View Full Version : Need help with an almond roca disaster!
12-16-2002, 01:52 PM
To all of you candy makin' gurus out there...I just attempted to make Anna's almond roca for the second time. The first time it came out perfect. Of course this time was different! The butter totally separated from the mixture, it turned out a gloppy mess! Any hints on what I may have done wrong. It didn't seem to foam up as much as last time. Could I have possibly have had it on too low of a heat? Any input would be greatly appreciated considering I just committed last night to bringing a batch to a family function! :(
12-16-2002, 01:56 PM
I haven't made Anna's Almond Roca, but I have been making my own version of toffee.
My guess would be that you didn't get it to the 290F threshhold.
Did you use real butter? I also recall some discussion that the quality of butter you use could make a difference. The cheaper butters have a higher water content that might lead to seperation. Personally, I have used LandOLakes, Braum's Butter, and some off brand from Sam's all with success, but that might be something for you to consider.
12-16-2002, 02:04 PM
I was wondering the same thing about the butter quality. I used a local store brand and before I used Darigold. I did watch the temperatures quite carefully but I could tell something was amiss when the butter started separating on it's way to 290. By then, it was obvious it wasn't going to work this time...grrrr...there goes a pound of butter and all those almonds down the drain. Thankfully I got them on sale...:) Thanks for the input, Jennifer!
12-16-2002, 02:29 PM
If it worked right for you the frist time - you probably have the best idea of what went wrong.
This happened to me my first (and only so far) time too. Frustrating, isn't it?!? :( For mine, though, I think I nudged the temp up and it ultimately cooked too hot too fast at the end. I used LOL butter and watched temp carefully but.... <sigh> Also, we're not supposed to stir in the beginning until after the almonds are added at 240' And something about crystalizing the sugar onto the spoon and it seperates from the butter. Not foaming up as much may be too low of heat as you suggested, I don't know. Read page 4 or 5 on Anna's thread; a couple of us messed up this way too.
BUT! don't throw it out!!! Hopefully you let it harden. It still will set up and taste very yummy! Mine did even though the texture was all wrong :rolleyes: :)
12-16-2002, 04:06 PM
I noticed in my 2nd batch that it seemed like the butter was separating, but I just kept stirring it and it seemed to go "back" as the mixture got hotter. Did it ever turn brown? Mine turned brown as it reached 300* and by then it seemed to have regained the "foam" on top of it.
Hope that helps...
12-16-2002, 07:02 PM
Aha! I really think that store brand butter may be at fault here. I've used it with no problems in the Almond Roca recipe, but had the exact same mess you described when I used store brand in my toffee recipe. I've made it probably 15 times with Land O Lakes - no problems. The ONE time I used store brand butter, it separated into a nasty mess and I threw it away. The friend that gave me the recipe warned me not to use store brand - I should have listened! Apparently, the same thing has happened to her a couple of times.
Here's the thread where I pondered butter quality: Butter / Toffee Question (http://http://community.cookinglight.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=34230&highlight=butter)
While I don't think that using store brand *guarantees* failure, it certainly seems to have a higher failure ratio. :(
Also, I stir pretty much constantly with both recipes (toffee and almond roca), and I don't think the stirring has as much to do with it. That may affect the sugar crystalization problem, but not the butter separating.
12-16-2002, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the info, LEIGHTX. I went to the store this afternoon and bought some Land o' Lakes butter everyone says they use. I tried half a batch this time. It seemed to foam like it's supposed to but towards the end it started to separate again. Let it get to 290 and took it off. I poured it into the pan, took a paper towel and tried to soak up some of the separated butter. Put the chocolate and nuts on top. I'll see what happened when it completely hardens. Maybe I need to use a little hotter temperature. Guess I'll try that next time! I know I can do it because the first batch turned out perfectly!!! :)
12-16-2002, 08:22 PM
For anyone who lives near a Fred Meyer Store - they have a coupon in their ad for Land O Lakes butter - 5 for $5. I'm heading there tomorrow!
