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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.
A coworker gave me a recipe for Almond Roca years ago – it was a favorite holiday recipe for me up until a few years ago, when my computer died and I lost all of my recipes in MasterCook (that will teach me not to backup/print my recipes). Anyway, this recipe looks very similar – I can’t wait to try it.
One thing that I do recall from my old recipe was that it used Hershey Milk Chocolate with Almonds bars. Just break them up a little, throw them into a food processor with some additional almonds, and chop until relatively fine (but not a complete dust).
To get it on both sides of the toffee, line the pan with aluminum foil and scatter in half of the chocolate/almond mixture. Pour the toffee mix on top and then top with the remaining chocolate / almond mix. You end up with both sides coated, though it is a more “powdery” coating rather than a smooth layer of melted chocolate.
I was not able to read all comments but wanted to address the chocolate and nuts on both sides issue. I use 2 lb butter and 2 cups sugar only and cook to hard crack. While the butter is melting on low heat before I add the sugar and turn up to medium heat I prepare the jelly roll pan. I spread sliced almonds in my jelly roll pan then sprinkle them with milk chocolate chips. When the sugar/butter mixture is done I spread that over the almond/chocolate mixture then put a layer of chocolate on the top let melt, spread, then sprinkle more slivered almonds. I also cut it immediately with a pizza cutter before it sets up then let cool at room temperture. The chocolate is not evenly coated on the bottom of the candy but I have had no complaints on the taste.
Thanks so much for this recipe. I know it’s similar to others out there, but for Thanksgiving last week I was looking for something simple and quick for a particular use.
You see, I wanted to mimic something I’ve had in a restaurant once. I wanted to make a New York cheesecake with an almond roca crust. I used this recipe and I think it will work. I need to do some more testing to be sure, but I will update here again once I know.
Normally, I would use a pack of crushed graham crackers to make the crust. In this case, I made this almond roca recipe and when I added 5 oz of almond slivers (less than the recipe called for, and which were crushed to be smaller than the slivers which I originally took out of the package) I also added HALF of a pack of graham crackers along with them. I then stuck in the candy thermometer and started stirring.
At about 250 degrees, I stirred about half as often as when I started. Once the thermometer hit 300, I turned off the heat and poured the hot mix into the spring form pan to cool. I didn’t put it all in there since it seemed a little much, but poured the rest onto a Silpat. That served as a snack while I finished the cheesecake.
The cheesecake batter was poured in, baked until 150 degrees in the center and put in the refrigerator to cool. But, I made the recipe a little late and it was getting time for people to leave and they HAD to try some first, even though it hadn’t had time to cool all the way yet.
So when it was eaten, the crust was still a bit soft, but not liquid by any stretch. It was VERY well received. (I was told next time to pour ALL of the crust mixture into the pan.) But I think when I make it next time I’ll add a full pack of crushed graham crackers, and do it near the end, maybe at around 290 degrees, so that the powder has less chance to absorb fat/liquid and get mushy. I’m trying to get it so that the toffee is hard yet still easy to break up with a fork – not as hard as a hard candy, like a peanut brittle.
I think I’m almost there, but I thought I’d pass this info along here since I started with this recipe and it seems that it could be very useful to others as well.
Seriously, you haven’t had cheesecake until you’ve had it with an almond roca crust.
I make Almond Roca and am thinking about marketing it. My question is, is there anything to put into the chocolate to preserve it and keep it from melting in the summer while sitting out on the counter. I use Hersey Bars.
To deal with humidity….
has anyone tried to use a dehumidifier in the room as you are making it?
I tried this and absolutely LOVE it! It was very easy to follow and the candy is delicious. I put it out and not even five minutes later it was all gone. Thank you for a great recipe.
You haven’t specified what type of sugar to use.
Is it white sugar, light brown, dark brown…..?
This info would be helpful. Thank you
White granulated sugar. ~Elise
Thanks for a wonderful recipeand helpful comments! I made a couple changes : roasted almonds (‘chopped’ with a meat tenderizer as mentioned by another reviewer) at 375 F. I also used 7-8 oz Nestle semi-sweet chips. So, I made three batches (1 at a time): the first burned, the last undercooked, the second PERFECT!! The reason the first burned is because I was trying to follow a thermometer (since I could not trust myself to distinguish the crackling sound). At the same time I was looking for the warm amber color, and performing water glass tests. The amber color came and still I kept stirring, and then I added the roasted nuts and stirred some more. :-P Anyway, by the time I poured it, it was a few minutes overdone. I do have a couple questions: is it ok to use stoneware (for cooling) with hard candy? Also, I have read something in the other comments about ‘buttering the pan’…how is this properly done? And another..if the chocolate is not on the roca, can I bake it in the oven for a few minutes to harden it? pardon my ignorant question, I just don’t know what to do with the undercooked batch (it’s hardly crunchy at all…good chewy taste)
Here’s a trick if you like nuts and chocolate on both sides of the Almond Roca: Have ready 1 pound of finely chopped walnuts and 1 pound of grated chocolate. (I pulse the chocolate in a food processor) Butter a large jellyroll pan. Sprinkle with half the walnuts, then half the chocolate. Now make the Almond Roca. When ready to pour, pour over the chocolate in the jellyroll pan. Spread to the edges. Then top first with the remaining chocolate, then the remaining nuts. Works like a charm.
I love this recipe. I was told to watch the candy turn color, but that I am looking for the “peanut butter” stage…LOL..So when I am cooking a batch I wait for it to role into the peanut butter looking stage and it has not failed me yet…Happy Baking!
I’ve just made this 3 times over the past few days. The first time I only heated the mixture to 305º which was an early stage of browning. I used a candy thermometer calibrated using boiling water, great tip! It tasted great but never quite hardened to the crack stage. Then I watched Alton Brown (Good Eats) make some peanut brittle and his method called for heating to 350º +/- 10º. So, I tried this recipe again but heated the mixture to near 350º. Two batches in a row, perfect! I chocolate coat both sides and use a 60/40 Hersey’s Milk/Special Dark chocolate mixture. I then coat both sides with crushed raw almonds (just like Brown & Hailey’s- which is only about 25min from my home). It’s perfect. Love the English Toffee, love the easy recipe. BTW, I’m in the NW USA and it’s December and rainy outside. To tell you the truth, when you heat the mixture to 340º-350º, I don’t think it can fail to reach crack stage, but I’m new at it so…
Oh, one other thing, Alton suggested using a cast iron skillet under the pan used to heat the mixture to ensure even heating. I used a non-stick 3.5-quart pot in an 8″ cast iron skillet- it worked perfect. There is no need to stir constantly, very rarely in fact. Near the end I add some crushed raw almonds into the mixture, also 1/4 t of salt. Give a little stir, finish bringing it up to temp/color and remove from heat. Then carefully pour onto parchment paper in a large shallow cookie sheet. Cool, pat dry any excess butter/oil with a paper towel, coat with chocolate (warmed in a double boiler on low) then crushed almonds, cool, flip, repeat… then everyone dives in!
