Tuesday, December 20, 2011

English Toffee (known in my family as Almond Roca)

Someone needs to explain to me the difference between toffee and roca, because I couldn't.  Growing up, this was my signature Christmas treat.  I was the expert and I always made it for the family.  And the family loved it.  My sister would beg for me to make some, as soon as the hint of Christmas was in the air.  I don't know why it's only a Christmas treat either, but maybe because it's indulgent to eat this much sugar, butter and chocolate, and Christmas is a time to indulge.  Something about this mixture makes it impossible to eat just one piece.  Mmmmm.

It's super simple:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 T corn syrup (makes it all stick together better, but it's not necessary.  I rarely make it with corn syrup because I don't have any.)
About 1 bag of chocolate chips or four squares of baker's chocolate.
as many nuts as you'd like.  We prefer walnuts, but the recipe calls for almonds (hence the name, Almond Roca.)


Some things that are helpful to prepare ahead of time are the chopped nuts.

Here's my setup:  I prepare a pan with wax paper spread over it. I use my largest cookie sheet.  I also have a small glass of ice water next to my stove. (I'll explain why in a moment.)  Then I'm ready to get started.

Combine the sugar, butter and corn syrup in a pan and bring to a boil on low. Boil on medium stirring constantly until it turns amber colored.

This is where the ice water comes in.   Whenever you think/hope it's done, drop a few drops in the water. If, after a few seconds, those drops are crunchy, then it's done. If they're still chewy, keep stirring.

When it's done, act quickly. Spread quickly over the wax paper until it is as thin as you can get it. It will harden quickly. Then set it aside.

Melt your chocolate. I usually melt 1/2 bag of chocolate chips at a time by pouring it in a bowl and microwaving it for 30 seconds and then stirring and microwaving it 30 seconds more and then stirring until it's smooth looking. (Best not to burn your chocolate in the microwave.)

Then I can dump the whole bowl onto the toffee and spread it around until it's the desired thickness (the thicker the chocolate the better in my book.) Quickly sprinkle the nuts over it, and then put the pan into the freezer. (The more quickly to harden the chocolate.)

Once the chocolate is hard, flip the whole slab over. I do this by placing another sheet of wax paper on it and flipping. Then I melt the second 1/2 of the chocolate chips, dump them on, sprinkle with nuts, and return to the freezer.

As soon as the chocolate is hardened, break into small pieces and eat.

I made this on a date with a dentist once, and he kept going off about how bad this is for your teeth. I didn't care, because it is SO GOOD. Needless to say, we had different priorities, and the relationship ended there.



  1. So, Christmas has been in the air awhile, and I'd like to know where my Roca is, Sus!!! : ) This brings back such good memories. You do a great tutorial, but I think I'm just too lazy to do the whole melted butter-sugar-stirring-watching thing. Much easier to just beg you for some. ; )

    Oh, and way to dump the goober who can't appreciate one of the truly fine tastes in life! Sheesh!

  2. no wax paper. spread nuts and a layer of chocolate in pan and then pour toffee on top and recoat with next layer of chocolate and nuts and let harden. won't stick to pan because of bottom layer and no flipping required