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shortcut almond roca

December 14, 2008


I made more homemade candy today.   This time it was Shortcut Almond Roca from the Best of Bridge ladies. I’d term the experience a blast from the past. 

A long long time ago, when I lived in Winnipeg, I made batches and batches of this stuff for everybody’s Christmas gift one year.  I packaged them in little Tupperware containers (this was the time before the disposable Ziplock containers, so the Tupperware itself was part of the gift) and gave them out to family and friends.   I would go to people’s houses and see them reusing that little Tupperware, and it would secretly please me.   The combination of chocolate, hard crunchy candy and free plastic containers was a real winner. 

Today as I’m standing by the stove, minding that the almonds don’t burn in the oven, and the candy doesn’t get above 300 degrees, I remember how much babysitting is required to make this candy.

This is difficult for me, as I’m easily distracted by shiny baubles, blood-curling screams, or the need to get an Advil because my 15 year old will not stop playing his drums.  But no.  I have to stand there, chained to the stove, watching the candy thermometer go up and up.  Almond roca is like the risotto of the candy world.   Without the stirring.  Do not stir the almond roca.   Stand there reading the Sunday edition of the New York Times instead.  That’s what I did.

I know people scoff at the Best of Bridge ladies, but I can honestly describe their recipes as  foolproof.  Everything I’ve made from them has turned out.  Every single thing.  And while they might not be terribly modern, or seasonal, their recipes do work.  The first Best of Bridge cookbook came out 32 years ago, and I grew up with their recipes.  My mom pulled out the cookbooks when she wanted to make something different or special.  

 The ladies don’t make any pretenses about their food – their humble, ah-shucks attitude makes these cookbooks very Canadian. 

Shortcut Almond Roca
-from the Best of Bridge

1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups toasted slivered almonds
3/4 cup chocolate chips

In a heavy saucepan, gently boil syrup, sugar, butter and water until “hard crack” appears on candy thermometer, 300F. Do not stir!  This step takes at least 20 minutes.   You must stand there the whole time.  Do not move!

Remove from heat, add almonds and stir well. Spread on an ungreased cookie sheet and quickly sprinkle with chocolate chips. As they melt, spread the chocolate chips evenly over the candy.

Cool in refrigerator until hard.  Break into pieces and eat.  I mean, put into containers and give away as gifts.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Elena Bolster permalink
    March 17, 2009 11:13 pm

    Ahhh, the best of bridge, only the best cookbooks ever. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!


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