I also poured some of the mixture over dry lightly salted peanuts to make peanut brittle. It tastes great too.
Thanks everyone for the tips. Thanks for the recipe.
Just made a batch with no chocolate, added a tsp of (very strong from madagascar) vanilla and lots of walnuts. After this 3rd batch, what i am noticing is that it is the smell, more than the temperature or the color that lets you know that it is almost ready to be poured. I basically wait for that smell, then add the walnuts, then stir like crazy until my arm hurts because it is thickening, then immediately pour it out. Adding walnuts really makes the color check impossible, since the walnut dust turns it almost the perfect color right away.
I know, no chocolate is sacrilege. But you didn’t have to see the faces of my 2 coworkers that are allergic to chocolate as I was passing this stuff out yesterday.
It was amazing with walnuts instead of almonds! I put in 2 cups of walnuts in a double batch (yes it can be done). My first batch with almonds was very hard and brittle, but with the walnuts it basically melted in your mouth, quite a bit firmer than say, a praline, but it won’t pull out your fillings.
Of course, at work today, everyone loved both.
But for me, I will never make it again with almonds. Thanks for the walnut suggestion a few hundred posts up there!
I need some suggestions. I have an almond roca reciepe handed down to me. I have never had any trouble with it until I moved to a higher elevation. I am now at 3800 feet. My receipe say to cook butter & sugar until it reaches 310 degrees. I do that but when I pour it into a lighly greased pan the butter separates. I would really like some help with this
Hi, I just tried this recipe at home and it was great. I was worried because I’ve never made caramel or toffee, only fudge a few years ago. Plus it’s been really rainy and humid…
I didn’t have corn syrup so left it out. I only had enough butter to make a half batch, and I only had sunflower seeds…
I set the electric element to just under medium, and started timing 11 minutes as soon as it started to boil. When the timer went off I could see some of the sunflower seeds were reaching the point of no return, so I removed the saucepan from heat. From memory of making fudge and the importance of not stirring once boiling, I left it to bubble away happily without any stirring at all. I spread it as thinly as possible which I think would help with the crunch. Dark choc with total cocoa mass of 72% worked fine. All surprisingly straight-forward really. Maybe it was a first-timers’ fluke… Thanks a lot for the recipe and comments, that’s my christmas pressies sorted :)
I’ve made this for three years in a row now, from this recipe, and it’s been my only candy making experiences. I didn’t really know what it was supposed to turn out like, and the first year a friend tried some and /loved/ it and said she loved soft roca…..better on her teeth. I had no idea it was soft……but hey, if people liked it that was fine. :) The second year I had a friend say it tasted burnt…..but it didn’t /look/ burnt and I didn’t taste that myself, so who knows. I just made some last night and I think it turned out great! Definitely more crisp then the first year, and tastes great. I couldn’t find the candy thermometer I bought the first year, so I just went by colour. As soon as it reached the peanut butter colour stage recommended above, I tried the hard ball test (glass of cold water) and then I took it off the heat. I think that was perfect. So good and so easy!
The almond roca mixture I learned from my mom and her from her mom is very similar to this recipe. We use a candy thermometer and let the mixture get to the “hard crack stage” which is right around 300 degrees farenheit. It turned out great!
I have been making almond roca every Christmas for 25 years and would like to share one thing in particular. This is one very tempermental food to make and I have experienced everything everyone here has posted. Every batch is still not a guarantee. I think, every stove, every pot, (yes even the pot!) and every elevation requires a different tact; one just has to learn which works under their conditions.
At 2000 feet I used to cook mine to 350f, but now just do the ice water test – works like a charm.
How will high elevation effect the recipe? I will be in Lake Tahoe, CA this Thanksgiving weekend and wanted to make it there. I read your note about humid or rainy days.
Great question, I have no idea. You might try Googling high altitude candy making and see what you find. ~Elise
I made this last night, my first attempt at making candy, and I was stoked that I pulled it off. I think it came out great, and so did the people at work. I’m surprised by this because things didn’t go as I thought they might:
I attempted to use the candy thermometer, but in the end I had to rely on the “peanut butter test” mentioned in some of the other comments (btw, thanks everyone…very, very helpful!). The candy thermometer wasn’t working for me for two reasons: 1.) I’m an idiot and didn’t realize it had a clip you can use to attach it to the pan and 2.) after stirring constantly, and what seemed like forever the consistency of the mixture was more like peanut butter or oatmeal loaded with almond slivers so the thermometer wasn’t really sitting in anything you could call a liquid.
Basically the mixture was breaking up into three large chunks that were not conducive to stirring. At about this point I also noticed the butter separating so I stirred as best I could to try to get it to reincorporate. The color was just about right after a minute or so of this so I decided to “pour” it onto the cookie sheet.
Mashed it down with a fork, covered it with broken up Hershey’s minutures (1/2 milk chocolate and half special dark) and let it cool on the counter over night.
In the end this came out great. It’s got the crunch/texture/whatever that I was hoping for. Thanks for the recipe! This helps further my nefarious plan to turn the world diabetic :)
(I do wonder why, at the end, the mixture was so dry. I did mix this up in a frying pan, on medium or slightly lower heat, on a gas range. I don’t know if any of those factors are important.)
So glad to have found this post and all the helpful comments but I have to ask … has ANYONE tried this who lives in FL?
I LOVE Almond Roca and commercial brands are not sold in the town where I live (I’ve been looking for 10 years!) so I am excited to try making it myself, but worried sick about all the humidity comments! I am the “family baker” for the holidays and have had my fair share of disasters b/c of humidity – it is never dry where I live.
I do have success with peanut brittle by storing it in grandma’s old cookie tins between layers of wax paper.
If peanut brittle sets nicely for me, do you think this will too???
I have just spent a good hour reading through all the great comments, tips and recipe variations, thanks for all your inspirations. I made a great ‘rocca’ several years ago and do not recall having any problems – mislaid the recipe though and found this site whilst looking for suggestions. We used to make toffee to hold together our croquembouche and used ‘liquid glucose’ in with the sugar and water for that toffee…I’m wondering whether this may be a good substitute for the corn syrup? I will be trying this when my nephew comes to stay next week, so will post back a comment then… in the meantime does anyone have a good recipe for honeycomb?
