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I make Almond Roca every year, I want to try yours this year. I do use a candy thermometer, this gives me the same consistency so I know when it’s done. I cook mine to 310 degrees, hope this helps.
I made this for the first time and it’s not as difficult as I thought. I was a bit intimidated after reading all the comments. It did help though. One thing that I’m not sure of is my Rocha did not turn out as hard as I thought it would, like the almond Rocha I’m used to.Everyone told me it was delicious.
I just want to thank you for posting this recipe. I make several batches of it for Christmas every year and give it away to our really good customers and friends. People rave about it and always ask for the recipe. Thanks also for the extra cooking tips – they were really helpful and took the scariness out of making candy.
i make this for christmas every year along with cookies to give as gifts…this roca steals the show every time. don’t be intimidated by this recipe, candy-making requires familiarity but it is simple magic really!
follow elise’s instructions – don’t do this on a humid day and don’t double quantities; but do use a heavy bottomed pot/pan, and do use a candy-thermometer.
i use whole raw almonds with the skin, and i toast them a bit first in the oven, adding them in towards the end of the cooking time for the caramel. i use a chopped bar of bittersweet chocolate for the top…absolutely stellar!
if it is a cold day – you can pop the pan outside to cool rapidly – i store mine in the fridge.
happy new year elise and to all of you as well!
Well, I have made 5 batches of Almond Roca over the past week, and only 1 has actually worked. The one that turned out was beautiful but as I think I know what went wrong with the other 4, I thought I would give everyone the benefit of knowing the mistakes before they are made…
1. This one burnt as I had the element on too high. There was only a small burnt patch at the bottom on the pan once I rinsed it out but it was enough to ruin the flavour of the whole batch. I thought it smelled burnt but it was my very first batch so didn’t know what to expect. If it smells burnt, it is!
2. Butter separation: this one happened midway through the cooking and nothing could bring it back together. After lots of reading on the Internet, I think I was over stirring as I was worried about it burning (first batch).
3. Fudge consistency: well, I just didn’t cook this one enough. I had made one perfect batch without a candy thermometer so I thought I could do it by sight and smell alone…nope. The toffee never got that ‘snap’ and the texture was too grainy. Buy a candy thermometer! I have since bought one for $6 at the grocery store.
4. Butter separation…again! This time I was busy unwrapping Hershey kisses as I ran out of the chocolate chips so I was not watching the butter melt. When I added the sugar, the butter was too hot and the shock immediately made it separate. I took it off the heat and whisked it back together (or so I thought?) and made the toffee with the added almonds. When I added it to the pan to cool, it separated again. I am not sure if the pan was perhaps too cold and the shock did it again but either way, the batch didn’t work out well.
Good luck, when it works out, it is worth the work!
Don’t Throw That Mess Away!
What you can do if your batch fails. Make them into Chocolate Almond Cookies.
I’ve made a lot of batches, usually with success.
I recently tried to make a double bactch in a larger pot. I doubled the butter to 1 lb. and added 3 cups of sugar. In lieu of my usual corn syrup, I used a little maple syrup because it was leftover from breakfast.
The larger size required a larger pot. The batch went very granular on solidifying. The toffee base was very white in color. It was hard (not chewy) but definitely granular and definitely not toffee. It already had the chocolate and nuts on it. I decided to make use of all this good stuff and make cookies.
It required a little experimentation, making some dough and baking 1 cookie, adjusting, and baking more.
Here’s the general recipe.
Take the failed batch and put it into the food processor, grind it up into a paste. This becomes your sugar/flavorings and more than half the butter for your cookies.
In the standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream a small amount of unsalted, room temperature butter (half to 3/4 stick) until fluffy. Add in your paste a little at a time until incorporated. Add 1 egg and a little vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together about 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour and 1/4 tsp baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixer a little at a time, till mixed.
Toast some almonds, cool, and grind them up well in food processor with a little sea salt (to taste).
With a spoon, take some of the cool dough and roll into ball about 1 T to 1.5 T in size. Roll ball of dough in ground nuts. Place on parchment or silpat on cookie sheet and press down to flatten to about 3/4 inch thick.
Bake at 375 F for about 12-15 mins, rotating pan halfway through, until cookie is medium-browned around edges.
Cool on sheet on cooling rack for 2-4 mins to set and then carefully remove cookies to rack to cool further.
Experiment with more or less flour or butter to get the right consistency.
I started with just a portion of my aborted batch of toffee so that I could tweak it as I went along. Good Luck.
Tried this recipe twice, worked out well the first time, even better the second time. I heated it on a pretty low heat and took it off too early the first batch so it was more like a taffy, the second batch I used less almond, waited until it became a lot darker and started sort of sticking together. This batch was perfect Almond Roca! Thank you so much!
This was my first time making candy, and I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I ended up panicking on the first batch and pouring it before it reached hard crack…but luckily, the second came out just fine. The cup of cold water advice helped a lot, thank you guys!
