Thursday, November 30, 2006

Vindication

Isn't that a nice word? Vindication. Loyal readers may remember last year and my insane candy-making experiences. Specifically, Anna's Almond Roca. My beloved almond toffee gave me headache after headache last year, leading to a complete reliance on chocolate to round out my goodie platters. You can read about the adventures starting here, and then here, and here again. Not anymore. Today I am the proud owner of a delightful batch of Almond Roca.

What did I do differently? Nothing. I used a new thermometer that I know is accurate, and it worked like a charm, along with keeping the stove at a medium heat instead of creeping it up higher. I also halved the recipe, and I really think I like it better that way. It allows me to use the same half-sheet pan and get a thinner toffee. I also lined my pan with Reynold's Release Foil, and once again, I cannot praise that product enough. The roca comes right off the foil-without needing to use added butter or spray to the foil. This Christmas Goodie Season brought to you by Reynold's Release Foil. If you haven't tried it- you're missing out.

Here is the recipe I used, created by Anna from Cookie Madness.

Anna's Almond Roca

2 Cups Sugar
1 Pound Butter -- (4 sticks)
1 Cup Water
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Cups Almonds -- the "shaved" kind
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 bag milk chocolate chips

Reserve 1 cup of the almonds and set aside. Mix sugar, butter, water, and salt in large, heavy saucepan and heat to boiling over medium to medium high heat. Make sure there's room in the saucepan for the mixture to foam up and boil. Heat mixture over medium to medium high until it foams and reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (don't stir).

When temp reaches 240, stir in 2 cups of almonds. Stir mixture constantly and watch temp carefully until temp reaches 290.

Remove from heat, stir in soda and QUICKLY pour onto a cookie sheet covered with Reynold's Release Aluminum Foil.

Mixture should start to harden immediately. As mixture hardens, sprinkle chocolate chunks over hardening mixture and spread the chocolate chunks around until they melt. Sprinkle melted chocolate with reserved almonds. Let sit until toffee hardens and chocolate sets.

7 comments:

Claire said...

Hmmm...I thought this looked good too! My mom has a great toffee recipe that we always do. I may have to go buy a candy thermometer so that I can make some for my goodie tins!

the rachel said...

mmmm...i'm sure daddy will be happy!!

Erika said...

Daddy? I'm surprised Mom hasn't been knocking down the door yet...

Andy said...

what brand of thermometer are you using?

Erika said...

Hey Andy! I'm using the Taylor Candy/Deep fry thermometer. I bought it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but I know LNT and Target both carry it as well. I have one in my Shopcast too- I think it's the top one right now.

Brian said...

Congrats on the success this year. The baking soda in the recipe has me totally baffled. Any idea what it is supposed to be doing that late in the game? Interesting.

I don't like the taylor thermometer as much for candies as I think it sits to close too the side of the pot. When I get close to the final temperature I start using the thermometer as a stirring utensil so I can really get a good feel for the temperature.

I hear some of the new digital thermometers are decent. I bought once recently (recommended by America's Test Kitchek/Cook's Illustrated) that clips on the side (but suspends the probe about half-inch from edge) and will see what I think while using my old-school cage thermometer which I think looks kind of medieval.

Erika said...

Brian, I'm not 100% on the baking soda and what it does, but I do believe it adds to the texture and crispness of the final product. It does cause some kind of chemical reaction- you can see it when you stir it in.