Wow! I just tried this for the first time & it worked beautifully!! I even tried some suggestions. I left out the corn syrup & added a little salt! YUM!! This pan won’t last long!
I’m on a roll! I can’t keep this candy around for more than a few days. I have made many, many batches, all successful. I make it with walnut too. I want to pass on what I think is an important variable – the humidity. First, follow the recipe, read the comments and be sure to use a large non-stick pan. Now for humidity:
50% to 60% – commercial, crisp candy that will have them begging for more.
60% to 70% – a little softer candy, harder to manage once you pour it out. Perfectly acceptable and delicious.
70% to 75% – Crumbly candy, but still tasty, A little grainy and hard to manage. You have to spread it out fast. One of my friends love 72% candy.
I wouldn’t try with anything over 75%. Good luck everyone.
Two questions – I have not tried this recipe yet but am anxious to do so! Firstly, what can I use instead of corn syrup? I live in Ireland and it is nearly impossible to find. I could try what they call “Golden Syrup” but I am stumped as to find what the ingredients in Golden Syrup really are. Secondly – do you need to grease the cookie sheet or will that make the roca too greasy?
Hi Maryann – corn syrup is important to keep the caramelized sugar from crystallizing and getting gritty. You might try skipping it if you don’t have it and seeing how it goes. I’m surprised you can’t find it in your market, it’s a pretty standard baking ingredient. You might want to ask around there. Golden syrup is different. Regarding greasing the cookie sheet, we haven’t found it to be necessary. ~Elise
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
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.
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.
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.
Hi Everybody, I found this blog after messing up my almond roca and I have no idea what went wrong. I’ve done this recipe before and it turned out fine but this time it didn’t harden at all! Did i stir it too much (i stirred constantly) or did I not cook it enough (I took it off when it was the color of peanut butter. I was gonna keep it on longer but the butter started separating from the mixture and I thought that I overdid it?)
Any ideas on what went wrong would be greatly appreciated!
So, I tried my first batch of almond roca this weekend (using my father’s tried-and-true recipe) and it turned out very soft and a little granulated. However, the taste isn’t bad and I really don’t want to throw all that work (and ingredients) into the garbage. Does anyone have ideas on how to transform my chewy batch into something else … Cookies? Roll up bite-sized amounts and dip in chocolate for a new candy? Muffin filling?
I also read one blog where someone returned the cooled batch to the stove, added a little water, and reheated to the right consistency. Has anyone ever done that with success?
I have to say, I tried this (a variation of) recipe today (1 lb butter, 2 cups sugar, no water, 1 tblsp of corn syrup and 1 tsp vanilla). I read every blog and have to thank all of you. First of all, the candy thermometer was worth every penny $10. I listened to all of you (except for the boiling turning to a crackling sound, as my daughters were listening to Britney Spears in the next room). I didn’t panic when the butter and sugar separated. I patiently kept stirring with my wooden spoon until they congealed. I waited for the amber color, till it hit 300 degrees and tested a small amount in a cold glass of water. I made 3 perfect batches. Two with almonds, 1 with cashews. YUM! I have to say, I used different chocolate and a different method, but it all worked out great. So, thank you to ALL!
I made a batch of almond roca today. recipe was 2 c. butter, 2 c sugar, 1/3 c. water. I boiled and stirred constantly with wooden spoon until the mixture turned a caramel colored tan. It set up just fine, but has a bitter after taste to it. what did I do wrong? did I over cook it?
I have tried this recipe many times and have always had much success. However, I now ‘double’ the recipe starting by melting (1) lb. of butter over medium heat (gas burner…sorry, electric stove tops just don’t cut it for me..). Then I add (2) cups of sugar, (6) tbls. water, and (2) tbls. Karo corn syrup in a large non-stick pot. I like to use a wooden spoon to stir all of the ingredients with until it comes to a full roiling boil. I would highly recommend using a candy thermometer once in a boiling stage. I don’t think you have to be continously stirring all of the time as if you were making fudge…just keep an eye on it and let it do it’s thing until the thermometer hits 300 degrees, you do have to stir though…just not every second! At this point the mixture may or may not be ready! I usually take it all the way up to 325 degrees when the color is a nice brown (paper bag) color. Even though the hard crack stage on a thermometer says 300 degrees doesn’t make it so…I have made a few batches where the toffee was a little ‘soft’ to my liking so this is where you have to rely on your eye to make sure the color is BROWN before pouring it out. Also, I use (1) cup of walnuts in the toffee mixture instead of almonds…(I use slivered almonds on top of the melted chocolate). Here’s the trick that works for me: take the toffee mixture up to 325 degrees then add the nuts. I will microwave the cup of nuts for 1 min. so as not to completely ‘shock’ the mixture. You will notice a drop in temperature after adding the nuts and this is normal. Also, if you use walnuts you will see some separation from the oil of the nuts, this is normal too. Stir the nuts in and then watch the thermometer carefully until it reaches 325 degrees THEN pour it out on to your cookie pan (I use a smaller one so it makes a thicker toffee). I wait until the toffee starts to set up before I add a 12oz. bag of melted Hershey’s milk chocolate. Using a plastic spatula spreading the melted chocolate over the toffee I sprinkle slivered almonds over the entire batch and cover with wax paper and then press the almonds in to it so it can set up in the chocolate. If prepared right your awesome almond roca should break up nicely and even more so should taste as good (if not better!) than the Big candy maker! Try this recipe out and impress yourself, friends and family!
I tried this recipe last year followed all comments and worked great. So good I ended up makeing 10 batches for friends and family.
This year I actully have orders for it. Thanks for this it is the best.
PS. Great idea for the ones that don’t work will try if my husband doesn’t get it before I can bake with it.
I have never had any luck making toffee with unsalted butter, even if I add salt to the butter as it melts. I don’t know why, but this leaves the toffee oily and separated.
When the toffee is completely cooled, I break it into bite sized pieces and dip it in melted chocolate using a fork. I put the coated toffee on parchment and dust with chopped toasted almonds. Some of the earlier issues discussed about chocolate bloom (or separation of cocoa butter in the chocolate are due to the toffee being too warm for the chocolate.
Callebaut or Hershey’s (or any brand) will work as long as you temper the melted chocolate and coat the toffee after it is cool. Anyway, even if there is a bloom on the chocolate, the almonds cover it up.