I make this every year for Christmas presents. First and foremost, if you’re new to candy making, invest in a good candy thermometer. Takes the guesswork out of it. Also, a good, heavy pan is a must. I use mine ONLY for candy making, along with my wooden spoon. Have a sink of hot soapy water ready to put your pan in after pouring the candy out. Makes clean up a breeze!
I made this for Christmas presents and had no trouble from the get go. I was patient and waited for the amber colour to appear, it took about 14 minutes. Also I found it was hard to get a nice look with the chocolate the first time around so the second time I grated the chocolate before putting it on and then spread it around with the back of a spoon. Gorgeous and soooo delicious.
Ooooooh. I finally made this today. It is woooonderful! I didn’t deviate from the recipe at all, but I did use the dropping-in-water/on-a-cold-spoon test, as my candy thermometer seems to be hopeless, and it was very reliable.
So, I found that:
1) There is a distinct colour change before it’s ready, which will be a good guide for me in the future. So long as it was buttery in colour it was NOT ready, so I will know to be patient and not pour it out too soon or even bother testing. It took a bit longer once it changed colour.
2) It was actually really clear that it was ready, using the cold water/cold spoon test. I tried it a lot of times and was worried that it wasn’t hardening or that I’d misjudge and cook it too long. However, when it was ready, I bit into it my test ball and it crunched and tasted wonderful. I now know that if I was in any doubt, it wasn’t ready.
Thanks so much for all the tips, they were super helpful!
This is a great recipe first batch turned out great! This is great!!
Thanks for all the comments people made, I’m excited to try this for Christmas.
I was just wondering if anyone could tell me what is the best way to store it and how long it will keep?
I would like to try making it early, in case I experience some of the difficulties described by others and need time to fine-tune it (or give up and make something more familiar if I get desperate!). However, if I’m successful, that means it could be sitting around for 2-3 weeks!
The candy can be stored for at least a few months. I make mine and send it to my grandchildren so they can give it to their teachers and friends. I make it now (end of Nov.), send it, and it is good through January!
An old family method for those that don’t have candy thermometers. Try this never fail method my grandmother and mother used. When making toffee or nut brittle and testing for hardness, try spinning a thread. This is done by holding the spoon you are using to stir the boiling mixture a few inches above the cooking syrup, allowing the mixture to drip off the spoon back into the pan. As it reaches the correct temperature the mixture spins a thin “thread” that will blow in the heat. This candy thread will be very thin and brittle. When you reach this stage, you are at hard crack. Remove from heat and finish your toffee. Also a good test when making peanut brittle. I’ve never used any other method to test for hard crack when making toffee.
If you do not have a candy thermometer, try using the traditional water bowl method.
Drip caramel into a bowl of water (room temperature).
The caramel in the water bowl defines how your candy will turn out when it has cooled to room temperature.
For almond roca, after dripping the caramel into water, it’ll turn hard and breaks with snap – hardcrack stage.
I hope this helps :)
Thanks for the recipe! First time making roca/toffee. Actually, my first time making candy. I was really pleased at how well this came together. I did end up using a candy thermometer, and was glad I did. I took someone’s advice by checking my thermometer first against boiling water, and found it was pretty accurate. I almost burned it while i was multitasking around the kitchen (I know – bad me) but salvaged it before i lost it.
Thanks again for the delicious recipe, and all the advice was very helpful :)
BUTTER SEPARATES-I FOUND THE CURE!! We have made almond roca for a few years now. We often had the problem of the butter separating and either scrapped the batch or stirred, stirred, stirred hoping it wouldn’t burn by the time the butter re-incorporated. A friend of my wifes has made it for many years now and didn’t know what we were talking about with the butter separating. He only uses a cast iron skillet. So, we bought one. It has NEVER separated or even acted like it was going to separate since!! I swear, this is the fix to the “separating” problem!! Even heat!
OH MY LORD!!!! BEST RECIPE EVER!!!! its took me 15 minutes to make a whole batch!! it was soooooo easy!!! just dont keep the heat up too high. i set mine at around 7. just so it would boil. its tastes sooooo good! for my first candy making experience this was GREAT!!! thanks!!!
I made two batches of this today, one with almonds and one with cashews. I hadn’t read through any of the comments before making my first batch. I realized the importance of using cane sugar after my first batch. I had assumed I was using cane sugar until I went to the store and realized my sugar did not say cane sugar.
The first batch separated and I did not keep stirring until reincorporated. For the second batch I purchased super fine bakers sugar. This second batch turned out really good.
I used beer in place of the water for both batches, and also added vanilla. Instead of making a solid sheet and putting chocolate over it I cut the sheet into small squares and then rolled up the squares while still pliable.
I made a double boiler and melted the chocolate (a bag of bittersweet chips). I dipped the toffee rolls into the melted chocolate and then coated them in broken bits of almonds/cashews. This way my rocas looked more like what you would buy in the store.
It was more work but worth the effort.
I followed the recipe exactly and at 10 mins the mixture turned the amber color. I attempted to pour it onto the baking sheet and it clumped up. It did not smooth at all, the mixture completely broke apart. Did I cook it too long? It does not smell or look burnt.