Almond Roca

I know that some of you are candy making experts (and I’m jealous!). And others of you are probably nervous about (or completely disregarding) this recipe because it uses a candy thermometer. I get it, I really do! Candy making is a lot of trial and error and sometimes even the most expert candy makers have failed batches of candy. I am far from an expert candy maker but I’ve been experimenting more and more with candy recipes, and let me tell you…it’s fun! And talk about feeling like a rock star in your kitchen.

Because I want you to have fun, too, I want to first help you become one with your candy thermometer. An entirely new world of confections and delicacies will be open to you! So first, check out this tutorial on calibrating your candy thermometer (and it also includes tips on what kind of candy thermometer to buy). Your success in using a candy thermometer lies mostly in knowing if it reads high, low or right on. Second, be willing to practice. If your first try is say, less than a stellar success, don’t give up! And third, follow those recipes exactly – now is not the time to be channeling your inner Emeril and throwing in a bam! here and there.

Almond Roca

Now on to the roca…

I’ve been making this recipe for years and while you may question my self-control when it comes to treats (rude!) based on declarations of love I’ve professed for other goodies on this site, I can honestly say most things I can walk away from after about 20 taste tests. Not this, my friends, not this. It is so delicious. And so hard to stop eating. Toasted almonds are smothered in buttery, crunchy toffee, and gloriously drenched in chocolate while still having a layer of slivered almonds atop all the other caloric goodness.

I promise that this recipe is so delicious that it alone can transform you into a confectionery rock star. Because, really, isn’t that what you’ve always wanted to be (or wait, maybe that’s just me…)?

P.S. See below the recipe for step-by-step photos and troubleshooting tips.

Click on the Sugar Rush button to the right to see all the Sugar Rush recipes so far!

One Year Ago: Coconut Macadamia Nut Triangles
Two Years Ago: Holiday Morning Buns

Almond Roca

Almond Roca

Note: if using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt in with the sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 (3-oz.) packages slivered almonds
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 (3-oz.) package sliced almonds

Directions

  1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly butter the foil and set aside.
  2. Place the slivered almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 300 degrees for about 5-6 minutes, checking often, until the almonds are golden brown and toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and sugar and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula until the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved. Don’t rush this step! It may take up to five or six minutes for the sugar to dissolve but you don’t want the heat too high during this part of the process. Once the sugar is dissolved and butter melted, turn the heat up to medium and stir gently as the mixture comes to a boil. Again, this may take a few minutes. Once it comes to a boil, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and continue stirring gently as it cooks. The mixture will gradually turn to darker shades of brown until it reaches the hard crack stage and should register 300 degrees on your candy thermometer. As you stir during this process, don’t scrape the sides of the pan, just gently stir in a figure eight motion.
  4. Immediately take the roca off the stove once it hits 300 degrees and stir in the toasted, slivered almonds. Pour the candy onto the prepared baking sheet, taking care not to scrape the bottom of the pot as you pour it out. Using an offset spatula, quickly spread the toffee into an even layer on the baking sheet – it will cool quickly making it hard to spread.
  5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot toffee and tent with foil. Let the chocolate melt for 2-3 minutes, remove the tented foil and spread the chocolate chips into an even layer. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top of the roca and set the candy aside to let the chocolate set and to let the roca cool completely. (You can refrigerate it to let the chocolate set up but sometimes the quick cooling from the refrigerator can cause the chocolate to bloom – which means it develops white streaks and blotches while it cools. It doesn’t affect the taste but it doesn’t look as pretty as smooth, shiny chocolate.)
  6. Once cool and the chocolate is set, break into pieces.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/almond-roca-sugar-rush-4/

Troubleshooting?
-While cooking my toffee, the butter seemed to  separate from the toffee forming a greasy, buttery layer? Why does this happen and what should I do?

Oftentimes caramel and toffee can separate and form a layer of butter on top of the boiling mixture (or even when it is poured out on the pan). This can be caused because of a sudden shift in temperature. Be careful not to crank the heat up or down during cooking. Keep it at a steady medium-low or medium temperature. I’ve heard that if it separates while boiling you can stir vigorously until it is combined again or even try adding a pinch of baking soda to the mixture and stir until it is cohesive. If after pouring it out on the pan, you notice a layer of butter on top of the toffee, you can blot the butter up with paper towels and proceed with the recipe.

-Why did my roca/toffee turn to sugar and/or crystallize?

I’ve had this happen and it is very annoying! During the cooking stage while the candy is getting to the hard crack stage (300 degrees), sugar can cling to the sides of the pot. This sugar cooks on the sides of the pot and crystallizes there. As you stir, if you keep scraping the sides of the pan, bringing this crystallized sugar back into the boiling mixture, it can turn the entire batch of toffee to sugar, meaning it will be grainy, coarse and gritty. Take care as you stir not to scrape the sides of the pan. You don’t want to clean the sides of the pan, you simply want to stir and scrape the bottom of the pot gently to avoid scorching. Also, as you pour the toffee onto the prepared baking sheet, don’t scrape the sides and bottom to get every last bit of roca. Pour it out onto the sheet and leave the crystallized sugars behind in the pot.