To Heather – I’ve successfully used several brands of semi-sweet morsels for melting on toffee. It doesn’t look shiny like tempered chocolate, but it tastes just fine and it hasn’t separated. It also melts at a slightly lower temp once it’s on there, but again, not an issue in the winter time where I live. I would try a small bag of morsels, melt a few tablespoons and simply spread on waxed paper. If it dries OK, you’re probably in business. I’ve not had one separate on me yet. I have used Nestle, Whole Foods own brand, Guittard, or Ghiradelli chips/morsels.
To those with chocolate flaking off: sometimes a bit of the butter separates as the toffee cools. Just wipe it off with a paper towel before you pour on the melted chocolate. Works well for me at any rate.
I’m looking forward to using this recipe as my husband loves almond roca. It’ll be a surprise Christmas present. I’m having a bit of time trying to find lower quality dark chocolate as I can’t find regular Hershey’s dark chocolate up here in Canada.
I was wondering is Hershey’s Premium Dark chocolate (50% cocoa) would work for this recipe. It’s either that or Callebaut or Cadbury dark chocolate (not sure on cocoa concentration for these).
Which one would be better to use so it doesn’t separate?
Not familiar with the brands in Canada. I doubt the premium Hershey’s will work because of the high cocoa butter content. The problem is the cocoa butter, that’s what separates out. If you can’t find the less expensive chocolate then to avoid the separating, you’ll likely have to temper the chocolate first. I don’t have instructions on how to do that, but you can look it up online. ~Elise
I make Almond Roca all holiday season for gifts and I take orders for it. It is truly an art in itself and my recipe came from my 8th grade home ec teacher. It is simple but takes about 20 minutes of undivided attention.
2 cups sugar
melt the butter and add the sugar stir over med/high heat until the butter incorporates in with the sugar. Continue to stir constantly until the butter seperates from the sugar and is liquidy, continue to stir until the butter incorporates back into the sugar and turns a golden carmel color. Pour immediately into a prepared pan of whole raw almonds. Use a metal long flat spatula and quickly spread it to all corners of the pan, while it is still hot, cover with either hershey bars or choc chips until they melt and the candy hardens a bit, spread the chocolate all over the candy and top with finely chopped almonds. Let cool completely and break into pieces. Makes about 2#.
I was wondering if you can use milk chocolate because I don’t like dark chocolate.
You can try it and see if it works for you. Let us know how it turns out. ~Elise
Sorry but “crackling” is a terrible way to put this. An old way to tell if it is hard enough is do to a hard ball test. Have a cold cup of water handy while you are stirring the mixture. After the first 12 minutes or so, using a small spoon, take a small amount and drop it into the cup of cool water. If it is ready, it will form a hard ball. If it is not ready it will form a softer ball….let cook for the remaining 3 minutes. This is how I was taught to cook almond roca and any other candies including popcorn balls.
Thanks for this recipe! I’m a first time candy maker, and I just finished my first batch of roca. It turned out great! I used a bowl of ice water to dip a spoon of the mixture into to check for hard-crack stage and just did that untill it came out perfect! I had a candy therm. too but I hardly needed it. Thanks to everyone for all the good ideas/input on here.
How do you fix toffee or brittle after humidity sets in and makes it sticky or un-crunchy? Will putting it in the oven work? How hot, how long? I bought some and it wasn’t stored correctly so it absorbed moisture and went gooey on us.
Can someone help me? When i make my english toffee, and pour it over the cookie sheet, it comes out to thick, what can i do to make it thinner?
Hello, I’ve got a question about this recipe – I would love to try it, but I cannot get anything like corn syrup here. Is there anything what could replace it? Or could I skip it?
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
THANK YOU EVERYONE for all your help. Your comments have made my night! I have tried about 6 botched pots of toffee for Almond Roca and I couldn’t get it to work out; no matter what I did it kept separating or over cooking. I finally used someone’s tip and put a cast iron pan under my pot, left it at med-low temp, and did not hardly stir it. Come to find out, my 2 candy thermometers are really off (obviously price means nothing!!). I used salted butter and washed the sides of the pot down with a wet brush. It finally cooked enough after about 30 mins!!! It is my husbands favorite. He is away at RCMP training and has been gone for almost 3 months now. I am SOOO happy to be able to surprise him with a package containing his favorite treat! THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN!
For those of you getting grainy toffee, your sugar is crystalizing. What you should do is leave the mixture, stir only a few times and then with a clean pastry brush and cold water, wash down the sides of the pot.If not the sugar left on the side crystalize and in turn ruin your toffee.
Also if the chocolate is getting white streaks its called fat bloom. Normally it means the chocolate is not tempered. Just try stirring it better.
This is a super recipe. I Just followed the instructions and it came out perfect. I’ve never made candy before. You’ll notice when the mixture turns into like a blob (crackle stage) you’re almost there,follow recipe.
If butter seperates, You can try:
1. Pull it off heat,
2. At a bit hot water to the mixture,
3. Put it back on heat, and stir stir stir, it will come back together eventually.
For those who do not have a good quality heavy bottomed pan, you can try what I do when making candies. I use a good pan (though not heavy enough for candy making), and put it on top of a large cast iron frying pan or on a cast iron skillet. I have not scorched candy yet doing this. This method works for anything that needs a heavy bottomed pan, like recipes where you have to boil milk without scorching it. I have not tried this recipe, but I love almond roca and will try it soon.
I followed the recipe carefully. I never saw an amber color because the syrup bubbled too much. When I took it off the heat after about 13 minutes, it separated as if the butter clarified. I used a candy thermometer and it registered 290. Any suggestions?
Success! Last night’s batch of Almond Roca turned out perfect. I think heat is the key to this recipe. Previously, I cooked it on a fairly high setting on my gas range…between medium and high…and it failed three times. This time I turned it way down…between low and medium. Naturally, it took longer to reach 301 degrees…but it had much better color than when I used the higher heat setting. I also used other suggestions from here…used peanut butter to get proper color and dropped a dollop in cold water. Also, I doubled the recipe…and forgot to put in the water…and it still was perfect.
After two failed attempts at making Almond Roca, it finally worked out. In the first two tries, the butter separated from the rest of the mix once it hit about 250 degrees and it was just grainy slop.
The two things I changed in my first batch were: 1 used salted butter (I used unsalted in my two previous attempts); and I also used my heaviest pot. I had been using a good pot, but not my heaviest one so I switched. I’m not sure if it was the pot or the salted butter that made a difference, or a combination of the two, but my third batch was absolutely delicious! Also, if you are at a higher elevation, it takes a lot longer than 10 minutes!
