This is my second attempt at Almond Roca this week. My first attempt was with a recipe that looked simple. There was no candy thermometer involved. It said to boil the sugar mixture for 12 minutes exactly. Skeptical, I decided to give it a go, I like easy recipes, and felt like taking the easy way out. BIG mistake. My sugar was burnt at 10 minutes and the whole batch was tossed.
Undeterred, I searched for another recipe, resigned to the fact that a candy thermometer would be key in getting the sugar to the correct doneness. It's true what they say, the temperature of the sugar rises very slowly in the beginning, and then when it's close to being done, it goes up fast. It's critical to watch it diligently once you get to about 280 degrees F. Keep stirring, and don't take your eyes off that thermometer. Candy making tips...from me...now that's rich.
If I can do this, anyone can. Don't attempt this without a thermometer. Unless, of course, you've been doing this for a long time and are psychic and just know that precise magical time when the sugar is ready. But for the rest of regular folks, a candy thermometer is an excellent investment.
Recipe for Almond Roca(adapted from All Recipes)
1 cup whole natural almonds
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups (or thereabouts) chopped milk chocolate
Toast your almonds on a baking sheet at 350 degrees F. for approximately 15 minutes. Check them at 10 minutes, by cutting an almond in half, it should be slightly golden inside. Remove from oven, let cool, and then coarsely chop. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle chopped almonds evenly in pan. In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add sugar and stir constantly until gently boiling. Add water and corn syrup. Allow to a boil over medium heat; stirring often, until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees F (hard-crack stage). (I pulled mine off at 295 degrees). Quickly pour over almonds. Spread the sugar mixture as best you can to cover all the almonds.
Don't worry if you can't get it into all the corners. It will start to harden immediately. Sprinkle chocolate on top; let stand for 1-2 minutes or until melted.
Spread chocolate over candy.
Cool completely; break into pieces.