Crunchy Almond Roca

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This recipe is one that goes back to my childhood Christmas memories. My mom used to make this melt-in-your-mouth almond roca every December. I remember watching her make it and thinking how bizarre it was that cooked butter and sugar would turn brown and crunchy!

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My mom’s recipe used the microwave to cook the candy, rather than the stovetop, which is kind of strange now that I think back to it! I chose to use the stovetop for my recipe since I feel you have a lot more control over the temperature that way. Plus, I have chosen not to have a microwave due to the fact that it kills healthy nutrients in our food. I am now five months clean! My mom had perfected making it in our microwave at home without a candy thermometer, but I felt more confident using the stovetop and a thermometer, so I knew exactly when it was at the hard crack stage.

Now I know some of you are probably thinking, “ugh” candy making is such a fickle process! I felt the same way until I came across some really useful websites that gave me tips on how to calibrate my thermometer and how elevation and humidity affects cooking temperatures. Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has a super helpful guide that goes into great detail about how to ensure your candy making attempt is a success! I highly recommend reading through it, then you’ll feel equipped to make some delicious almond roca 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1.5 cups of chopped, toasted almonds
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Calibrate your thermometer (here for instructions) so you know exactly what temperature your hard crack stage is. Mine was 304 degrees, but humidity and elevation can affect this.
  2. Prep your pan by greasing it with butter and then covering with parchment paper (the butter helps adhere the paper to the pan).
  3. Next roughly chop your almonds and spread one cup evenly over the parchment paper. You will be drizzling the candy mixture over the almonds later on.
  4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on low. The butter and sugar triples in size during the cooking process, so make sure to use a large pot to ensure it doesn’t boil over! However, don’t use too big of a pot that your thermometer doesn’t reach the bottom. Most thermometer’s need to be several inches in to get an accurate read.
  5. Add the sugar, vanilla and water and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved completely. This takes 3-5 minutes. Also use a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon to stir. You don’t want melted plastic in your candy!
  6. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat to just above medium. Pretty soon the mixture will begin to boil. Now it’s time to clip on the candy thermometer and watch the mixture start to change. At this point, only stir every few minutes. You don’t want to over stir, but if you begin noticing the edges looking very brown and the center still a yellowish color, you’ll want to stir a bit to even out the cooking.
  7. First, it will start to thicken and resemble the consistency of melted cheese. It will have a light yellow-brown color – keep going!
  8. Next, it will begin to darken and become smoother with a caramel color – keep going!
  9. Lastly, it will begin to deepen in color and be a rich, dark brown color. At this point you know it’s very close! Watch the thermometer closely until it gets to that magic number. Somewhere between 300 and 305 degrees depending on your thermometer.
  10. Quickly, take the pot off the stove and pour mixture into the pan, over the chopped almonds. You can use the back of a metal spoon to help even out the mixture throughout the pan.
  11. Next, take the chocolate chips and sprinkle them over the hot candy. As the chips melt, spread the chocolate evenly over the candy with a metal spoon.
  12. Once the chocolate is completely melted and spread out evenly, sprinkle the remaining chopped almonds over the chocolate. Place the pan in the freezer until the chocolate is hard, about an hour.
  13. Once the candy has hardened, take a large knife and break apart the candy into bite size pieces. You’ll just need to press the tip of the knife into the candy and it’ll easily break apart. You don’t need to actually cut into it like brownies or cake! Voila! You know have delicious almond roca to share with friends and family 🙂
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