This stuff is... just the best. Seriously. It's like crack. I can't take credit for it, the recipe comes from my mother-in-law Karen. I've made one addition, but otherwise this is hers. I asked her a couple years ago if she wouldn't mind me sharing it, but I just never ended up having the time.
Aside from the fact that it tastes amazing, the best part about this recipe is that it is EASY. SO EASY. I only make it around Christmas otherwise it would probably be the death of me. And everyone who comes over.
Homemade Almond Roca
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
2 cups sugar
a splash (1 teaspoon? 2 teaspoons? whatever suits you) of vanilla
1 large Hershey's Symphony bar, broken into pieces
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
The directions are simple and pretty straight forward:
On medium-high heat, melt butter in a pot on the stove.
When the butter is mostly melted add the sugar and vanilla.
Then you stir...and stir and stir. As it heats up it will change consistency and color
(more on that below) but you keep stirring until it turns a nice toffee brown.
Pour into cookie pan with raised edges (in my pictures below I used parchment paper - this is not necessary, nor is buttering the pan - I only used parchment so that I could easily lift it from the pan before breaking it up). Immediately sprinkle symphony bar and chocolate chips. Use a spatula to spread chocolate around into an even layer.
Sprinkle chopped almonds on top. Then let it cool... which takes a while.
To break it up use a sharp knife (such as a steak or paring knife) like an ice pick and it will break in to small chunks.
The recipe is truly easy, but it helps to know a few things...
You'll start out with your butter (melted), sugar and vanilla.
A wooden spoon or a heat resistant spatula are good for stirring. Careful about the spatulas - if they aren't made for high heat then they will melt in this mixture!
As you stir, and as it heats up, it will change consistency and be sort of cloudy and frothy. Just keep stirring. And make sure you are consistently scraping the sides, bottom, and corners of the pot. You really want to make sure all of that sugar stays incorporated.
It will stay frothy for a little while, but eventually you'll see the color start to change
Keep stirring! It will start to turn a nice amber toffee color
At some point the frothy-ness dies out and it goes smoother
You'll see in the picture the color I like to end it at.... you can cook it a little more or less depending on taste. Cook it longer and you'll have a much stronger flavor (too long and it can taste burnt, but you'll know if you went to far), and cook it less time and you'll have a lighter flavor.
Also, like I said, there is no need for parchment paper underneath. However if you'd feel better breaking up the candy on a cutting board then parchment is a good idea because it allows you to move it.
When you pour the candy out - just give the pan a good shake to spread it around. Sometimes I'll use a spatula, but just make sure it's one that can withstand high heat... the cheaper ones will melt with how hot this gets!
When it's time for the chocolate, don't feel you need to pre-melt it. The candy will be so hot that it will do all of your melting for you.
I usually try to get a nice even layer and spread it right up to the edges.
As you spread, bear in mind the chocolate will never be 100% smooth because the Symphony bar has chopped almonds and toffee in it already.
After you sprinkle your almonds (as you can see I prefer them chopped extremely fine), press them down with your hand a little to make sure they stick.
This last part is great if you need to get some aggression out! Just use the tip of a sharp knife to break it up, ice pick style.
And there you have it! I do have two more side notes though...
1. If you leave this out, uncovered, overnight it will change consistently slightly. Personally, I prefer to do it that way... it makes the crunch of it slightly less tooth shattering.
2. The first time I made this I was a little horrified at the thought of cleaning the pot. The leftover candy coats the sides and is rock solid. As it turns out though, fill it with super hot water and within a few minutes it will all be dissolved. Easy peasey.
I hope you enjoy this - it is seriously the best stuff ever! And it's hands down the number 2 (after my cookies, of course!) thing people request from me!