Anyone that has lived with me in the last 3 years has probably partaken in my favorite movie-time snack: Kettle Corn. I’m not talking about the super sweet, red food-colored corn you get at fairs and sports games, or the microwave version that tastes more like chemicals and grease than popcorn. Kettle Corn, when made from scratch, should be just the right balance of sweet, salty and crunchy. It should make you nearly drool after the first bite, and keep you reaching back in the bowl for another yummy fistful. I’m happy to tell you that homemade kettle corn is E-A-S-Y, with just a few simple tricks and the right proportion of ingredients.
First, I must recommend that you consider buying a stove-top popper. They are inexpensive (you can find them at Wal-Mart or Target), come with vented lids for crunchier corn, allow you to make large quantities of popcorn very quickly, and allow you to control the ingredients/flavors. Microwave popcorn is chock full of chemicals and unhealthy oils. You will be amazed at the difference in taste when you make fresh popcorn with real butter and flavorings. I love my popper!
- 1/4 C vegetable oil
- 1/2 C popcorn kernels
- Heaping 1/3 C granulated sugar*
- Approximately 1 tsp. salt, to taste
- A stove-top popcorn popper (or large pot with a lid, preferably vented to release steam)
*I have used coarse, organic sugar before, but it does not melt as nicely. You will get the best results with regular old white, granulated sugar.
- Add oil to pan with a few kernels, heat on Med/High heat.
- Once you hear kernels beginning to pop, add the corn and sugar to pot.
- If using a stovetop popper, turn crank often to agitate. If using a regular pot, shake the pot frequently. Agitation will ensure even melting of your sugar, and prevent it from burning. If you are not using a vented pot, you may skew the lid so that some steam will escape, and this will ensure a lighter, crunchier result. You will have to use oven mitts and probably hold down the lid with your thumbs when agitating.
4. Once corn starts popping, agitate the pot constantly to prevent burning and ensure even coating of sugar. You don’t need to shake it hard, just enough to keep the corn moving. Do NOT look under the lid! Hot oil and sugar may pop on you!
5. Remove from heat when pops are more than 4/5 seconds apart. Add slowly to large bowl, sprinkling with salt to your preference.
The only way to know if your flavoring is right is to taste it! It should have a good balance of sweet and salty, enough to make you want another bite.
Voila! Add a cold beverage, a few friends, a good movie, and you’re set! Just try not to eat it all yourself…