OPINION: Clueless sports fan recreates Coors Field’s Apple Pie Nachos


IDS sports columnist Bradley Hohulin stands in his kitchen with his homemade IDS apron. Tristan Jackson

If America were embodied on a plate, it would probably look like the Apple Pie Nachos at Coors Field in Denver. Not only did the Rockies’ stadium combine apple pie and baseball, but it introduced the most crucial ingredient in our country’s gastronomy — unbridled gluttony.

This confection essentially piles the insides of an apple pie atop tortilla chips dusted with cinnamon sugar. My level of baking expertise lies somewhere south of Pillsbury crescent rolls, so I naturally harbored some concerns. Fortunately, what I lack in culinary skill, I make up for in blind confidence. 

Beginning with the nachos, I spread melted butter across a flour tortilla and cut it into eighths. I wanted to tell the tortilla, “It’s not you, it’s me,” because I was about to sugarcoat it beyond recognition.

Nachos covered in cinnamon and sugar sit in a pan.  Tristan Jackson

Each triangle received a hearty sprinkling of cinnamonsugar before entering the oven at 425 degrees for eight minutes. 

Totally convinced I was going to burn the chips to a crisp, I took my mind off my worries by preparing the apple topping. I melted roughly half a stick of butter in a skillet, then added a pair of peeled and sliced Granny Smiths as well as more cinnamon sugar, occasionally stirring the concoction until a fork easily pierced the once nutrient-dense fruit.

Then it was time to tackle the caramel sauce. I heated Kraft caramel squares, butter and a glug of 2% milk in a small pan. Once a silky, glistening pool remained, I began assembling my creation.

Cinnamon-covered apples cook in a pan. Tristan Jackson

After plating my chips and covering them with the apples, I was ready to heap on a dollop of Cool Whip and drizzle everything in caramel. Alas, the twisted deviants at Coors Field had other plans. You see, the arrangement is not complete until it has been adorned with shredded cheese.

I realize cheese is a cornerstone of nachos. However, we’ve already thrown convention out the window, so what exactly is being preserved here? Somewhere en route to the intersection of sweet and savory, this dish took a handbrake turn toward the bizarre. 

Then again, I suppose it wouldn't be a hit at concession stands if it didn’t bastardize a beloved article of traditional American cuisine. 

Once I had unclenched my trembling fist long enough to let a few morsels of curdled milk fall upon the apples, I applied the aforementioned garnishes. 

Despite consisting entirely of the colors brown, tan and beige, the food before my eyes was a spectacle to behold. Although it hasn’t functioned in nearly twenty years, I swear I felt my pancreas shudder at the mere sight of it.

Raising the first heaping nacho to my mouth, I was startled by its sturdiness. What a relief it is to pick up a chip without the solemn knowledge that it is doomed to crumble in your grasp. Sure, I might have just overcooked the tortillas to the consistency of girded steel, but I’ll take a reliable nacho anywhere I can get it. 

Bradley begins preparing the plate of nachos in his kitchen. Tristan Jackson

Texturally, the dish is unparalleled. It guides your teeth along a spectrum of sensations from fluffy cool whip to tender apples and finally crunchy tortilla chips. 

I may spend a few weeks discovering granules of sugar in my molars like sand in an old swimsuit, but my taste buds’ adoration for the apples was undeniable. The whipped topping brought a refreshing balance to the piping hot apples and the salt on the chips pulled me back from the brink of hyperglycemic shock. Even the misplaced cheese managed to play it cool and not ruin the party for everyone else.

The finished recreation of Coors Field's nachos sit on a plate, topped with apples and cool whip. Tristan Jackson

Of course, as with any new experience, there are definitely things I could have done better. 

Should I have used whole milk in the caramel sauce like every recipe I read online explicitly stated? Maybe. Did I mistakenly bombard the chips with the daily recommended dose of sodium before noticing the untouched bag of sugar on my countertop? Possibly. 

IDS sports columnist Bradley Hohulin brings us into his kitchen as he recreates game day favorites. In this episode, Hohulin attempts to make Coors Field’s Apple Pie Nachos, enjoyed by Colorado Rockies fans, and shows there can be a unique intersection between food and the world of sports. Aelia Hassan

Nonetheless, I believe apple pie nachos should be a mainstay at ballparks nationwide, even if they are a bit messy. At the very least, they could cut through the smothering atmosphere of light beer and hot dog brine.

Above all, I won’t soon forget the feeling of euphoria from my initial bite. Amid the many substances available in Colorado, this is certainly the most flavorful way to achieve a full-body high.

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