Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn

This recipe makes me think of the enormous kettles of popcorn produced at autumn festivals, where a large man stands wrapped in a heavy flannel jacket stirring a cauldron full of steaming, sugary popcorn with a spoon as tall as me.  That was the inspiration for this recipe.  I have to give credit to my friend Lisa, who suggested adding the sugar at the beginning of the process instead of after the popcorn had already popped.  So in this recipe, the brown sugar is cooked right into the popcorn, creating an addictively crunchy coating, and is balanced perfectly by the salt added at the end.  It's hard to stop eating this - really hard.  Even when the bowl is empty, it's so tempting to make another batch.  I have eaten batches (yes, plural....) of this in lieu of dinner before.  Not my proudest or healthiest moments, for sure, but I can't say that they were my worst, either.  This popcorn is great to make for movie night, or for a snack to have out for company.  And it's so simple to make! 

Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn

4 - 6 tbsp. sunflower oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1/3 cup raw brown sugar
salt to taste

Pour enough oil to coat the bottom of a thick-bottomed pot and add 4 popcorn kernels and place over high heat.  Wait until one of the kernels pops, then add the rest of the popcorn kernels and the brown sugar.  Stir well together, and then place a tight-fitting lid onto the pot.  Get ready to shake....

Take a thick towel and grab the pot by its sides, and - being sure to hold the lid down tight - start shaking the pot every 30 - 45 seconds to avoid burning the sugar.  Each time, after you've shaken the pot for about 5 - 10 seconds, replace it immediately back onto high heat and continue to cook.  Continue doing this even when it starts to pop, until the kernels are no longer popping.  Remove immediately from the pot and place into a large bowl.  Add salt according to taste and let cool for about 5 minutes to allow the sugar to harden.  Break the pieces apart with your hands and serve!

Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.

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