Thursday, December 12, 2013

Candy Countdown - Almond Roca

Almond Roca, otherwise known as English Toffee, also brings back a lot of memories. I don't know if it was his favorite candy or not, but I associate the pink container of Almond Roca with my dad. He seemed to get one everyone, and I certainly felt special when he offered to share it with me. We also had one dear friend many years ago who would bring us homemade English Toffee each December. That was near the top of the list of things I missed when we moved to Florida.

So, for the past ten years or so I've been on a quest to try making it myself. Usually my attempts are failures, even if the candy is still edible. (For example, see here.) However, a couple of years ago someone posted a tutorial which we tried. Apparently it worked that first year, although I don't have a record of it. But I tried it again this year, and have made four successful batches of toffee. I think I can stop looking for a recipe now. And I hope I didn't just jinx myself, because this is what Wayne wants to take to his co-workers this year!

Homemade Almond Roca

1 cup butter
1 rounded cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons finely chopped almonds

Line a 9x13" pan with foil and butter (or Pam) it. Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed 4-quart saucepan. Add the sugar and water and cook on medium-high until it reaches the toffee stage.** Stir in the sliced almonds and pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let sit for a few minutes to melt. Then spread chocolate with a spatula and sprinkle with remaining chopped almonds. Cool until hardened. Remove from pan and break into pieces.

**Isn't that a helpful instruction? Here's where you need to go to the tutorial. It outlines the three stages the candy goes through - runny and buttery, "cheesy", and runny and gold caramel colored.
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Almond Roca. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats, recipe submitted by TK member mdatwell. Tasty Kitchen Blog: Almond Roca. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats, recipe submitted by TK member mdatwell.
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Almond Roca. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats, recipe submitted by TK member mdatwell. Tasty Kitchen Blog: Almond Roca. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats, recipe submitted by TK member mdatwell.
I've never had success using a candy thermometer, so this works for me. On two of my recent batches at the same second I decided it had reached the "caramel" stage, I smelled sugar burning, and I figured that was a good clue to take it off the stove. I also gradually lowered the heat as it was boiling away (total time about 15 minutes). I have an electric smooth top stove that seems to be on the high side as far as temperature goes, and it also retains heat well, so this seems to work. It does take some experimentation, but you can do it!

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