It was at the San Diego Zoo that I first tried kettle corn. Only a few months ago. And I’m not young! How did I miss this amazing treat?? How did I not hear all of the ooooooing and aaahhhhing going on?? I’ve been to fairs. And zoos. And ball games! Many times. Yet I knew nothing about kettle corn until just recently??? I could mourn the years I’ve lived without kettle corn, or I could look on the bright side: I have some makin’ up to do!!! I, therefore, will be making kettle corn weekly for the rest of my life. Regardless of whether I’m going to the fair or not.
If you want the large rounded popcorn, you’ll have to hunt down something called “mushroom popcorn”. It pops up bigger and toppings stick better to it than the usual popcorn kernels. You can find mushroom popcorn online at specialty popcorn stores. You’ll probably find yourself paying for faster shipping as you’re going to want to make this kettle corn ASAP!! It’s that good! Sweet, yet salty. Light and fluffy. My life is now complete.
1/4 c peanut oil*
1/2 c mushroom popcorn kernels (or regular popcorn kernels)
1/3 c sugar
1/2 t coarse salt
1/4 t salt
In a large pot (a pot as wide as it is tall and with a matching lid), heat oil and three kernels of popcorn over medium-high heat. (The mushroom popcorn needs high heat in order to pop well.) Once the kernels in the oil have popped, you’ll know the oil is hot enough. Stir in remaining popcorn kernels and sugar. Place lid on pot and, with potholders (escaping steam is hot!), shake pot quickly every few seconds while kernels pop for 2-3 minutes. When popping slows to once every few seconds, remove from heat and continue shaking until popping stops. Immediately, and I mean immediately!, pour into bowl. (If you leave popcorn in pan, the sugar will continue to cook and will burn.) Sprinkle popcorn with salts and toss. Serve immediately.
*any high smoke point oil will work . . . peanut, safflower, soy, sunflower, or light olive oil