Make amazing Almond Roca for gifting this holiday season (or…..maybe not for gifting. I won’t tell!)
Okay guys. Are you ready to gain 5 pounds, or maybe 10? I hope the answer is YES! Haha! Just own it, right? I mean isn’t that what January is for anyway? To resolve to eat healthy, get a gym pass, and try to make up for all beautiful mess of candy and rich meals that started with Halloween and just keep going through the end of the year? I am so excited because we have a lot of amazing treats to share with you this Christmas season! If you only want to gain 5 pounds, instead of 10, then you need to have a game plan to give some of this stuff away, okay? Otherwise it will all disappear before you ever get it out the door. And there’s my very honest confession. Luckily, I’m due to have a baby in about 3 weeks, so I’m planning on losing about 20 pounds or so in the next few weeks! Lucky me, eh? (-Christina)
We love making cookies, candies, and just general goodies because they are just such fun gifts – something that really can’t be duplicated by prepackaged stuff. When you talk about edible Christmas Gifts, we are all game! In fact, candy making and the sorts are kind of one of our crazy passions. There’s nothing like a homemade touch on all of the treats and goodies. We’re always whipping up something from Soft Caramels, to Peppermint Marshmallows, to a nice batch of Orange Pecan Biscotti to dip into your hot drinks.
Today we are sharing with you a delicious little candy recipe for Almond Roca. This popular toffee-based treat gets eaten up like mad during the holiday season. But guess what? It usually comes with a hefty price tag. Not so with homemade! Five ingredients: butter, sugar, corn syrup, almonds, chocolate. It’s made on the cheap, but is the real deal!
Guess what else? If you think you like the packaged stuff, you’ll rave over the homemade! Fresher is better, right?
Does candy making intimidate you though? Maybe you’ve heard many a story of a crystallized mess of sugar and burnt pan bottoms. But have no fear. We’re including some tips and tricks (and pictures) to help you come out with the perfect batch! And also, this can just be a great excuse to “practice” a few times to make sure you get it down.
The hardest part about this recipe is knowing when to get the mixture out of the pan and quickly onto the sheet pan and spread out without scraping the pan. It’s absolutely crucial that you have a candy thermometer so when it hits that perfect temperature you are jumping into action. Once you get the hang of it, your eyes and nose will also be of great assistance, with the candy thermometer simply acting as the final assurance. When that happens, the only hard thing is being able to resist eating way too much!
Tips and Tricks:
Use a “heavy metal” pan. Non-stick doesn’t work so great for candy making. Heavier pots promote more uniform heat distribution and help prevent burning.
Heavy pot, wooden spoon, and candy thermometer work wonders!
Having the butter in with the sugar from the get-go helps tremendously with preventing crystallization. However, we do recommend using just a little bit of corn syrup (which is an invert sugar) that also aids with this.
Stirring in figure eight pattern is great. Caramel streaks means almost done!
Another tip to avoid crystallization or weird texture issues is that when stirring, use a figure eight pattern to simply swirl everything around. DO NOT SCRAPE SIDES OR BOTTOM OF PAN. There will be a couple ooey gooey sticky and perhaps burnt caramely spots in the pan when you’re done and that’s okay. You just don’t want that getting in the roca.
Avoid the temptation! Don’t scrape!
Have your greased cookie sheet and spreading tools ready in advance. You want to be 100% prepared when the candy hits the right temp – like, the second it hits the mark, you want to take it off the heat, add the chopped almonds, pouring that stuff out and spreading, like BAM BAM BAM! The mixture cools quickly, so there is no time to waste.
Specific Tools & Ingredients That We Use And Love:
Homemade Almond Roca
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup optional, but helps prevent crystallization
- 1 cup toasted almonds toast by placing in a pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or in the oven at 350 degrees F for 7-10 minutes, turning once halfway through. You may also buy roasted almonds., finely chopped
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate
Grease or oil a large rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
In a deep pot over low heat, combine the butter and sugar and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon 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.
During this time you want to stir the mixture gently back and forth (like a figure eight).
The mixture will gradually get darker until it reaches 300 degrees F (in the hard crack stage).
Once the mixture hits 300 degrees F, Immediately take it off the stove and stir in the finely chopped almonds.
Pour the candy onto the prepared baking sheet, taking care not to scrape the bottom of the pot as you pour it out.
Quickly spread the toffee into an even layer on the baking sheet using your spatula (or an offset spatula) – it will cool quickly which then makes it hard to spread.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot toffee, tent with tinfoil (if needed), and let it melt for 3-4 minutes. (We've gone tented and no-tented with no significant difference. It may depend on the content of cocoa in your specific chocolate though. If it's not melting all the way, tent.)
Spread chocolate evenly and top with extra chopped almonds if desired.
Allow to cool completely. This may take a few hours. (You can refrigerate it to let the chocolate set up but sometimes the quick cooling from the refrigerator can cause the chocolate to bloom. Bloom is white streaks and blotches that develop in the chocolate while it cools. It does not affect the taste but it lacks that smooth, shiny chocolate finish.)
Once cool and the chocolate is set, break into pieces.
Change it Up:
Substitute chopped toasted pecans in place of the almonds.
Want more foodie gift giving ideas for this holiday season? Here are a few more that you can check out on our blog:
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