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Almond roca is a confection made from almond toffee which is dipped in a chocolate coating and then sprinkled with almonds. One brand of almond roca produced by Brown & Haley is particularly famous, although smaller candy producers create similar products, and it is also possible to make almond roca at home. When well-made, almond roca has a rich, buttery flavor from the toffee which pairs quite delightfully with the chocolate coating and crunchy, slightly bitter almonds.
According to Brown & Haley, almond roca was developed in 1922, when an enterprising confectioner at the company got the bright idea of dipping logs of almond toffee in chocolate, and then rolling the confection in finely diced almonds to create a texture, crunchy coating. The product was named by a librarian, and when it hit the market, it turned out to be a big hit.
Initially, almond roca was sold in the form of penny candy, candy measured out of bulk containers and into bags by customer request. However, Brown & Haley realized that they could prolong the life of the product by packaging it, so they developed the distinctive and now almost universally recognizable pink tins to keep their almond roca fresh and crisp. Thanks to the pink tin, almond roca traveled around the world, and a number of confectioners also started producing their own versions of the product, including cashew, walnut, and other nut rocas.
In the Second World War, almond roca proved to be especially popular with soldiers, since it was a durable sweet treat which could hold up on long marches and train rides. Almond roca was also allegedly carried on Everest expeditions and on other adventures to isolated corners of the world; the high calorie treat would have been especially useful for people who were traveling light, as it could provide a quick burst of energy.
If you want to make almond roca at home, you will need to start by making almond toffee and forming it into logs which can be cut into chunks as the toffee starts to cool. Once the toffee has cooled all the way, it can be dipped in melted chocolate and then rolled in diced almonds. When selecting chocolate for the coating, erring on the side of a more bitter, dark chocolate is generally a good idea, as this will complement the naturally sweet, buttery flavor of the toffee.