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Holidays / Humor / Recipes

My $1,000 Christmas Almond Rocha Recipe (and let’s hear your favorites!)

My $1,000 Christmas Almond Rocha Recipe (and let’s hear your favorites!)

Christmas Baking Week is upon me. I approach it each year with great alacrity, as Christmas Baking Week = Christmas Eating Week.

My bakefest generally consists of egg nog snickerdoodles, cream cheese cutout cookies, homemade chocolate suckers, caramel toffee squares, sugar ‘n spice cookies, white chocolate snowball cookies and of course, my $1,000 Almond Rocha. Not familiar with the latter item? Let me take you back, back, back to this infamous recipe’s christening.

About twelve years ago, I was having major problems with a certain tooth (that still gives me headaches toothaches today) and had pumped more than $1,000 into it. First, there was the root canal. Then the crown. Then the painful abscess. Then the retreatment surgery. Then the filling to repair the retreatment. I had just had what I thought was my final appointment.

Until I started my Christmas baking and made Almond Rocha. My first mistake.

My second mistake was thinking I could actually eat it. Innocently, I chomped down. The candy was harder, crunchier than I remembered. Now, I usually don’t make a habit of spitting out my food but something was REALLY wrong and so I regurgitated the particularly crunchy portion.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear? But my tooth. Not my crown, but the actual, veritable tooth. I reacted as one would expect: I let out a blood-curdling scream. My roommates at the time came running and offered their horror and sympathy.

And then they proceeded to eat the rest of my $1,000 Almond Rocha in front of me, with all their teeth in tact.

That Christmas, there was coal in their stockings.

And a tooth or two.

What are your favorite foods to make (and receive) for the holidays? Do you bake a lot or do you avoid the kitchen completely?

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. P.S. For the record, Almond Rocha will not be included in my annual bakefest….

  2. I never started baking until I moved to Italy and now I love it. I won’t be doing much for Christmas though, except heading to Texas!! I’m sure my grandma will bake, though!!

  3. OMG, I hate the dentist and I have a tooth that cost me that much too! EW! I wil not be making almond rocha this year or ever! I stick to fudge, sugar cookies and the occaisional snowball or cherrywink gets thrown in the mix! More on my blog next weekend as that is when we will have our own bakeathon!

  4. I’m trying to decide if it is worth it to try and have a bakeathon this year. Since this week has started out with a sick kid… I’m leaning towards a no. But one of my favorite things is chocolate covered pretzels (white chocolate). And peppermint bark.

  5. Oh, I am with Kassie – peppermint bark and white choc. pretzels are a couple of my favorites – but oddly enough I never make them, I usually get them as gifts!
    I make some sugar cookies (frosted) and molasses cookie I use as a gingerbread man. I also have a peppermint sugar cookie. Super easy, but looks neat because you divide the dough in thirds and color it red, green, white, then twist the three colors together so each cookie has a little.

  6. Oh, that’s horrible! I like to eat it all! I love food…that’s why I joined the gym last month.

  7. Everyone is making me hungry! I’m not a huge pretzel fan but I make the exception when it is covered in white chocolate. Peppermint bark IS amazing, though I’ve never made it (feel free to share on my forum). My neighbor made a pecan roll for us and I thought I had died and gone to heaven…until I tried to make it. What a pain!

  8. Ugh. Now MY teeth hurt!

    I shouldn’t have read this post before breakfast. I’m drooling.

  9. That is TOO funny! Okay, I’m sorry, it’s not really that funny, but it is – know what I mean??

    I love to bake for the holidays, but we stick to most of the basics soft sugar cookies, 5 minute fudge, soft caramel popcorn, and cookies of other sorts. Oh yes, and cheesecake. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I used to actually run an online Sweet Shoppe and have a few amazing recipes up my sleeve. How does the BEST EVER peanut brittle recipe sound? Did I mention it’s prepared in minutes in the microwave?? I’ve kept the recipe closely guarded but will share with this group as I love MHM so darn much!

    I’m PSYCHED to try some new stuff as most of my presents this year will be homemade. BRING ‘EM ON!!

    Amber.. I LOVE Almond Rocha and can’t wait to try yours out for size. I didn’t need that remaining tooth anyway! ;o)

  11. This was my first year making treats for neighbors, friends etc. We made sugar cookies, chocolate dipped pretzel rods, peanut butter cookie cups and oreo truffles. The favorite of them all seems to be the oreo truffles and you can find that recipe at and search easy oreo truffles!

  12. We just made the sugar cookies, and I guess now we’ll be decorating them. We made fudge a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve eaten most of that already.

  13. I wish I were lucky enough to be YOUR neighbor! I can’t believe you lost your tooth…too funny!

  14. I love to bake! My very favorite Christmas treat is butter tarts, straight from the freezer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My family makes Almond Roca too, but I’m allergic to almonds. So I just bake everything else!

  15. After all that drama, I’m surprised you are still making it. I guess you didn’t say you were still eating it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I bake every year too. I give some to friends and send some to my hubby’s work. I make lots of different things.

  16. Love this story! SO funny. I’m on my way to check out that recipe… sounds so good!

  17. So it didn’t hurt when the tooth finally came out? That story gives me the shivers.

    I have a favorite recipe that my family just calls “Merry Christmas Cookies.” They’re frosted cookies made with honey and lemon–they have to be rolled out and they’re really thick and really sweet. I always too much dough and feel slightly sick while I’m making them.

    A close second is the fudge cake with 3 sticks of butter.

    You can see why I don’t bake every year.

  18. I just had oral surgery last week, the thought alone of that poor teeth makes me want to scream, cry, cringe! What a fabulous story to tell though…in hindsight! Happy Holidays!

  19. Not doing much baking this season. We’re on the road (in Chicago right now…brrrrrrr…) and since my son and I have gone gluten-free, I’m not up to the challenge this year. Maybe next year. I do, however, have a wicked awesome recipe for Irish Cream Truffle Fudge. Mmmm…

  20. I love baking! I’m going to try your sugar cookie and almond roca recipes – afterall today is National Bake Cookies Day! (ha!)

    I have a yummy pumpkin pie recipe that I “developed” just for my hubby –

    I’m always tweaking and combining recipes – it’s like chemistry lab all over again, but in my kitchen! Oh – and flour is much less volatile too!

    Happy Baking (and eating!)

  21. Headed out of town before I had a chance to do any baking. Hopefully while I’m here in Utah I’ll make the famous family mocha balls.

    Love your almond roca story–may have to try those recipes. Maybe I’ll smash it into tiny pieces–can’t handle a dental problem while I’m away from Canada (no dental insurance here ; )

  22. Karla, please do tell! You sound like you have a juicy story to tell!

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