I have a severe weak spot for almond roca during the holiday season. I can resist fruitcake, all manner of Christmas cookies, puddings and mince pies. But when it comes to almond roca, will power abandons me. (That will be an extra hundred situps for the next two weeks, please.) My mother's friend Myke brought over a delicious batch a week ago, which lasted, um, an hour? A phone call with a rave review prompted her to bring us a second batch along with the recipe. Thanks Myke!
Note: Use an inexpensive chocolate such as Hershey's. It has low cocoa butter content. If you use a premium chocolate with a high cocoa butter content, unless you temper the chocolate first (look up directions online), the cocoa butter may separate into white streaks as the melted chocolate cools.
Do not attempt to make this on a humid or rainy day. Do not double the recipe, make one batch at a time.
FYI if you have a candy thermometer: Hard crack stage - which is what you want for this candy - is 300 degrees F.
Try leaving the nuts out- make the toffee- do the chocolate thing and while it is warm press sliced or ground almonds in the chocolate. Sometimes the almonds in the toffee seem to get too dark- almost burned- this also helps the pieces from sticking together
If you try to make this, please read all the comments listed below. It's actually trickier than one would think.
Ana, it's a little time-consuming but well worth the effort. Our recipe is as follows: 2 sticks butter, 1 and 1/3 c. pure cane sugar, 1 T. corn syrup and 3 T. water. Melt the butter, add the sugar, water and syrup. Stir occasionally and cook to hard crack on a good candy thermometer. Remove from heat and quickly stir in 1 c. coarsely chopped pecans. Pour on a flexible cookie sheet. Allow to cool. Ice with melted milk chocolate and sprinkle with a 1/2 c. finely chopped pecans. When the chocolate sets back up flip the candy over and repeat the chocolate and nuts. Now, to flip it – cover the candy with waxed paper and another cookie sheet. Flip it and then flex the cookie sheet so the candy will pop off. It usually breaks up a bit. You're going to break it up anyway, broken candy tastes just as good and provides the opportunity for calorie leakage. It takes about 8-10 oz. of milk chocolate. I prefer milk chocolate for this since I ice both sides. I love dark chocolate but on both sides it would overpower the buttery toffee. I've had some problems with the chocolate setting back up this year. I know it's not humidity because we're 12“ below normal and under a fire watch. Go figure. Maybe Hershey's has changed their formula.
Brown and Haley Almond Roca
Founded in 1914 by Harry Brown and J.C. Haley in Tacoma, Washington, the Brown and Haley Candy Company is one of the oldest confectioners in the country. In 1923 the company hit the jackpot when Harry Brown and the former cook from what would eventually become M and M/Mars, created a chocolate-coated butter candy, sprinkled with California almonds. They took the sweet to Tacoma's head librarian, and she named it Almond Roca-roca means “rock” in Spanish. In 1927 the two men decided to wrap the little candies in imported gold foil and pack them into the now-familiar pink cans to extend their shelf life threefold. In fact, because of the way the candy was packaged, it was carried by troops in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.
The Brown and Haley candy company is still housed in the former shoe factory that it has occupied since 1919. Almond Roca is so popular today that it can be found in sixty-four countries and is a market leader in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Japan. The company sells more that 5 million pounds of Almond Roca each year and is the United States leading exporter of packaged confections.
Makes 1 1/2 pounds.
Heath bar or Hershey's Skor These two candy bars are very similar, and both are composed of ingredients similar to those in Almond Roca. One obvious difference is that there are no almonds on top of these bars. To make these candy bars, simply follow the same directions for Almond Roca omitting step 9.
These recipes taste very much like the candies they clone, but you may notice right away that the finished products don't look like their corporate counterparts. This is largely due to the fact that the chocolate is only a top coating, surrounding the almond candy centers. This was done in the interest of simplicity–to make the recipes easier on the chef (that's you, right?). You could make your almond candy center first, then crack it into smaller peices and dip those into chocolate. But is is really worth the trouble?