For many years, I’ve made a recipe that is similar but just butter, sugar, almonds and of course the chocolate for the top. But that was on an electric stove and this year I tried it for the first time on gas and the butter totally separated out. As per the advice above, I just kept stirring and it eventually reabsorbed and turned out OK, much to my surprise. Anyway, over the years I have discovered that cooking it in the oven actually works pretty well. A fact I discovered when I too had made a batch that didn’t set up hard but it had solidified into the setting pan too much to try to get it back into the saucepan. So, I just put it into the oven at 300 and it actually boiled right in the pan (it was like a jelly roll pan, not a cookie sheet. It had sides), turned brown and went to hard crack without any stirring necessary! After that realization, I played around with using the oven some more and found if I just mixed everything in the saucepan and then immediately poured it into the jelly roll pan and put it into the oven for a fixed time, I got consistently good results! But I think exactly what temp you set and how long to cook it for is going to be extremely dependent on your oven as they vary widely in temperature control. (I don’t trust my current oven so I haven’t tried it in there, yet so I don’t really know if I was just lucky with my other one or not). But, if you’ve botched a batch, by all means try fixing it in the oven!
Also, I too have had the chocolate chip off if I left the candy in the fridge overnight. Seems as though if the chocolate gets too cold it becomes too brittle itself and won’t stick. Best to use the fridge in moderation… I put the candy on the stone counter which cools the candy down a lot then only use the fridge until the chocolate sets (If I’m in a hurry, like making a last minute potluck item :) then take it out. Normally, if you have the time it’s easiest to just let everything set at room temp.
Is there anything you can do when you don’t cook candy (peanut brittle) long enough and it is sticky? I wondered if putting it in a oven would help.
So I was searching because I too have made a recipe for almond roca for the past forever and have never had any issues until the last 2 years where it seperated and was just all around not good. I will try the keep stirring method next but a little tip for the temp, we cook it until it is the color of peanut butter. I have watched my grandma and mom do it for years, pull the jar of peanut butter out and place it right next to the pan, when it turns that color, it is perfect. We also use the 2 cups of sugar, 1 lb of butter and almond recipe but we add a tsp. of vanilla right after it turns peanut butter color and then add the almonds after that. Thanks for the tips.
These comments make me feel better…..I am only 1 for 4 with my almond roca. (Misery loves company, I guess.) My recipe is a lil different…no Karo syrup and 2 tsp almond flavoring. My first batch was nearly perfect….maybe a lil chewy. But the next three have all flopped….with the the roca being grainy/crystalized. I used a candy thermometer…301 degrees. I’m thinking I heated it too fast. And I will use the ice water suggestion, the figure 8 technique and this recipe. I will report back.
I have been making roca for years and it turned out perfect until recently the butter separates from the mixture. Does anyone know why this is happening. I have tried lower heat, higher heat different pots, and i use pure sugar and real butter unsalted. can someone help me!!!!
Well how our almond roca worked is we did every thing right and it tasted good but it was a lil chewy but hard. What should I do next time?
I just made this recipe tonight and it turned out great! I kept checking the temperature and was nervous about burning it. However, the color change was very clear and, probably the most helpful was checking for the “hard crack” stage by dropping a little bit into a bowl of water like Rebecca (12/10/2005) suggested: “The almond roca needs to reach 300 degrees or “hard crack” stage. Even then, you need a bowl of ice cold water, drop a teaspoonful of the goop into the cold water and form it into a ball, take it out and throw it hard into your sink. If it cracks, the stuff is done.”
Thank you for your recipe for Almond Roca! I made it yesterday and it
turned out perfectly–I watched for the color change and checked with a
candy therm. I’m so excited about this recipe…Last minute/forgotten
Christmas gifts are no longer a worry! Thank you again.
I took some of it to work and once people discovered it, it was gone in about twenty minutes! Coworkers were actually taking it to other coworkers saying, “you have to try this…it’s sooo good!”
I have made toffee/roca many times over the past
several years, and here is a tip that may help: if my butter starts to separate from the sugar when it is cooking, I toss a tiny bit of baking soda into the mix…(maybe a 1/4 of a teaspoon?)..this normally helps the mixture to bind together once again (without having to
I just read ALL the above comments and tried my own version of this recipe. I cooked the sugar Karo and butter (ommitting the water) to 300 degrees, stirring in a figure eight and avoiding the sides of the pan. While the mixture was cooking I set chopped walnuts to soak in 1.5oz of Kahlua. When the toffee was ready I quickly stirred in the liquer soaked nuts. I spread the toffee in a buttered foil lined cookie sheet and topped with chocolate chips then I folded the toffee back over itself (using the foil) so that now the chocolate is marbled through out. It’s yummy. Thanks for all the suggestions.
While still warm but not brittle, try taking a cookie cutter to the mixture to make fun shapes like hearts and christmas trees!
Great site! Love your recipes!!!!
Last month I made four double batches of a very similar toffee recipe, the first batch had gooey separation and never came back together, and I feel pretty confident it was due to melting the butter too fast resulting in separation.
Nick, the humidity warning pretty much applies to most candymaking, as sugar is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs moisture from the air. For toffee this results in a less crisp toffee over time that gets chewey and sticks in your molars. I store my toffee in airtight containers between wax paper until I’m ready to enrobe in chocolate. Completely dipping in chocolate goes a long way to protecting the toffee from moisture.
Alexandra, I stir like a madman after I add the almonds and haven’t had any issues with crystallization.
Love the site, Elise!
My friend and I tried this today – with both of us begin first time candy cooks our batch of almond roca came out really well. Thanks Elise for putting this recipe up!
There’s something I meant to be asking, but I don’t see it in the comments (I may have missed it). Why shouldn’t this be attempted on humid or rainy days? It worked well for us as where we live is humid and rainy all year round.
Anyway, while making the candy we didn’t exactly cook it at med high heat at first. We started off with low heat and increased it slowly once it started boiling. Somehow, it gave us a greater control over the mixture. Hope this helps anyone out there wanting to try this out.
I made this almond roca tonight to give to my neighbors and family. It turned out great and everyone loved it! Best part was it only took me about 15 minute to make. Thanks
I was curious if the butter seperating was during the cooking process? I thought someone was saying it was when they were frosting with the chocolate.
and to amber, you can either go up and read or follow what i do… make sure to use a large pan as said in the recipe. Mix constantly while the butter is melting and first combining with the sugar, water, corn syrup (make sure to get every drop because it prevents crystalization) mixture. Also make sure that you are using quality ingredients for butter I suggest “challenge” grade AA butter with salt so it gives it a better toffee flavor, C&H Cane sugar. when it reaches the rolling boil continue to stir in a figure 8. I suggest waiting until the mixture is totally bubbling across the surface and is turning more white to add the slivered almonds… otherwise they may start to burn when getting to the warm amber color. And once the almonds are in, stir occassionaly to prevent burning but not too often because it can cause the sugar molecules to collide and start a domino effect crystalization. continue to cook until warm amber color move out onto a jellyroll type pan and place chocolate etc… same as recipe.
