You know what is weird? I didn’t like kettle corn until I moved down here to the south. It’s not a southern staple, from what I know. According to Wikipedia (you know, the online encyclopedia that is oh-so-unreliable) it originated in the north. But, even though I grew up in the north, I never had it. I tried it during our first years of marriage — didn’t like it.
It took a trip to the farmers’ market a few months ago to convert me. I’m not sure why I didn’t like it the first time I tried it, but this time I couldn’t get enough. So, I started making it at home.
Taking a combination of Joy the Baker’s recipe and methods from AllRecipes.com, I came up with what works for me in my kitchen for this tricky little easy-to-burn snack. The technique here is to shake the pan while the kernels are popping…seriously, shake it like a Polaroid, because otherwise you’ll end up with burnt sugar. And, no one likes that.
If done right, you end up with sweet and salty crispy kettle corn. Plus, a new bad snacking habit.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup yellow popping kernels
In a large deep sauce pan (at least 4 quart), heat the vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt over medium high heat. Add 3 popping kernels and place the lid on the sauce pan then listen for those 3 kernels to pop. Once they pop, pour in the rest of the kernels, sprinkle the sugar evenly over top and immediately replace the lid.
Remove from the heat and vigorously shake the pan, keeping the lid tight, for 15-20 seconds. Return to the heat and once the kernels start popping, start shaking in 5 second intervals. (Heat on burner for 5 seconds, remove from heat and vigorously shake for 5 seconds, repeat.) Repeat this sequence until the popping is 1 to 2 seconds apart. (Allow the steam to vent during the intervals where the pan is on the burner. But, make sure to vent the lid away from you to avoid hot oil popping on you.)
Remove from the heat and continue to shake with the lid on tightly for 5 more seconds. Carefully remove the lid, but still using it as a shield for any stray pops, pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix, and let cool for a few minutes before eating. (Be careful, the sugar kernels are hot!)