Almond roca is easier to make than you might think. A layer of almonds in caramel, covered with milk chocolate and more crushed almonds makes an elegant after-dinner sweet or a lovely little gift for someone special.
This recipe can be doubled without any extra effort — just make sure you use a large enough pot.—John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg
Almond Roca FAQs
You do, in fact. Corn syrup guarantees a smooth texture and helps to avoid that crystallization that sometimes happens when you cook sugar to a high temperature. Candy making is the one place where you shouldn’t make a swap for corn syrup.
Most often, this happens because of rapid temperature changes. Don’t be in a rush to melt that sugar—using high heat will just cause problems. As well, make sure to use a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Something with a thin bottom won’t conduct heat as well, leading to hot spots. If you notice the roca separating while still in the pan, just remove it from the heat and swirl it around until it’s combined again. If it separates once it’s been poured out, there’s not much you can do. Blot the oil and if it’s super hard, break it into pieces and use it in baking instead.
For a perfect holiday treat, break this roca into big irregular pieces and pack them into gift tins, or store in your freezer. Fair warning: Even frozen, the roca is pretty hard to resist.
Lightly butter a 17-by-12-by-1-inch baking sheet (half sheet pan), and line with parchment paper to cover the bottom and all sides. (The butter will anchor the parchment to the pan.)
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, water, lemon juice, and corn syrup and bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture boils, stop stirring. Brush down any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water.
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and cook for 15 minutes, or until the mixture reaches 300°F (150°C). If the mixture threatens to boil over, lower the heat as necessary. (If the liquid is too shallow for the thermometer to measure the temperature, tilt the pot to get an accurate reading.) Resist the temptation to stir; if the caramel is not coloring evenly, swirl the pan from time to time.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 2 cups of the almonds. Quickly spread the caramel in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely. Spread the chocolate over the top of the caramel, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups almonds. Let the chocolate harden at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Break the roca into irregular pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for longer storage.
Serving: 1servingCalories: 204kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 19g (6%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 7g (44%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mg (7%)Sodium: 3mgPotassium: 78mg (2%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 17g (19%)Vitamin A: 252IU (5%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 26mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
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Originally published April 27, 2005.