Sunday, December 26, 2010

Almond Roca...or Homemade Heath Bars

It's the day after Christmas - Happy Boxing Day to my Canadian friends. Remember, only 364 shopping days left until Christmas! I swear this year I am going to start shopping early - putting things away for next year so that maybe, just maybe, I don't have to do any big shopping trips in December. I might have to set a few "reminders" in my phone calendar just to make sure I do this. We'll see :)

It has been snowing since Friday night. Nate took this picture of the backyard from his bedroom window this morning. He doesn't know that I know he is up, but when he posts a picture on facebook, he forgets I can see that, lol. Not much accumulation in Pleasant View, Tennessee. You can still see a little bit of the tips of the grass in some places. In others it seems like there are four inches on the ground. Not much compared to the foot of snow predicted for my sister Marcy in Brooklyn, but it's enough to make the roads slippery and keep us home for now. We did have a lovely day yesterday. Spent it with David's sister and family in Nashville. Sandy lives there with her husband David and their son Matthew. Their son Daniel and his wife Christina came in from Washington, DC and his sister Karen and her family drove in from South Carolina, so we had a nice big crew - ate lasagna, manicotti, alfredo, zucchini and a HUGE antipasto platter that Ali, Kami and I put together with all kinds of goodies on it along with a homemade pomegranate-red wine vinegar dressing. Of course there were sweets of all kinds sitting around. No one went to bed hungry... except maybe Kami who decided she needed to eat at 10:00 last night and apparently we had NOTHING in the house to eat! Whatever!

I learned this candy recipe from a friend, Sandi, in Seattle. I love it because it does not require a candy thermometer. I have gone through several, but they are glass and for some reason they keep breaking in the utensil drawer - perhaps it needs to be organized better? Anyway, this recipe is timed and it works every time. If you like Heath or Skor bars, toffee of any kind or Almond Roca, you will love this recipe. Use a big pot and wear oven mitts on both hands and long sleeves because the sugar does pop a bit and sugar burns are some of the worst! It is easy and I save the little crumbly bits to put on ice cream - It keeps forever in the freezer, if it last that long.

Almond Roca

1/2 lb. almonds, blanced and split (slivered not sliced)
4 T water
2 C butter (not margerine!)
2 1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 C milk chocolate chips (I do use semi-sweet sometimes)
ground pecans or walnuts (your choice)

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat butter until bubbly, but not brown. Add sugar, water and almonds. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly for 9 minutes (yes, your arm will get a bit tired). Set a timer!! Pour it quickly onto a buttered sheet pan and cool well. Melt half of the chocolate chips and spread over one side. You can also have the oven warm, sprinkle the chips on and pop the pan in the over for just a couple of minutes to warm the chocolate chips and then spread them - just keep a close eye on it. That way you don't burn the chocolate in the microwave. While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle with ground nuts and press them in gently. Allow to harden (I pop it in the fridge), the flip it over and repeat with the chocolate and nuts on the other side. When it is hard, chop it into pieces. You can do this on one large (1/2 sheet pan size) or 2 smaller ones.


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