Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 02 Mar 2007

Until I moved out to California I had never heard of kettle corn. “What’s the deal? It’s popcorn.”

Let me interject here to let you know that I am a recovering popcorn-aholic. I can and will easily sit down and plow through a massive bowl of popcorn all on my own. Buttered, EVOO, plain, I don’t care much. It’s popcorn and that’s what really matters. Still, that the popcorn is popped in this big kettle didn’t seem to me to be enough of a selling point to warrant spending $3.50 on a bag of it.

Then someone told me about the sugar.

Sugar? Like caramel corn? No thanks. This gal don’t do that. I’m in it for the popcorn and all that caramel stuff just gets in the way.

But it’s not like that, you see. Each little puff of corn ends up ever so slightly coated in the most delicate layer of sugar, affixed to which is just the perfect amount of salt to confuse your brain. “It’s sweet…but it’s not… What’s going on here?”

OK, maybe it really is worth the $3.50 a bag…or maybe not.

This evening I’m headed to a friend’s house to watch Battlestar Galactica. I dislike arriving empty-handed and for some reason struck upon the idea of making kettle corn at home. i

A quick Google search turned up a bevy of recipes, from which I culled the general formula for the stuff. Off to the kitchen! We have mayhem to perform!

1/4 cup of oil (half canola, half EVOO; less oil will probably work)
1/2 cup popcorn
1/4 cup sugar (white, though I intend to experiment on this front; mmm…honey…)
1 tsp or so of kosher salt

Heat the oil in a pot at least 3 qts in size, add the corn and let it reach a sizzle. Sprinkle the sugar as evenly as possible over the top, then shake it up and slap on the top. Shake ever few seconds until the popping all but stops. Dump into a big bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and mix well. I suggest a spatula for this. Keep mixing to cool it off and break up the big clumps which would otherwise form. Then, voila! Kettle corn!

I made two batches tonight and it took me about twenty minutes. All of a sudden this stuff is no longer worth $3.50 a bag. Though judging from how much I ate of the first batch I might pay you much much more than that to keep the stuff far away from me.

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