Step-by-step Pictures:

Buttered pan ready for the addictive toffee.

I toasted my almonds and set them aside on a plate once they were cool so I could have them ready to pour into the hot toffee.

Place the butter in the pan and heat on medium-low.

Add the sugar and stir to combine.

This may take a few minutes but don’t crank up the heat. You want to wait until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved.

It’s going to start bubbling.

Clip your thermometer on the pot once the toffee comes to a boil. Remember to follow the package instructions for how far the tip of the thermometer should be in the liquid (usually 1- to 2-inches).

Keep stirring and cooking.

The mixture is going to turn golden.

And then get even darker.

Stir in the almonds and turn out the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet, remembering not to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot while pouring it out.

Quickly spread the roca into an even layer. It will start to harden pretty fast.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Tent with foil to help those chocolate babies melt.

See how they get all melty-looking and delicious?

Spread out the chocolate and try not to lick the spatula.

Then sprinkle the sliced almonds on top and let the toffee cool and set up.

45 Responses to Almond Roca

  1. Mel, this is a beautiful holiday idea. The step by step pics make it so easy!

  2. Kim in MD says:

    This looks like some yummy candy, Mel! I love the tutorial!

  3. CaSaundra says:

    Love the sugar rush series! Can never have enough sugar this time of year! haha

  4. briarrose says:

    Yummy…looks wonderful. Love the pics as the syrup is heating up…sometimes a picture helps when you are toying with candy making.

  5. nicole says:

    these are wonderful I love the step by step tutorial and q & a part. very informative. Love it!

  6. You make it look so easy! I used my candy thermometer for the first time last week. I was intimidated. But it turned out ok :)

  7. Sara says:

    My father in law loves Almond Roca! I bet he’d love if I made this next time he visits.

  8. [...] Almond Roca {Sugar Rush #4}. [...]

  9. Ash says:

    Mel… Could you give us some pretty packaging ideas. For if we’re gonna make these a Christmas present.

  10. Lorie Hainsworth says:

    Why are you doing this to me?!?! I’m trying NOT to gain weight during the holidays, but Almond Roca is my FAVORITE. How could you Mel, how? Thanks for the packaging ideas, but mine will never make it to a package.

  11. ali says:

    yummm, this seems like the kind of rich chocolatey sugary treat that is needed at this time of year – perfect with a nice glass of wine and a movie!

  12. Azuah says:

    I think to lessen the risk of the toffee crystalizing, don’t stir the mixture after the sugar has completely melted. Agitating it while it’s cooking is what helps it crystalize. Also it would be best to have a brush and a small bowl of water and brush the sides of the pan down if you see any crystallization happening on the sides of the pan.

    :) This sounds sooo good, my grandparents will love that I MADE them Almond Roca instead of buying it. Thanks!!!

    • Mel says:

      Azuh – you are right, it is the agitation of the sugar that causes crystallization but the candy-making world is mixed on whether or not toffee should be stirred constantly or not. I prefer stirring mine to prevent scorching, since my pans aren’t as heavy-duty as they should be. Stirring slowly without being too vigorous helps with the crystallization issue. Thanks for chimin gin!

  13. I got this recipe off of your blog years ago when I was looking for an easy-to-make English Toffee recipe. The almond roca bars are terrific; I often omit the step of sprinkling almonds on top of the chocolate. I went to Trader Joe’s recently to buy some of their new chocolate disks (which are a must try, p.s.) and I saw a version of these that used crushed pistachios instead of almonds…interesting possibility!

    Thanks for the recipes. I’m making last year’s white chocolate chip gingerbread bars later tonight to go with (or before) your gourmet salad recipe.

  14. Leisel says:

    You and I are two peas in a pod! This is some of my most favorite stuff ever during the christmas season. This and eggnog are my two holiday favorites! Got a good recipe for that? No. wait. don’t tell me. I don’t need any more holiday pounds!

  15. Tiffany says:

    Yum! Sorry this is a stupid question. What size is your pan?

  16. Kelli says:

    My husband LOVES the store bough Almond Roca. It has become tradition for me to buy some to put in his stocking each Christmas, but I bet this is even better! I don’t have much experience making candy, but this has motivated me to try!

  17. grace says:

    it’s the idea of eating addictive things like this that gives me the courage to break out my candy thermometer. it’s totally worth it, because even if you fail, chances are good that the results are still yummy. :)

  18. This is my mom’s favorite candy. I am going to make this for her :)

  19. almond roca reminds me of my childhood. my favorite aunt used o keep a jar of them on her coffee table. after I kissed and hugged her, i went straight for the little glass jar. thanks for bringing back a wonderful memory!

  20. TaLaisa says:

    Love almond roca! This is one of our favorite holiday treats to make. I’ve also made it with toasted pecans. (DELISH!)

    To help with separating issues, if you notice the thick layer of butter floating on the top you can stir in a 1/2 cup of hot water, it will slack back the batch and make the finished toffee slightly darker because the sugars caramelize while the extra water cooks out. This trick can save the batch. Because the vigorous stirring can make it sugar more easily and blotting works okay, toffee needs the fat to be evenly distributed to give it the best texture and flavor.

