Kettle corn is a slightly sweet, slightly salty popcorn snack. For those of you that know and love kettle corn, this recipe will ensure that you don't have to wait until the next Apple Festival / Craft Fair / Maple Festival or whatever to enjoy it. Please note that this is nothing like the microwave kettle corn they sell in the stores (ugh - Sucralose - ewww).
Step 1: Here's what your going to need.
1/4 Cup unpopped popcorn
1/4 Cup olive or corn oil (Olive oil will give it a lighter, cleaner taste)
2 Tablespoons sugar ( I prefer cane sugar)
1/4 teaspoon Salt
One or two quart sauce pan
You may also want to have some safety glasses and an oven mitt handy because it can get pretty wild when things get popping.
Step 2: Let's Get Popping
Put the popcorn in the pot. There should be just enough to cover the bottom in a single layer. Next pour in the olive oil. There should only be enough to barely cover all of the popcorn. Then you turn on the heat. This step is the hardest to get just right. I set my stove halfway between the medium and high settings. If you set the heat too high, you will burn the sugar before the popcorn pops. If you don't have enough heat, the popcorn just won't pop. You may have to experiment with different settings before you find the one that is just right for your stove.
Step 3: Now you'll have to move fast
This is where you may need your safety glasses as you're now dealing with hot oil and exploding projectiles. (you could also try the "duck and cover" if you like)
After it has heated up a bit, the oil will start to bubble and the popcorn will begin to swell (this will take about 2-3 minutes). As soon as a couple of kernels pop, sprinkle the sugar on top of the popcorn and place the lid on the pot.
Step 4: Shake your..........popcorn
For the rest of the time the popcorn is on the heat, you will need to constantly shake the pot. I like circular motions (clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counter clockwise in the southern), but sometimes I change it up with a little side to side or even a figure eight.
Once you add the sugar, the popcorn will stop popping. It will take it about 30 seconds to 1 minute to start popping again. Once it starts again, you will need to listen carefully to it. The popping will get very rapid and then begin to slow. Once it slows to once every couple of seconds you will remove the pot from the heat and dump it into your bowl.
Just as a note here, you will notice that the popped corn lifts the lid off my pot. Feel free to use a pot with higher sides so this won't happen to you. I just happen to like this pot so much that I can overlook it's short sides.
Step 5: We're almost there
Once you have poured the popcorn into the bowl, you must let it cool for about 5 minutes. If you try to do anything with it right now, you are likely to burn your hands on the molten sugar.
After 5 minutes you will notice that most of the popcorn is sticking together in one big clump. Just break this clump up by hand until there are just smaller clumps of 1 - 3 kernels. Then add your salt by sprinkling it on top and mixing the whole thing together by hand.
Now you're ready to eat!! Yay!
Step 6: Remember to share
Remember to share your delicious snack with other people and pets in the house. If you don't have anyone in your house, invite some people over or take some kettle corn to them. I guess you get the idea.........enjoy.