This was, hands down, the favorite thing I made this Christmas season. I have loved Almond Roca since discovering it several years ago in an employer’s Christmas basket. It’s sweet and salty and the texture is perfect – crunchy, but not break-your-teeth hard. It had never occurred to me that I could actually make this candy at home, until I saw this post on Tasty Kitchen. And, now that I know I can make this at home, I pretty much want to make caramel and toffee all the time.
Soon after the post on Tasty Kitchen, there was also a recipe for Butter Toffee on Pioneer Woman, so I used a combo of the recipes.
This recipe is not for those afraid of butter. There are four sticks in this, plus sugar, water, salt, almonds, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Basically, you melt the butter, add the water and sugar, and cook till it gets nice and dark. I used a 5.5 quart pot for this; the first time I made this, I actually started out in a smaller pot, but switched partway through.
I don’t have any process shots of this because, frankly, cooking sugar frightens me a bit, and I didn’t want to take my eye off of it for a second. The Tasty Kitchen post has great pics, so use that for reference.
I used a candy thermometer for this, since it seemed a little easier than trying to gauge the done-ness by eye, considering I’ve never made candy before. The Butter Toffee recipe says to cook to 298 degrees, and the first time I made this, it cooked to 298 degrees and it turned out perfect. There was also minimal burning on my pot.
The second time, however, it didn’t really go above 250 or so, and it was starting to get pretty dark and burn to the bottom of the pot, so I pulled it off the heat when it looked like the right color. The texture of the finished candy was a little off: it was a little bit sticky – meaning that although the candy was hard, it stuck a little to your teeth. After doing some research, I think that it may have had to do with the heat being too high, which led to burning, which led to me not cooking it long enough. Most recipes recommend cooking on medium heat, but the Tasty Kitchen one says high heat. I have revised the directions below to say medium. In retrospect, the fact that I had to switch pots midway through the cooking process the first time probably helped, because it cooled the mixture down a little bit so it didn’t burn. In addition, apparently overstirring can cause issues too – so I’ll have to try again with lower heat and less stirring.
When it’s done, pull it off the heat, stir in the almonds, and pour onto a large, greased, rimmed half sheet pan (or jelly roll pan). Spread it out evenly, then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. After a few seconds, the chocolate chips (I’m guessing you could also use other chocolate, chopped up) will be melty enough that you can spread it out evenly.
Then just sprinkle with chopped almonds, and let cool. I put mine in the fridge to help it along, and it cooled pretty quickly. I tried both scoring it and just breaking it, and I prefer just breaking it. Even though I scored it and most of the pieces broke along the lines, a lot of it just broke haphazardly anyway. This one pan was enough to fill a tin, which I brought into work. For the second batch, I included it in cookie tins that I gave to my PREP girls (with plenty leftover for me and my parents).
Homemade Almond Roca
Makes one 12″x17″ or 13″x18″ pan
-4 sticks (1 lb) butter (salted or unsalted)
-2 rounded cups white sugar
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-4 Tablespoons water
-2 cups sliced almonds
-1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup chopped almonds
- Grease a rimmed 12″x17″ or 13″x18″ jelly roll or sheet pan (I used nonstick cooking spray).
- Combine butter, sugar, salt, and water in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil, stirring gently but constantly. It will gradually change color and consistency, from thin to thick, light yellow to darker golden brown.
- Cook till it reaches a smooth, dark brown color, or till a candy thermometer reaches 298 degrees. This will probably take about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add sliced almonds, stirring to combine.
- Pour onto baking sheet, spreading evenly with a silicon spatula or offset spatula.
- Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top of the toffee, and let sit for a few minutes to soften.
- Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee.
- Sprinkle with chopped almonds.
- Once completely cooled, turn onto a large cutting board and use a knife to break it into pieces.
- Store in an airtight container.