Homemade Almond Roca

This Homemade Almond Roca is an easy English toffee with almonds, covered with dark chocolate. No candy thermometer required. Perfect for holiday gifts!

Overhead view of almond roca candy on a plate.
Annika Panikker

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!

Side view of roca candy piled on a plate.
Annika Panikker

Homemade Almond Roca

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Yield 1 pan

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.

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

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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Method

  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.

    Melting butter in a red pan to make almond roca recipe.
    Annika Panikker
    Adding nuts to melted butter for an almond roca recipe.
    Annika Panikker
  2. Cook until the mixture turns a warm amber color, and the boiling sounds like a crackle:

    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.

    Butter and nuts simmering in a wide skillet to make Melting butter in a red pan to make an almond roca recipe.
    Annika Panikker
  3. Pour mixture out onto a large cookie sheet:

    When the mixture crackles, pour the mixture out onto a large sheet pan or cookie sheet and spread it as thin as possible with a fork.

    Pouring almond roca onto a baking sheet.
    Annika Panikker
    Spreading almond roca on a baking sheet.
    Annika Panikker
  4. Spread chocolate over the top:

    While the almond mixture 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.

    Adding chocolate to the top of the almond roca candy.
    Annika Panikker
    Spreading melted chocolate over almond roca.
    Annika Panikker
  5. Cool to room temp:

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

    Lifting cooled almond roca up off the baking sheet.
    Annika Panikker
    A large sheet of almond roca split in half on top a baking sheet.
    Annika Panikker

Links:

The Cold Water Candy Test