But I do have to say my technique was helped by reading the above posts and taking bits out that worked for me and for the area I live in (Bay Area, CA, USA).
Also I HIGHLY suggest Silpat mats. They are SO useful especially in multiple batch situations. :D I bought one tonight for my cooking purposes and I think I’m going to hurt anyone who tries to touch it… it’s my own… my precious…
I’ve tried making butter toffee several times. The first time it turned out perfect and five times after that the butter separated from the sugar and I ended up with a grainy mess. I didn’t do anything different and I feel soo frustrated, any advice?
I tried this tonight and it looked like it came out right, but when I tried a piece it took one of my crowns off! I got it to 300 degrees and it also passed the hard crack test. It set nicely and I tried it before doing the chocolate to make sure it was edible. It’s hard when you first start chewing it, but them it gets extremely chewy and sticky. Did I not cook it enough?
Any suggestions as to what I can do with it other than throw it away? I would just be too worried to serve it!
Nancy….Oops, my math failed me. I just realized that 25% more sugar isn’t what I use. I use 2 1/4 cups sugar and 2 cups (1 lb) butter….so I guess that’s 12.5% more sugar.
It shouldn’t be chewy. You need to cook it longer. When it is done…it will change consistency and it will actually start to harden on anything that is cooler…like the handle of the spoon or the sides of the pan. I don’t use a thermometer at all.
Temp should be between medium and med-high…….like 6 out of 10.
Also, you need to stir constantly…in a manner that promotes the mixing of the sugar and butter…like a figure 8 pattern. Just stirring in a circle keeps the mass of goo moving…but it doesn’t mix it together.
It is actually EASIER when it separates because when it goes completely back together it is pretty much done.
Done worry about scraping the sides…I scrape the sides and it turns out fine.
I made a batch of toffee and placed hershey bars to melt on top of the toffee while it was still hot. I let the batch cool at room temperature for about an hour and then put it in the refrigerator overnight. This morning I tried to break it apart and the chocolate would not adhere to the toffee — it separated. Anybody know what I should do differently?
Well, I think I got a reasonable batch tonight! Buoyed by Orson’s directive to ‘just keep stirring’ if the sugar and butter separated, I tried again. Little less sugar (25% more than the butter!) and no scraping the edges of the pot as I stirred moderately. It may be a little more chewy than I’d like, but at least recognizable as ‘roca’. Any last pointers to go from slightly chewy to crackly? More heat? I didn’t have to try the ‘keep stirring’ plan B.
If the butter and sugar separate….just keep stirring. Don’t stop stirring until they go back together (this will take about 10 minutes). When they go back together…your roca is done. Throw in the almonds and pour it in a pan.
Also, there are a lot of different recipes for roca (AKA: butter toffee)…….but I follow this simple guideline…25% more sugar than butter. Nothing else….just sugar and butter.
I made almond roca using the exact recipe Bree gave for years – with only very occasional ruined batches. For the past about 3 years, I haven’t been able to make 1 good batch! It sounds like I have the same problem as Michele, as the butter separates and the candy goes sugary. I’ve read around a bit (after ruining another batch today) and found that the corn syrup is not there for taste, but to keep the sugar from re-crystalizing. The big difference across recipes seems to be how much to stir and how fast to cook. I’ve always stirred a lot and done it on medium heat, but maybe I’ll try Bree’s suggestion to stir only a little. Does anyone know if the type of pot matters – i.e., coated or not? Any other pointers? I’m going to try one more batch this year before going back to chocolate chip cookies. Thanks.
Just read all the comments and found some good suggestions. My husbands Grandparents used to make trays and trays of Roca to give as gifts at Christmas. We got one Christmas to learn the family secret before they passed away. That was years ago. We only use a pound of butter, 2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups Almonds. For some reason lately the mixture seperates into the sugar and oil. Makes a real mess. We have tried different butters thinking the butter was changing but it doesn’t seem to help. We are seriously considering giving up the making of Roca as it gets very expensive to ruin 2 or 3 batches. Do you have any suggestions as to what could be causing this? It never used to seperate and was fairly easy to make. Any help would be very much appreciated by us and all the friends who might not get their Roca this year. Thank You!
I really enjoyed this recipe, My husband and I had never made candy before we tried this last year, and It came out wonderful.. So wonderful in fact, I found myself looking for the recipe all over again, since I had misplaced it.. I am super excited to have found it again!
I have been making candy for the holidays for over 10 years, and consider myself something of an expert on toffee. While the types of candy I make each year varies, I rotate new ones in and old ones old, the toffee always stays. In fact, I’m up to 3 batches because it’s so good! So I’m adding this to my repertoire for 2006. I feel I have to say, to ensure you’re going to get the proper hardness, that nice “snap”, inexperienced candy makers in particular should not fool around with listening for a “crackle” (which incidentally I never heard) or the looking for a subjective right color. This candy goes from “delicious” to “burned & ruined” in the blink of an eye, and so I cannot stress enough the importance of a candy thermometer – no professional would attempt toffee without it. You want medium low heat, keep stirring, and it must hit the 300 degree mark – and then whisk it off the stove. You can easily leave the nuts out of this recipe, when allergies are a concern and I recommend making a batch one time without the corn syrup – the difference is subtle but noticeable, and some may prefer to leave it out. Incidentally, this makes about 1 1/2 lbs. of toffee – and by the way, this is NOT a caramel, for anyone who thought it may be. It reaches the hard crack stage and has no cream. Caramels are delicious, and tricky too, but this is a fairly authentic English toffee.
We’ve been making almond roca and lately the chocolate has been separating from the toffee when we’re breaking it or cutting it up. Do you know why it’s doing this?
Just found this blog and recipe. In our family this is known as almond butter crunch and no family Christmas is complete without it. We actually have been known to use *unsweetened* chocolate to coat it, as even bittersweet was deemed too sweet by some (I find that a lot of U.S. candy recipes are considered too sweet for Canadian tastes). To coat both sides, just wait until the first side has completely dried and the toffee is well set, then turn it over (should be easy enough to do if you have buttered the pan well). You might have to reheat the second portion of chocolate to get it back to spreading consistancy.
I have found that warming the sugar slightly prior to cooking it helps to prevent it breaking. I have also started eyeballing for doneness as I had the same problem with candy thermometers that others describe here. I use a jelly roll pan (with sides) to prevent toffee creep.
