Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

My Nana’s Almond Roca Recipe

Share the love

Addicting homemade candy, my Nana’s Almond Roca Recipe is the perfect holiday treat. Whip up a batch of this easy candy for the best homemade gift.

a white dish full of a homemade almond roca recipe


My paternal grandparents were snowbirds. They left rainy Seattle each October and wintered in Palm Desert, returning in May. Each year in the final three weeks before Christmas, our family would stalk the front porch for a UPS delivery. We were alert for a repurposed random household box that contained the ultimate in holiday goodness – Nana’s Almond Roca.

Nana would craft this family delicacy in their small mobile home at the “old people farm” in the desert and ship it off around the country. The box would be opened and the candy would quickly be claimed and squirreled away in various hiding places around the house.

The only thing better than eating fresh Almond Roca right from the box is finding a small bag of it stuffed behind the Boxcar Children and Babysitters Club series on your bookshelf in June.

almond roca with chocolate chips on top

When my grandma passed away in 1995, the Almond Roca tradition came to an end. In the mid-2000’s, it became unsafe for my grandpa to live alone. My aunt and uncle moved up from California to live with him and keep him safe in his final years. During that transition phase, my newly retired aunt Connie found herself with extra time for cooking and baking.

As she explored and experimented, she came across Nana’s recipe box. Recipe box is a loose term because Nana was the original “dump” cook of the family. She taught me the art of adding a little of this and a pinch of that and measuring almost nothing.

almond roca (toffee) with chocolate chips being spread by a knife

My aunt even found the famous Almond Roca recipe card. Like anything Nana made, the ingredients and directions were vague. Connie researched and attempted many different variations before she finally was able to replicate the family ‘roca.

an old hand-written recipe for almond roca

As kids have been added to the family, the adults got together and decided to only give the children birthday and Christmas gifts. We included a caveat in that rule to allow for homemade items to be gifted amongst the adults. No one particularly felt a burning need to make things…but we all wanted a tin of Connie’s Almond Roca. Consider us candy motivated.

almond roca on a baking sheet with a hand sprinkling blanched almonds

With Connie’s help, I finally wrote out the recipe in detail (no more giant holes where you have to guess what to do) to save for future generations. From our family to yours, may this recipe incite package looting, the squirreling of candy in nooks around the house, and warm memories for years to come.

homemade almond roca on a gray cloth

Helpful Almond Roca Recipe Supply List

a canning jar full of homemade almond roca

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

5 from 3 votes
Nana's Almond Roca
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
50 mins

My Nana's Almond Roca is a family tradition that we look forward to every year. Start your own tradition and gift this Almond Roca to those you love.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: almond roca
Servings: 30
Calories: 261 kcal
Blanching Almonds
  1. Place almonds in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the almonds. Let sit for 45-60 seconds.

  2. Drain the almonds, rinse in cold water, and allow to drain again. Cool enough to handle.

  3. Pinch the almond between thumb and forefinger and gently squeeze to remove the skin.  Repeat until all almonds are peeled.

  4. Microwave the almonds for 10 seconds and then split using a sharp knife. Line a baking sheet with a tea towel. Spread the almonds on the towel to dry.

Almond Roca
  1. In a food processor, pulse 1/4 cup of almonds until they resemble fine crumbs. Set aside.

  2. Bring 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil.

  3. Add the butter. When it has melted, add the almonds. Stir constantly until the almonds are browned. The mixture will be very thick and you'll be hating me for your sore arms. Keep stirring! If you're using a candy thermometer, it will be ready at 295 degrees (hardcrack stage).

  4. Remove from heat and using a wooden spoon, quickly spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. 

  5. Sprinkle the butter crunch with the chocolate chips, and allow them to get melty. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee. Immediately sprinkle with reserved crushed almonds.

  6. Place the tray in a cool place in your house or fridge, and allow to cool completely. Break into pieces and store at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

If you don't want to blanch almonds yourself, almost any grocery store sells them. Which I pretty much recommend because doing it yourself sucks.

Almond blanching instructions are adapted from This Mess is Ours.

Nutrition Facts
Nana's Almond Roca
Amount Per Serving (33 g)
Calories 261 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 58mg 2%
Potassium 172mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 19g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 3.9%
Calcium 5%
Iron 7.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. This allows me to continue to provide free content, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

14 comments on “My Nana’s Almond Roca Recipe”

  1. WHY would you tempt me with this delicious looking treat!?! I am so trying this for Christmas baking. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for sharing this SWEET family tradition!

  3. I’m super lazy and am wondering how essential it is to blanch the almonds. Is it just for looks? *crosses fingers hopefully*

    • You can buy blanched almonds! It is to make the finished product more clean and pleasing. Almonds with skin on have some bitterness. Plus the skins will start to come off during all the stirring and will be floating around in the toffee. If it doesn’t bother you, go for the skin-on.

      • Perfect! We bought a huge thing of almonds years ago and I’m looking forward to using them up. Thanks!

      • It’s a Christmas miracle! Not only did the Rocca turn out beautifully, but both kids napped during the crucial boiling and spreading times. Thank you for sharing this family recipe!

      • Isn’t it amazing when the kids actually nap when we need them to? Praise the Christmas miracle. So glad you were able to make it and I hope you loved it.

  4. for some reason the ingredients just crack me up, I had no idea that is what is in these! And they are so good

  5. chocolate… yum. butter… yum.

  6. Pingback: 38 of the Best Christmas Food Gifts for Your Neighbors

  7. Pingback: 25 Fabulous Old Fashioned Recipes - Food Love Home