    Corn syrup is really good at helping with the sugar stabilizing needed to keep it from crystallizing. I’ve found one good recipe that does call for a tablespoon of corn syrup. If it crystallizes don’t give up, just look for a recipe that includes corn syrup.

  21. [...] Almond Roca recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe [...]

  22. michelle says:

    Hi there I have recently been making toffee but cook it at 285 and my recipe says not to stir. What does the stirring do? Thank you.

  23. Debbie says:

    I am new to the Food website. I have really enjoyed your website and recipes and was particularly interested in the article about Calibrating a Candy Thermometer. I just stay away from making candy because of those darn things. When I clicked on the link for boiling point/elevations, it takes me to a link for theengineeringtoolbox.com, which is for all sorts of ads. I feel kind of foolish for asking. . . but are there any updates on this or am I just not clicking in the right spot?

  24. Pauline says:

    Mel…..do you use milk chocolate chips in this or semi-sweet? Thank you!

  25. [...] I will be making two family favorites, Thumbprint Cookies (with homemade raspberry jam) and Almond Roca! My husband also LOVES cookies, all cookies, anytime. I think cookies at a wedding can be great for [...]

  26. Alyssa says:

    Mel!
    I am a first time candy maker, or anything that needs a thermomiter actually… I tried this recipe to make some for my mom as a surprise (her favorite candy). I followed every step exactly yet mine didnt ever darken, it stayed the same light color and seemed to almost start becoming a big clump (not sure if that part is normal). The thermometer is brand new so I sure hope its working right… Could it have possibly been the brand of butter I used??
    Thanks a bunch!!!

  27. Alyssa says:

    me again! I tried it a second time and with a few changes I think I may have succeeded! I’ll find out when it cools! :)

    practice…practice…practice i guess!!

  28. Alyssa says:

    Hi Mel!
    yes!! the second time worked like a charm! It was very exciting and very delicious! My mom loved it so much, she said it was better then anywhere else she has ever had it. She even took it to work and all the girls there want some as well as my husband was addicted to it and he doesnt usually care for sweet stuff.
    Thank you so much for getting back to me and thank you bunches for the recipe!
    I love your site!
    Alyssa

  29. Barbara says:

    I make a recipe called almond brickle that is similar to this; it uses brown sugar instead of white sugar and also includes a teaspoon of vanilla. I think the brown sugar version tastes more like Almond Roca and the white sugar version is tastes more like Heath Toffee.

  30. Kayli says:

    So I made some English toffee today, and it turned out beautiful (and delicious), but I am having a hard time cutting it/breaking it without the chocolate on top coming off completely and/or not matching up with the bottom. Is there a trick you use to help with that? Thanks!

  31. Mel says:

    Kayli – I have that problem sometimes, too. I try to cut it when it isn’t super cold. If it is at room temperature, the chocolate seems to stay on the toffee a bit better.

  32. Kayli says:

    Thanks for always responding!

  33. dena says:

    I found your recipe through a search, looked and fell in love with it. Then noticed it was yours. Of course…virtually every recipe you post turns out great! Thanks!

  34. Ann says:

    I know you’ve had this recipe posted for a long time, but I still have to comment on it. I made some really “fancy” chocolate baskets for some gifts this year and I decided to try your almond roca recipe for them. It is AMAZING. So simple and so good. It has been the most requested recipe of everything I made. I have so much success with all of your recipes. Thank you!!

  35. Jenelle says:

    WOW!!! This was pretty darn easy (even though I was a little nervous to make my first candy thermo attempt…the day of a party). AMAZINGLY delicious and yes you’re correct in stating ‘you cannot walk away’…I have self-control issues. ;) but I didn’t feel alone when I took it to the party and came home with 2 pieces left!!!! DELICIOUS! THANKS!!!! MAking it again today for our treat bags…

  36. Vats Krish says:

    Hey Mel!

    Amazing recipe! And so easy to make as well. I surprised my wife with it and she was thrilled :) thanks for that! But we found the toffee bottom layer a bit bitter. Maybe I burnt it or did not use enough sugar? Hoping you can guide me here…!

  37. First time to have stumbled upon your site and I am super thrilled! All the candy recipes! I do have a question. In one of the steps above, you wrote “Stir in the almonds and turn out the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet, remembering not to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot while pouring it out.”
    Why did you say not to scrape the sides of the pot? Is the toffee scorched on the bottom and sides?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Karrie – sometimes if you scrape the sides and bottom of the pot, it dredges up the hot sugar particles that can make the roca crystallize so anytime I make caramels or toffee or roca like this, I pour out the pan but never, ever scrape. Hope that helps!

  38. Thank you for your reply, Mel. I’m curious if this is what happened to me the last time I made toffee brittle. I never knew. Now I know. Thank you.

  39. Diane says:

    So I just made this and the toffee mixture reached 300 degrees before it was even close to being as dark as yours in the picture. I took it off the heat, hoping it still worked… Is that normal, or maybe my thermometer is off or I had it positioned wrong??

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