Elise, I really have enjoyed visiting your blog, and plan to check out more of your recipes.
I tried your recipe and also cut it in half and used a a small saucepan. Everything turned out great and surprised me since it was my first time, but I had learned to carmelized sugar for flan before so maybe that’s why things went smoothly.
It tasted just as expected, but is there anything I can do to keep the toffee side from being so oily/greasy? I used one stick of organic butter, so I’m wondering if that was too much. It didn’t turn out as dry as the packaged ones. Also, I just remembered I didn’t use the corn syrup, so might that have been a factor?
I’m gonna try it again since I bought the Karo syrup, but your feedback would be great! This is also first time I’ve seen your site, and look forward to trying many more of your recipes posted. I’m still very new to cooking, baking, etc… so this candy making recipe was soooooo fun =)
The first time I used this recipe I cut it in half and it turned out perfect;however, the next time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly and it didn’t come out like the first batch. Then I tried it again and it still didn’t turn out, so I went back to cutting the recipe in half and it turned out perfect. My husband loved it, and said just to make it the way I did the first time. Also, the half batch I can spread it pretty thin so my children can eat it. So, for those of you having problems with this recipe try it this way. Cut everything in half except for the almonds. I used the small pack of whole almonds (2/3c.), and I had my 3 year old son take a meat tenderizer hammer and smash the package until all the almonds were crushed. He had fun doing it, and the pieces came out just the right size for him to eat.
Matt, thanks for the information about not putting corn syrup. I have always wondered how the candy will turn out without corn syrup. The grease was not caused by the lack of corn syrup. I had the same result with corn syrup.
Completely forgot to put in the corn syrup and yet it still turned out completely delicious! The dark chocolate on top was a perfect compliment to the flavor of the roca/toffee.
I did the whole “guage your thermometer” thing and luckily my mercury candy thermometer from target was right on the money. Kept it at 300 degrees, just right.
There was the occasional white streak in my chocolate topping as well, I think it is separated fats from the butter rising up or something.
The one thing I was confused about was that this sort of grease like clarified butter separated from the “main goo,” the toffee stuff, but that just seemed to grease the pan. Did I do this right? Did leaving out that tablespoon of corn syrup screw things up? The stuff turned out fine and hardened nicely…yet you can crack off pieces easily as the nuts make easy break points…
Any ideas on why that grease separated?
I’ve had the best luck using my electric frying pan, setting it to 300 degrees.
I judge mine by color and leave it cooking longer than you want to, ( the 2nd batch usually turns out the best).
i made a batch, then another with salt–mmmm, much tastier. i would think the purpose of adding salt would be obvious (flavor) and it did resolve the ‘something’s not quite right…’ feeling i had about the first batch. most gourmet toffee/caramel recipes i’ve seen call for some.
by the way, the reason for the grittines or granular texture of some attempts is that sugar’s very unstable as a liquid. if you stir and happen to knock hardened bits (crystals) in from the side, you will set of a chain reaction that results in gritty caramel/toffee. it’s still good for making a sauce out of, though. add some cream/milk or water & reheat until the crystals melt.
I have been making this recipe for years but was interested to learn that using the wrong kind of sugar mattered. I have burned several batches, but finally learned that I had the heat up too high. I turn the burner on #3 and keep it there for the entire time. I put the toasted almonds on the buttered pan and pour the candy over it. Also I frost with 1/2 semi sweet chocolate and 1/2 milk chocolate (melted)and sprinkle crushed toasted almonds over chocolate.
Ana, it’s a little time-consuming but well worth the effort. Our recipe is as follows: 2 sticks butter, 1 and 1/3 c. pure cane sugar, 1 T. corn syrup and 3 T. water. Melt the butter, add the sugar, water and syrup. Stir occasionally and cook to hard crack on a good candy thermometer. Remove from heat and quickly stir in 1 c. coarsely chopped pecans. Pour on a flexible cookie sheet. Allow to cool. Ice with melted milk chocolate and sprinkle with a 1/2 c. finely chopped pecans. When the chocolate sets back up flip the candy over and repeat the chocolate and nuts. Now, to flip it — cover the candy with waxed paper and another cookie sheet. Flip it and then flex the cookie sheet so the candy will pop off. It usually breaks up a bit. You’re going to break it up anyway, broken candy tastes just as good and provides the opportunity for calorie leakage. It takes about 8-10 oz. of milk chocolate. I prefer milk chocolate for this since I ice both sides. I love dark chocolate but on both sides it would overpower the buttery toffee. I’ve had some problems with the chocolate setting back up this year. I know it’s not humidity because we’re 12″ below normal and under a fire watch. Go figure. Maybe Hershey’s has changed their formula.
I made a batch and brought it to my office. Huge hit. I’ve found that the 11 minutes is a perfect amount of time.
I am wondering how I can ice both sides of the almond roca with the chocolate, I read the commentary from Bree, but have not been able to do it.
I found it easier to look for the darkening color than the crackling noise–although it was not a dramatic color change. I also thought I could smell the nuts roasting when it was at the correct stage. Mine also got very, very thick.
I was afraid it might not harden as it said you can’t make this on a humid day–I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and October through March it’s impossible to find a day that’s not damp. Also, I have never made candy before in my life and a friend told me Almond Roca is the hardest kind to make. But it turned out absolutely perfect!
I made this tonight and it turned out pretty good but there was a very oily substance that floated off to the sides and when cooled looked and tasted like white cold lard? Did I not cook it long enough or too long it seems to be the right hardness!
Hi Angie, that sounds like cocoa butter separating from the chocolate. Did you use Hershey’s or another brand? Do not use a premium brand of chocolate for this recipe. ~Elise
This is almost identical to my recipe except I as soon as I have taken the mixture off of the heat, I add the almonds. I use a glass of cold water next to my stove and after about ten minutes of constant stirring, I keep dropping bits into the water. I just reach in the water and feel the drop. If it’s hard, it’s perfect, if it’s chewy/toffee like, it needs about five more minutes. Also, I use chocolate chips. Much easier to distribute. I make one batch with milk chocolate and one batch with dark. The key with this is to be organized. Have everything ready next to the stove, including your hot pads for under your pan as it gets very hot. You cannot stop stirring, even for a moment.
If you don’t want to rely on listening for crackling, buy a candy thermometer. The almond roca needs to reach 300 degrees or “hard crack” stage. Even then, you need a bowl of ice cold water, drop a teaspoonful of the goop into the cold water and form it into a ball, take it out and throw it hard into your sink. If it cracks, the stuff is done. I made it once and it reached 300 but I didn’t do the hard crack test and it was gooey, not hard. Tricky but when it turns out good it’s wonderful!!
