The other day I was hungry for a snack, and as I rummaged around in the cupboard, I came across a package of microwave popcorn. I have no idea where it came from since I can’t remember the last time I bought the nasty stuff (I think it must have showed up while I was at the hospital with Zeke) but I was hungry and thought to myself “maybe it’s not as bad as I remember,” and then I noticed that this package was labled kettle corn and thought surely it would be better than plain old fake-butter microwave popcorn…
Wow. Was I ever wrong. A couple of bites and I had thoroughly reminded myself why we make the real stuff around here. It was awful. I mean really awful.
Anyways, we make lots of real popcorn around here: popcorn with (real!) butter, with parmasean, with garlic, with cayenne… But for some reason I had always assumed kettle corn was too complicated/messy and so I shyed away from the sweet treat. That horrible microwave popcorn got me curious though, and I decided to look into what was involved in making real, good kettle corn. What I came up with was go good, and so easy, and so cheap that I decided I simply must share. Hopefully I can persuade some of you to step on over from the dark side of microwave popcorn into the light 🙂
You will need:
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernals
1/4 cup olive or other oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
Salt to taste
an oldschool hand-crank popcorn popper (preferrable) or a large lidded pot
A word on popcorn poppers: while I am generally not a fan of kitchen gadgets that are designed to do only one thing, my popcorn popper is an exception. I found it for $4 at a flea market, and we use it ALL of the time! Definitly worth every penny 🙂
Gather all of your ingredients. Heat the oil in your popcorn popper or pot over med-high heat. Put 3 kernals in the hot oil, and when they pop, you will know that your oil is hot enough. Quickly add the sugar and cinnamon and give a few cranks to mix/dissolve it in the oil. Add the remaining popcorn kernals immediately and crank the handle constantly to prevent the sugar from burning. Listen for popping, and when the popping slows to every 1-2 seconds, remove from the heat. Dump into a large serving bowl, salt to taste, and enjoy! That’s all there is to it… easy peasy!
If you don’t have a popcorn popper, you can use a large, lidded pot. The directions are basically the same, except you will have to lift the covered pot and give it a good shake every few seconds to prevent sticking and burning.