour sugar-milk mixture in bowl with chocolate-butter mixture (do not stir before pouring in sugar-milk mixture and do not scrape pan). Mix until smooth. Add nuts and pre-frozen marshmallows. Mix till combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan; smooth top. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 1-inch squares.

*Half milk chocolate and half semisweet chocolate make a great combination.

Note: Fudge freezes well when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container. Thaw before eating.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at