I tried this yesterday and it turned out a little soft, not as crunchy as I would have liked. I know now that it was because I didn’t let it get enough color. I pulled it off the heat as it started to turn color because I was afraid to burn it. Now I know that I need to let it color more. Sometimes you need to try something once to learn what exactly to do next time. By the way…we practically ate the whole thing.
My first batch seriously failed, too. But after reading Elise’s comments on looking for a warm amber color, the second batch was fantastic. I was so amazed at how much it tasted like the almond roca they sell in those pretty pink canisters. But of course, this is coming from someone who hardly cooks anything, i.e. just water in my refrigerator.
In any case, thanks Elise for this recipe! I’m giving it away for Christmas. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I also tried this last night and Sarah took the words out of my mouth:
> I just tried to make this and I don’t know what I
> did wrong. I followed every step exactly and after
> it had only been cooking for 5 minutes or so it
> started to get really dark and produced a lot of
> smoke. I took it off the burner but it already had
> turned to black, inedible mush. What went wrong?
> Posted by: sarah at December 2, 2005 04:36 PM
Thanks for the advice, folks. Back to the drawing board. =) -j.
Hi Jennifer – the first bit of advice is don’t do double batches. The second is, make sure you are attempting this on a clear day. If it is too humid, the candy will have a hard time hardening.
I made a double batch of almond roca and it turned out sticky on the bottom I did every thing the recipe said and I even used a candy thermometer. Is there any thing I can do with it besides throw it in the garbage? Someone must have a recipe for “didn’t work out roca”
I’ve ruined a few batches, too. Be sure to use real butter. You want a 100% fat product and too many so-called margarines are actually spreads. You want a medium heat. You want a really good, heavy-bottomed pot. It took me years to find a good one. I now use the 4 qt. All-Clad and love it, love it, love it. It’s pricey, though. If you can find a heat diffuser, that will work if your pot isn’t heavy-bottomed. Also, be sure you use pure cane sugar for candy-making. If it doesn’t say pure cane on the package, it isn’t. Beet sugar is not good for candy making; it will fail. Also, only stir occasionally. I learned this the year I taught my daughter how to make this recipe. We stood at the stove and chatted and stirred and stirred and chatted. It was a strange, granular batch. We crumbled it up and added it to cookies, biscotti and ice cream.
Oh, and in response to someone wanting to add salt for a better caramel — this isn’t caramel, it’s toffee. But I don’t know what effect adding salt would have, if any. Making candy isn’t any different than making bread, jelly. a good pot roast — it takes practice and confidence.
Hi Shuna –
Candy making is much more daunting than I expected. I have ruined a couple of batches so far in my various candy making experiments. A pastry chef friend of mine has a great thick, small copper pot just for candy making and now I see why – much easier to control the temperature.
The lack of salt surprised me too, but it’s Myke’s recipe, not mine. I think I will put in a little salt the next time I make this.
I poured one batch of almond roca candy out onto a baking tray lined with Silpat and it cooled down quickly. Thanks for the note regarding cooling in the fridge!
If I had dentures I would eat Almond Roca every day!! I loved it as a child.
candy making can be daunting, it’s great that you’ve inspired so many people to try it out.
I have to say that I am very surprised that there is no salt in this recipe though. Caramel without salt is hard for me to eat, too sweet generally.
Caramel should not be put in the fridge to cool it. It’s almost as hot as lava– dangerous for you and anything that should remain cold in the fridge. Also sugar is hydroscopic, (=attracts moisture), so it gets limp and soggy in there.
Hi Bree – thanks for your advice, especially the advice on gauging the candy thermometer. I just wrecked a batch of caramels because both of the thermometers I was using were off. Particularly annoying is the CDN instaread thermometer I used; the actual probe is a full inch and a half from the tip of the thermometer, making it practically useless for candy making.
Hi Sarah – I think the temperature was probably too high. Although Myke had said put the temp on high, I’ve adjusted it now in the recipe to medium high. Make sure you are using a thick-bottomed pan, that will help the mixture heat evenly. Every stove is different – high on one is med high on another. I adjusted the recipe to note that it is hard (at least more me) to distinguish a crackling sound from regular boiling/bubbling. After overcooking one batch, I’ve gone to a visual method. Given the variability of humidity, altitude, peoples’ stoves and pans, I think the best thing to do is experiment and see what works best given your set up.
Hi Annie – thanks for the link!
I just tried to make this and I don’t know what I did wrong. I followed every step exactly and after it had only been cooking for 5 minutes or so it started to get really dark and produced a lot of smoke. I took it off the burner but it already had turned to black, inedible mush. What went wrong?
This is really close to a family recipe we call toffee. We use pecans and ice both sides with the milk chocolate. The recipe is so old it calls for a 25-cent Hershey bar which was a 1/2 lb. bar at that time. To get it really thin I use a rolling pin. It’s very rich so for me the thinner the better. Mama’s version was thicker. I roast the pecans separately to bring out their flavor and add them to the mixture when I take it off the heat when it reaches hard crack stage. To test your candy thermometer, see if it registers 212 deg in boiling water. Then adjust by adding or subtracting that amount when cooking to higher temps. And someone asked about doubling — never do that with a candy recipe. Just make more batches. This makes quickly. It’s waiting on the chocolate to reset that takes some time. And don’t make it if it’s really humid; candy is affected by temperature. This is the best candy on the planet. Enjoy!!!
Try leaving the nuts out- make the toffee- do the chocolate thing and while it is warm press sliced or ground almonds in the chocolate. Sometimes the almonds in the toffee seem to get too dark- almost burned- this also helps the pieces from sticking together ;)
FYI if you have a candy thermometer: Hard crack stage – which is what you want for this candy – is 300 degrees F.
How much does this make? I have about 8 21-26 year old guys to accomodate. I need to know if I need to double, triple or quadruple the amounts.
Hi Melissa, the recipe makes one cookie sheet full. Cookie sheets come in different sizes obviously, and the smaller ones will make a thicker roca. I haven’t weighed the output, but I would guess that you might want to make two batches of the recipe for these young men, if you want to send them home with some. If this is just a snack, a single recipe should do the trick. ~Elise
Hi Ginny, sorry, I don’t have a temperature reading for this. The best we can do is “crackling”.
Do you have a temperature reading for the crackle stage? I would love to try this with Special Dark (I think that’s the type of chocolate you mean), but I’m not very good at judging candy stages.
I make almond roca atleast once a month during any weather. Keep stirring till your candy thermometer reaches 300. perfect and works everytime.