My sister, Kitty, is getting married on December 1st. We’re all so happy for her and Bryan. They’re getting married in Jamaica which is somewhere I’ve never been so I’m really excited! It’s going to be a blast! Anyway, Kitty asked me if I could make some “homemade almond roca” to put in little bags for her giveaways. My mom used to make it once in a while when we were kids but I never made it myself. Sadly, I never got Mom’s recipe.
Well, I told Kitty I would try to see if I could make some for her wedding so I searched through my cookbook collection and ended up combining parts of different recipes to come up with this one. I made a few batches and they turned out great! I did decide I like it better with milk chocolate, but some people prefer semi-sweet chocolate because it cuts down on the sweetness of the toffee. I also thought this candy was fabulous with milk chocolate and salted almonds! However, I know that not everyone is into the salty-sweet combination like I am, so I thought it might be better to play it safe for the wedding and just use plain, unsalted almonds. The recipe is truly yummy and oh-so-addictive! I can’t wait to see what Kitty and the wedding guests think!
Anyway, I learned a few tips and tricks from all my research and practice sessions so I thought I would share them here.
- Number one – Do not make this on a humid day! Humidity really affects the outcome of this candy and instead of getting a nice crunch, you could end up with a soft, grainy, or separated concoction. Put your ingredients away when it’s raining outside and wait for a sunny day.
- Get yourself a candy thermometer. You can make this toffee without one, but a thermometer takes the guesswork out of reaching the right temperature for the hard crack stage. I’m all for making your life easier!
- The temperature in the different recipes varied widely from 260ºF to 310ºF. I found that 300ºF to 305ºF worked best for me. You’ll have to see what temperature works best for you depending on the altitude where you live and stuff like that.
If you’re not sure of the accuracy of your thermometer, you can test it by putting it in a pot of boiling water. It should reach 212ºF. If your thermometer is off by a degree or so, just adjust your recipe accordingly.
- Use a large, thick, heavy-bottomed pot to cook the candy in. As the mixture boils, it could increase to almost double in volume so you’ll want a large pot to make sure your mixture doesn’t boil over, plus it could help protect you from accidental spatters. The heavy bottom also helps prevent the sugar from burning.
- Cleaning up after making this candy is a breeze. Just fill the pot with hot water, put the thermometer and spoon in, and leave it all in the sink to soak. The sugar will dissolve after a while and you can then wash everything easily.
- Some recipes say to stir constantly while others say to cook the sugar without stirring at all! I’ve found that stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon helps keep the candy from developing hot spots in the pot and getting scorched.
- Sometimes the toffee separates. No one really seems to know why this happens. One school of thought believes that too much stirring could cause crystallization of the sugar which in turn could contribute to the toffee separating. I don’t know if any of this is true or not but I think it’s best to err on the side of caution. A gentle stirring every once in a while is really all you need to do.
- If you find a layer of excess oil from the butter floating on the surface of the toffee after you pour it into the jelly roll pan, use a paper towel to blot it off first before sprinkling the chocolate chips on top. This never happened to me, but I heard of it happening to more than one person so I thought I should mention it.
ALMOND BUTTER TOFFEE
- 2 cups butter
- 2 cups sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tbsp. light corn syrup
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup slivered almonds, chopped (optional)
- 1½ cups milk chocolate chips or 1 large bar (4.4 oz.) Hershey’s milk chocolate
- ½ cup finely chopped plain or lightly salted almonds
- Cover a 12½ x 17½ x 1-inch jelly roll pan with tin foil and lightly grease it with a little butter or margarine. If you want thicker toffee, use a smaller size pan.
- Combine butter, sugar, water, corn syrup and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil.
- Lower heat to low and continue to cook, stirring gently every once in a while, until mixture reaches the hard-crack stage (300ºF). This could take up to 30 minutes in some cases. Just be patient and don’t be tempted to raise the heat to hurry the toffee along.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and chopped slivered almonds, if using.
- Quickly pour toffee into prepared jelly roll pan and spread to edges of pan.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips over toffee and wait a couple of minutes for the heat of the toffee to start softening the chips.
- Using an offset metal spatula, spread the melting chocolate chips over the toffee to completely cover it.
- Sprinkle the finely chopped almonds over the chocolate and pat down lightly with your hands to make it stick.
- Cool completely, then cut or break into irregular-sized pieces.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. I read it may also be frozen for up to one month but have yet to try freezing it..
NOTE: If you don’t have a thermometer, you could test for doneness by dropping a bit of toffee into a bowl of cold water. It’s ready when it forms hard, brittle strands that break when bent.