Thursday, July 9, 2009

Classic, Savory and Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn

One of my husband's favorite late night snacks is popcorn. So just within the last few months, I decided to stop spending money on quick, stale, powdery popcorn and invest a few minutes in making my own fresh, light and crispy popcorn, and what's so great is it's still really quick and easy to make! Now I'll be honest, this process included quite a bit of trial and error, but now that I've got it figured out, it's a cinch! Each person likes their popcorn a certain way, so if my way isn't exactly what you were hoping for, change it up and make it so it is =)
Below I included not only how I do my classic popcorn, but I also included a sweet and a savory version, all of which are scrumptious!!!!

Classic Popcorn:

- 1/2 cup corn kernels
-1/4 cup canola oil
-4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
-1/2 tsp. salt

In a large pot, heat oil, salt and kernels on medium heat. Cover and watch closely. (Once the pot begins to let off the aroma of popped corn, and the kernels lighten in color, the kernels should start popping shortly thereafter) As soon as the kernels begin to pop, using two pot holders, shake the pot in a circular motion and place pot back onto the stove. Repeat this every 3-5 seconds. (Swirling the pot in circles will help bring the popped popcorn to the top so it doesn't burn and the un-popped kernels closer to the bottom.) Once there is about a 2 second pause between the pops, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour popcorn into a serving bowl.
In a glass liquid measuring cup, melt butter in microwave for about 30 seconds. Pour melted butter evenly over popcorn and stir until all the popcorn is evenly coated. Serve and enjoy!!

Savory Popcorn

-same as above, plus...
-dried oregano
-grated Parmesan cheese
-garlic powder

Follow all the steps listed above, and once you've topped your popcorn with butter, give it a generous dusting of grated Parmesan cheese, and a light dusting of garlic powder and dried oregano. Mmm!

Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn (Courtesy of Alton Brown: Food Network)

(I recommend reading the entire recipe before making this popcorn.)

-1/2 cup corn kernels
-1/2 cup granulated sugar (if you like a lighter flavor you could do 1/3 cup)
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-2 Tbsp. butter flavored shortening or Margarine *See tip below
-1 tsp. salt

Now this took me a few tries before I got it right. My biggest mistake was either I had my heat too high, added my sugar too soon, or I didn't pull the popcorn off the stove fast enough. Hopefully you'll get it on your first try ;)

Using a large covered pot, heat all of the above ingredients except for the sugar on medium-high heat (If you have a gas stove, you may want to try just medium heat, that's what I do and it works just fine.) Once the kernels begin to lighten in color and give off the smell of popped popcorn, add the sugar and mix well. Place the cover back on the pot and repeat the same steps as above, watching for the popcorn to pop and constantly, vigorously shaking the pot in a circular motion every 2 or so seconds. (I begin swirling the pot as soon as I add the sugar. Even though the kernels may not be popping yet, it helps ensure the sugar coats every single kernel and it helps keep the sugar from sticking.) As soon as the kernels pause between pops, take off the top, pour immediately into a serving bowl and let the popcorn cool. CAUTION!: the popcorn will be extremely hot when it first comes out of the pot. (If I'm not too impatient, I like to pour the popcorn out onto a cookie sheet instead. That way, not only does it cool down faster, but then I can pick out any burnt kernels... yes there are usually still a few ;)... and break up the rest that may stick together in small bunches.)

I know it sounds like its easy to screw up, but once you get it right and try it, this kettle corn will knock your socks off =)

*Sugar combined with high heat burns very easily. That's why I recommend waiting until right before you think the kernels are getting ready to pop to add the sugar to the pot.

*Also, using margarine or shortening can minimize burning as well as oppose to using butter. Margarine and shortening have a higher melting point, thus taking longer to burn. If you don't have either, I don't recommend trying out this recipe. Chances are, your popcorn will definitely burn if you use butter.

No comments: