I will be attending three Thanksgiving dinners this year. I will be wearing stretchy pants at each meal (and probably a cute little dress to cover up the fact that I’m wearing stretchy pants).

It may surprise you to know that I don’t do a lot of cooking on Thanksgiving. It’s not that I don’t want to it’s just that I have so many wonderful cooks in my life that equally enjoy preparing a Thanksgiving feast. Who am I to spoil their fun?

So instead I thought I’d bring the cooks a gift in the form of candy. While they’re mashing the potatoes and basting the bird they’ll need a bit of sustenance in the form of toffee and chocolate.


I found this recipe for “Mock Almond Crunch” in a candy making book from the 70’s with pieces of pastel nougat and divinity adorning the cover. Candy making can be an intimidating business, with it’s thermometers, pots of molten bubbling sugar and the continuous fear of crystallization. The scariest part about this recipe is having these candies lying around the house and resisting the urge to eat every piece.

The season of Holiday parties and gatherings is upon us. I like to keep simple, homemade gifts like these on hand for a thoughtful hostess gift. This batch makes plenty so whatever I don’t give right away I have stashed in an airtight bag in the freezer. That way I have a gift at the ready and out of sight out of mind – which means I won’t be eating candy all day long (in theory).


Mock Almond Crunch

adapted from “Homemade Candy from the food editors of Farm Journal”

8 whole graham crackers

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup + 2 T butter

1/4 teaspoon Fleur de Sel, Maldon, Vanilla salt – or some other fine finishing salt

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli 60%)

Lightly butter a 10×10 baking dish. Pre-heat your oven to 325*.

Arrange the graham crackers on the bottom of the dish and sprinkle the toasted almonds on top. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and brown sugar and boil for 3 minutes. Pour sugar mixture over the crackers and almonds in a thin even layer. Sprinkle with salt.

Place dish in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the toffee layer is bubbling all over.

Remove from the oven. When the bubbles have subsided sprinkle on the chocolate chips and let the residual heat melt them. With an offset spatula smooth the chocolate layer over the entire surface.

While still warm score the candy with a sharp knife cutting them into your desired shape and size.

Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set the chocolate. Remove from pan and cut along the scored markings.

Serve immediately or can be sealed in an airtight container for up to one week. Can also be frozen for up to one month.


24 Responses to ““it tastes like Almond Roca” candy”

  1. A Plum By Any Other Name

    I just heard that chocolate originally made its mark in the US by being marketed as a health food in the 19th century, so in that case … do something good for yourself and snack away! I can’t speak for the toffee, but what the heck!

  2. Dana

    Hey guess what? We have room at our celebration for you and some of that candy. I can’t turn away Almond Roca and I can’t even imagine how good the “real” stuff is.

  3. D. @ Outside Oslo

    Those sound wonderful. Don’t you love finding recipes from old cookbooks or cooking magazines? I have way too many old issues of Gourmet magazine from my mom and old cookbooks (especially from various Midwest churches) from my grandma, but I can’t bear getting rid of them because they’re so much fun to look through. For one, they give a sense of what a particular time was like, as well as giving us new ideas.

  4. Kocinera

    I love homemade holiday goodies like these! They’re always so fun to bring to a party as an extra treat. This looks like such a yummy candy!

  5. Rachel

    LOVE me some yoga pants…but bad things can happen if you go to long without slipping into a pair of jeans….I am drooling over your candy recipes, keep the sweets coming!!!

  6. molly

    Oh, heck yes!!

    We’ve been making a version of this for years, after bumming the recipe off a neighbor. I made some 25 cookies that year, fancy schmancy and over weeks. She brought this over and knocked every one of those out of the water. I was sure it must be fantastically hard. Like, opening the box of graham crackers hard.

    I’ll have to triangulate come Christmas time. This makes it into our cookie boxes every year.

  7. Cooking with Alison

    Hi there! thank you for sharing this recipe! I made it and followed your instructions to a T. but mine became soggy after just one day. I stored it in an air tight plastic container. Do you have any tips on how to keep it crunchy for a few days? Thanks so much!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Alison – Sorry this happened. I’m not sure why besides that sugar attracts moisture which would cause the sogginess. I had luck with freezing mine. I did notice that once they were exposed to air for an extended period of time they got softer but they were still delicious.

  8. Stephanie S

    I make a similar style of candy with saltines instead of grahams and in addition to (or instead of) almonds, I usually top with “holiday treats.” For Christmas it’s candy cane bits, for Thanksgiving it’s Reeses Pieces (my hostess’ favorite) and for random desserts I use anything from pretzels (salt and chocolate is wonderful) to M&Ms. But grahams are my favorite snack and I never thought to substitute them in! I’m going to try this new version this year (my hostess is also a s’mores junkie like me) and may add a few mini marshmallows just for kicks!


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