12-16-2002, 08:33 PM
I must have missed that one! Thanks for the tip, I'm going to grab the newspaper out of the recycle and check it out. That's a great buy! Thanks, Darlin...:)
12-16-2002, 08:46 PM
I made the almond roca over the weekend and I too used store brand butter (wal-mart). Mine also separated into puddles of butter on top of the chocolate (Hershey's dark chocolate). I thought it was ruined, but I was making about 7-8 other Christmas treats and I didn't have time to worry about it. When I checked it this morning it had set up nicely and the butter that was pooled on top had somehow settled it's self back into the whole mass. The flavor was outstanding and got rave reviews and my workplace as well as my DH's workplace. My kids even took some to school to impress their friends. Excellent, excellent recipe - thankx Anna.
12-17-2002, 06:58 AM
Originally posted by yomomma
When I checked it this morning it had set up nicely and the butter that was pooled on top had somehow settled it's self back into the whole mass.
That happens a lot. If you notice it separating, just keep on going and pour the whole lot into the pan. If you've cooked it properly, it should harden up.
Msbeehavn, how did your latest batch work out?
12-17-2002, 09:26 AM
I've been making Almond Roca for years, and this very thing happened to me last week for the first time ever. Frustrated and determined not to throw out all that butter and sugar, I searched desperately for an answer.
What I discovered is that the separation occurs because all the liquid has evaporated from the sugar. (Which makes complete sense to me now, as I used the "bakers" sugar instead of regular granulated.) Sometimes continued vigorous stirring can bring it back together. If not, begin adding water to the mixture, a couple tablespoons at a time (up to 1/2 cup). BE CAREFUL, it will sizzle and steam quite a bit and continue to stir, stir, stir. It will come back together.
12-17-2002, 05:00 PM
The last batch I made was a half batch. I used LOL salted butter and watched the temps like a hawk. I was determined to make this work! It did the first time, that's what makes it so frustrating. Anyway, when the temp started to reach 290 it wasn't really turning brown yet and it was starting to separate again. Of course I panicked and took it off the minute it hit 290. I poured it into the pan and let it set up. When the DB came home from work I broke off a little piece for him to test. The toffee part didn't have that crunchy texture, it was a little softer which he said he actually liked. The flavor was okay just didn't have that crunch! I have to make some more for this weekends' family shindig so I'll try it again, this time I think I'll let it go a little past the 290 mark if it's not quite brown enough yet! I'm still on a quest to repeat that perfect batch...:)
12-17-2002, 05:18 PM
Let it go to at least 295. Even if you hit 300, it should still be okay. I've been taking my batches off at 295 and they've hardened up every time.
12-17-2002, 06:37 PM
Thanks, Anna. Even the stuff that turned out wrong tastes good..:) DB said he has no problem with taking on the horrible task of eating the mistakes...:D What a guy, huh! And once again, thanks to you for sharing such a great recipe with all of us! Happy Holidays to you and yours!
12-23-2002, 08:28 AM
:eek: :eek: :eek: OMG! OMG! I stepped on the scales this morning and I'm up five pounds! Could it be due to the fact that I've ate anna's almond roca daily now for over a week and I don't mean in small amounts! I have absolutely no control when it comes to this stuff - it is by far the best candy I've ever ever ever had!
12-23-2002, 08:38 AM
I followed the instructions to the letter and it did not harden. It stayed some what soft. Not really sticky just a nice soft texture that did not stick to your teeth or threaten to break them. I was dissappointed because I wanted the hard stuff the way it is sposed to be... Now here is the problem! My family loved it that way!!!!! They want more and they want it that way! So I am making more today and I just know it will probably turn out correct this time and be hard.... Oh well, at least I now know that if I screw it up my family will still love it! DD took a big plate of it to a Christmas party the other day and it was gone in two minutes!!!!
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