Friday, January 14, 2011

Almond Roca

We put this little bit of goodness on our Christmas Cookie plates this year.  
It's my one weakness...
Oh how I wish that were true!
I have so many weaknesses concerning chocolate that we better not even talk about them.  All I know is that when those monster size cans of Almond Roca come to Costco I am not allowed there.
It's true...I can't shop with that around.  It calls to me constantly and luckily I have ignored it for 3 years running now!!  I am so proud of myself (giving myself a pat on the back :)
One year I listened though and it was disastrous.  I think I ate the whole can in 4 days--see that's what happens when I listen to that voice--so now I can't even go there.
This year I thought since I had been good for so many years I would try making it at home, plus it makes only one pan and I planned to share it with people, so less temptation right?
It turned out fabulous and I only had one square--still making up for the whole can thing.
A note: if you have not made a lot of candy type desserts before, a candy thermometer is essential!

Note: if using unsalted butter, add 1/2 t. salt in with the sugar.

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 (3-oz.) packages slivered almonds
2 c. chocolate chips
1 (3-oz.) package sliced almonds

1.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly butter the foil and set aside.

2.  Place the slivered almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5-6 minutes, checking often, until the almonds are golden brown and toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

3.  In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and sugar and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula until the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved. Don’t rush this step! It may take up to five or six minutes for the sugar to dissolve but you don’t want the heat too high during this part of the process. Once the sugar is dissolved and butter melted, turn the heat up to medium and stir gently as the mixture comes to a boil. Again, this may take a few minutes. Once it comes to a boil, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and continue stirring gently as it cooks. The mixture will gradually turn to darker shades of brown until it reaches the hard crack stage and should register 300 degrees on your candy thermometer. As you stir during this process, don’t scrape the sides of the pan, just gently stir in a figure eight motion. This step will take awhile, be patient, it is necessary.

4.  Immediately take the roca off the stove once it hits 300 degrees and stir in the toasted, slivered almonds. Pour the candy onto the prepared baking sheet, taking care not to scrape the bottom of the pot as you pour it out. Using an offset spatula, quickly spread the toffee into an even layer on the baking sheet – it will cool quickly making it hard to spread.

5.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot toffee and tent with foil. Let the chocolate melt for 2-3 minutes, remove the tented foil and spread the chocolate chips into an even layer. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top of the roca and set the candy aside to let the chocolate set and to let the roca cool completely. (You can refrigerate it to let the chocolate set up but sometimes the quick cooling from the refrigerator can cause the chocolate to bloom – which means it develops white streaks and blotches while it cools. It doesn’t affect the taste but it doesn’t look as pretty as smooth, shiny chocolate.)

6.  Once cool and the chocolate is set, break into pieces. Enjoy--and try not to taste test every piece!

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