Almond Roca

English toffee recipe, with almonds, like almond roca, covered with dark chocolate.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I have a severe weak spot for almond roca during the holiday season. I can resist fruitcake, all manner of Christmas cookies, puddings and mince pies. But when it comes to almond roca, will power abandons me. (That will be an extra hundred situps for the next two weeks, please.)

My mother’s friend Myke brought over a delicious batch a week ago, which lasted, um, an hour? A phone call with a rave review prompted her to bring us a second batch along with the recipe. Thanks Myke!

Almond Roca Recipe


Use an inexpensive chocolate such as Hershey's. It has low cocoa butter content. If you use a premium chocolate with a high cocoa butter content, unless you temper the chocolate first (look up directions online), the cocoa butter may separate into white streaks as the melted chocolate cools.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 lb butter (2 sticks - NO substitutes!)
  • 1/2 lb. slivered almonds (2 cups)
  • 1/2 lb. bar of regular Hershey's dark chocolate (7 oz okay)


Do not attempt to make this on a humid or rainy day. Do not double the recipe, make one batch at a time.

1 Melt butter with sugar, syrup and water in a pan (such as a large non-stick frying pan) on medium to medium-high temperature. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon. When butter is melted, add the almonds.

2 When mixture comes to a rolling boil, set your timer for a minimum of 10 minutes and keep stirring (no more than 15 minutes). The mixture will thicken and turn darker in color. The almonds will roast. Keep stirring and cooking until you hear it crackle. If you don't cook it long enough it will not harden, so keep stirring and listen for the crackling sound.

Elise's note: I have found it very hard to distinguish between the boiling sound and the crackling sound in this recipe. A better guideline for me is by color. When the mixture turns a warm amber color, at about 11 or 12 minutes into the boiling, that's the time to pour it out. Wait too long and it will burn.

If you try to make this, please read all the comments listed below. It's actually trickier than one would think.

3 When the mixture crackles, pour the mixture out onto a large cookie sheet and spread it as thin as possible with a fork. While it is still hot, break up the chocolate into chunks and distribute it over the almond mixture and let it melt. Spread it evenly on the top.

4 Let it cool to room temperature. When cool you can lift the whole thing off the pan and break into small pieces.

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Note: You can use other kinds of nuts such as pecans or macadamia and white chocolate.


The Cold Water Candy Test

Showing 4 of 131 Comments

  • abha

    In response to a comment posted by Strangette: (This tip came from one of the many fabulous candy-makers and bakers on eGullet)
    To solve the problem of the toffee side being oily or greasy, simply sprinkle some cocoa powder on it, and then coat with chocolate. The cocoa powder absorbs the extra oil, and helps the chocolate adhere better.
    Hope this helps in your next batch.

    Great tip, thanks! ~Elise

  • Eileen

    I just made my first batch of almond roca using Elise’s recipe and it turned out great. I am not familiar with the kitchen AT ALL so i am very pleased with how everything turned out. I found it helpful to read through the comments and make notes on things I thought might be helpful during the process. I used a candy thermometer which must have been defective because I got the amber color (compared to color of peanut butter as mentioned on one comment) but the thermometer never read the 300 degree mark. I decided to use the Hard Crack test when I got to the amber color so as to not burn. I dropped a bit of the mixture into a cup of ice cold water and it got hard and cracked when dropped into the sink. This I also took from comments. There was also a separation of the butter during cooking and someone commented to take the pan off the heat and drop in a little bit of hot water into the mixture and then return to heat and stir, stir, stir. That worked out perfect.

  • John

    A few things I’ve learned:

    If it’s crumbly or soft, it hasn’t been cooked long enough. If it’s not brittle but extremely hard and tough, it’s possible it’s been cooked too long.
    I’ve been struggling with the ‘clear bitter liquid’ for ages, and I’ve found that overcooking will get it nearly every time, and using water (early on) gives me a lot more tolerance. Adding it while you’re still cooking near the end works too but you don’t have long; as soon as the water cooks off it’ll seperate again. Corn syrup also gave me more time to get things to the right place but I have no doubt if I’d cooked it a little longer it would have seperated.

    If you pour it into the pan after it seperates, wait until it’s just cooled enough to stay in the pan and pour it off into the sink (or wherever, it’s incredibly bitter if you let more than a slight skin stay on there). You’ll end up with less candy but it’ll taste just fine.
    If your candy is too crumbly, just break it up chocolate, nuts, and all, and add it to ice cream (topping or mix-in). We gave out a few canisters of the stuff this year with explicit instructions to that effect.

  • Aunt Deeber

    SUCCESS! The batch turned out really good (it’s been “thoroughly tested” ;-) )

    I watched for the color change and also used my candy therm – everything happened right on queue. I did add salt to the toffee – 1/4 tsp. The other thing I did that was a little different from the recipe was to temper the chocolate in a small bowl so I could dip the smaller chunks into the chocolate (then I sprinkled with almond “dust”). It turned out really pretty and tastes terrific. These will not last long tonight! Hmmmm… good excuse to make another batch.

  • Laurie

    A friend had me over to teach me, so I stayed 3 hours and watched as well as helped make 12 batches (they had completed 8 before I got there) All batches were perfect, using just butter and sugar and a candy thermometer to 312 degrees. So I went home and tried it myself with no success. I have a gas stove, am at 5000 feet and rarely get a cloudy day. Every time I get to about 250 degrees the temp starts to fall rapidly and separate. I tried adding a little water and stirring hard till it reincorporated then back on the heat and I got it up to 280 before it plummeted again. I have ruined 6 batches now

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Almond Roca