I love the season of crisp weather and rosy cheeks. As much as I enjoy a brisk walk or playing in the yard with my daughters, coming home to a toasty house and cozying up to a steamy mug of tea and a warm snack is the part I most look forward to.
And, as far as warm snacks go, homemade kettle corn is among the very best. Sweet and salty, with an irresistibly crispy outer layer, kettle corn is a family fave. If you’ve never made it yourself, or if you’ve handed over the popcorn popping duties to your microwave, you might be pleasantly surprised at how great a batch of stovetop-popped popcorn really is.
The technique is simple, though you’ll want to proceed carefully. Set a heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium high heat with cooking oil and just a few kernels; when those pop, toss in the remaining kernels and the sugar, and then shake the pot frequently until the popping of the kernels slows. Shaking helps the uncooked kernels settle on the bottom while the popped kernels rise to the top. Kettle corn can burn easily, so it’s best to pull from heat as soon as soon as the popping becomes intermittent. You’ll have some unpopped kernels, but it’s better than a burnt batch. Finally, have everyone keep a look out for unpopped kernels –they can easily stick to the popped pieces of kettle corn.
What You Need
- 3 tablespoons neutral, high-tolerant cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil)
- 1/2 cup fresh popcorn kernels
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Makes 6 servings
Set out two sturdy potholders beforehand.
Set a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium to medium-high heat. Add the cooking oil and 4 kernels corn and re-cover. When the kernels pop, add remaining popcorn and sugar and cover. Grab the potholders, and, holding the lid in place, shake the pot. Corn will take 4 – 6 minutes to pop; shake pot every 5 – 10 seconds, until popping slows. Remove from heat, toss in sea salt, and shake vigorously.
Turn popcorn out into a large bowl and serve right away.