My boyfriend’s parents were in town this past weekend with a couple friends and we all decided to take a tour of Golden, Colorado.
I really should narrow in on which specific part of Golden we toured: The Coors Brewery.
And with this visit’s completion, I have now participated in three of the largest US beer company tours: Miller in Wisconsin, Budweiser in St. Louis and now Coors in Colorado.
All this intoxicating glory for a non-beer drinker.
And yet, I find them to be a blast: interesting facts, an “Unwrapped” view of the production floor in action and of course, the tasting room typically accompanied by stashes and stashes of salty snacks.
It’s like having a private bar down the road from your house that serves the absolute freshest complimentary brews.
There was something unique about this particular tour, though. Instead of monitors displaying a visual tour by a company representative or a speaker booming with the voice of brewery history, the Coors team provides you with a chunky, personal speaker. It actually looked like a mix between an old school cell phone and Egon’s hand held radar from Ghostbusters.
Here you can see I’m using mine as a Star Trek tricorder to follow my suspicion that one of the barrels may be yielding a brew emitting high intensity chronometric particles.
Sadly, all my “tricorder” told me was that a man named Adolf Coors started his brewery at the age 26. Far less interesting than chronometric particles, but also far less dangerous.
Onwards we went to the brewing room itself. And if this picture looks familiar it’s because you might recognize it from my post about the Miller tour. I decided to do a recreation. Look at the original. And now from the Coors tour:
Something tells me I should get more original with my haircuts.
Anywho, I found it rather funny that we were in this large room filled with 40 people yet you could easily hear the gentle hum of the machines. This was because the entire room was on their speaker cell phones. You’d hear an occasional outburst of laughter in intervals as the crowd had started their audio for that room at slightly different times- sort of like row, row, row your boat but in a laughing echo.
Easily, the highlight of such a set up was when I glanced to my right and saw my boyfriend’s aunt in full salute – actually standing at attention in total seriousness by herself with the phone pressed intensely to her ear with her free hand. Chest out, chin up and saluting.
As anyone would do in such a circumstance, I shamelessly boomed with laughter. She looked at me with confusion and said, “What? The guy tells you to salute the hard work they do.”
Well done, Coors. Well done. I bet YouTube will eventually post all of the film of tourists saluting you.
We are but a pack of sheep.
Thirsty, parched sheep that want our free beer.
We had a great time with a great crew. I just wish they had more snacks in the tasting room seeing as half our group weren’t beer drinkers. So while our guests double fisted nuts and brewskies, I drifted off into dream land about touring a candy factory instead.
What would I like to see made?
They have several complex layers of flavor and textures from tempered chocolate shells to salty, nutty caramels. But the most intruiging layer? Definitely the nougat. I mean, who makes that stuff at home?
Oh yeah, you do.
These sinful, roasted almond nougat bars have smooth, glossy tops that give very few hints about the whipped, airy delight captured within.
When cut, though, the busy and fluffy truth is revealed.
The texture is light and airy after you chew through the slightly chewy exterior with the smooth ride halting to a blunt end when a toasted, salty almond crunch comes plowing through.
At that moment, it is perfect.
The salt becomes more prevalent and the sweet is mellowed slightly.
You can picture a myriad of childhood candy bar memories getting triggered into a frenzy with that bite. Dipped in dark chocolate brings the nostalgia that much closer to the forefront.
I found that a day sealed in an air tight container in the fridge makes the harmony of flavors intensify. This slab will certainly serve a whole party with leftovers, because after all, how many candy bars can one person eat?
Well, probably significantly less than the people reading this recipe right now. We are a special people. Who would accept the Nougat Slab Challenge with pride.
As for the normal people. This feeds many of those.
What was I inspired to make on my last beer tour? Irresistible Cinnamon Pecans!
Roasted Almond Chocolate Nougat Candy Bar
That mysterious, fluffy backbone in your favorite candy bar comes to center stage in this sweet slab speckled with crunchy roasted almonds and dipped in dark chocolate. Chewy, sweet and crunchy is this impressive baking achievement.
Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 C light corn syrup
- 1 T vanilla extract
- 2 C sugar
- 3/4 C water
- 1 1/2 C light corn syrup
- 3/4 C dry milk powder
- 1/2 C dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/4 C powdered sugar
- 1/4 C plus 2 T melted, unsweetened chocolate cooled slightly
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 C oven toasted almonds, chopped coarsely
- dark chocolate, for coating finished nougat pieces
- Lightly oil a 13×9 baking pan, making sure to go along the sides and corners. Prepare a large, heavy bottomed pot with a lid, a candy thermometer and a mixer with the whip attachment.
- Syrup: Place all three syrup ingredients into the pot, give it a stir and then place over medium to medium-high heat with the lid on until boiling for three minutes. Then remove lid permanently and insert thermometer gently. Boil until syrup reaches 257F. Be sure to keep an eye on it and after that initial stir to combine the room temperature ingredients, do not stir again!
- Meringue: After you removed the lid on the syrup after the three minutes of boiling, get to whipping all the meringue ingredients in your mixer until soft peaks form. Stop mixing at this point and tend to the syrup waiting for the noted temperature.
- Nougat: Once the syrup reaches 257F, slowly stream it into your now whipped egg whites while beating on high. The stream of syrup should go down the side of the mixing bowl and will incorporate slowly into the egg mixture. Do not use a spatula in the syrup pot. Simply pour all contents into the whites that will pour out willingly and then set pot aside for good.
- Once the syrup is completely added to the whites, whip for 8 minutes. While whipping, sift together your milk powder, cocoa powder, confectioners sugar and salt in a bowl.
- After 8 minutes, stop mixer and add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low to just combine. Fold in melted chocolate. Fold in almonds. **Work quickly because as the nougat cools, it becomes difficult to stir. Don’t give up though, because even if there’s chocolate swirls and the melted chocolate isn’t fully combined, it will taste fab!
- Quickly transfer nougat to prepared pan and press gently to even mixture. For a thicker product, a smaller pan may be used. Allow to cool for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
- Cut and dip in melted dark chocolate. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired as it pairs well with the toasted almonds and balances the sweetness. **Best to remove entire nougat slab and place on a cutting board. Run a large, sharp knife in very hot water and then wipe dry with a towel and immediately cut a strip of nougat. Repeat in hot water and so on for clean cuts. Enjoy!