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Forget carnivals and baseball games – – did you know you can have hot and fresh kettle corn from the comfort of your own home? None of this microwave-kettle-corn-out-of-the-bag imitation, either. I’m talking popcorn that tastes just like the stuff that sets you back $5+ a bag at your favorite family outing. That sweet and salty slice of heaven.
When I first started making kettle corn at home, I just used a big pot with a lid on my old coil-burner stove from the ’70’s. The sound of the pot sliding back and forth across the burner instantly took me back to watching my mom make popcorn on the stove when I was a little girl. Do you have memories like that?
Anyway, when Mr. Blue Eyes bought me a new range for our anniversary (appliances are the new diamond, haven’t you heard?), I didn’t want to risk scratching up the brand new glass stove top by sliding a pot back and forth across the burner. So kettle corn went by the wayside for a while.
Then I discovered the Whirley-Pop. This thing is an essential part of any popcorn lover’s kitchen because you can have it all: Fresh, stove-popped popcorn without scratching up the burners on your stove. (No, this is post is not sponsored by Whirley-Pop...I just love it that much.) You do NOT need a Whirley-Pop to have delicious kettle corn at home, but it sure helps!
This recipe is super easy to remember: 1/2 cup – 1/3 cup – 1/4 cup. Obviously, you want the most popcorn kernels, so that is the 1/2 cup. Oil is what you use the least of, so that’s the 1/4 cup. Which leaves 1/3 of a cup of sugar.
“Stephanie…..that’s a lot of sugar.”
Why, yes. Yes, it is. And it’s delicious. Moving on…
All you do is heat up your oil at high or nearly-high heat (I usually have my burner set at 8 or 9) with a couple of test kernels. Make sure you have the pot covered with a lid (or close the lid flaps on the Whirley-Pop). When you hear the test kernels pop, you add the popcorn kernels and sugar.
Replace the lid and give the pot one big shake to help move the sugar around and then keep it moving while it heats and begins to pop (shaking the pot back and forth if you are using a regular pot or turning the handle of the Whirley-Pop).
**Safety Note: I usually leave the safety tips to common sense, but I want to make sure I say this. The Whirley-Pop has little vents in the lid and occasionally some hot sugary oil can shoot out when the kernels start popping. I always put an oven mitt on the hand that is holding the Whirley-Pop in place by the handle. Just be careful! Even though the Whirley-Pop seems fun and easy to use, I wouldn’t recommend letting your kids take over the turning of the handle.**
As soon as the popping slows down (with a Whirley-Pop, this is when you can no longer turn the handle), immediately pour the popcorn into a large bowl. If you don’t do this quickly, the sugar will start to burn.
While the popcorn and sugar are still hot, pour salt on the popcorn. I always put some salt on top, then stir it up really good with a spoon and salt it again. Another safety note is to remember that this popcorn is covered in hot sugar – – you’ll want to keep little fingers out of it until it cools off slightly. But make sure to eat it while it’s still warm because there really is nothing better than fresh-from-the-pot kettle corn.
Ladybug agrees….she kept sneaking handfuls while I tried to take pictures for this post. 🙂 Seriously, though, this stuff is delicious and addictive. It’s so good that I give it away as gifts, put it out for parties, and take it to potlucks as dessert, but it’s easy enough that I can quickly whip up a batch for a special after-school snack or a treat for movie night. Although, I can neither confirm nor deny that a certain mom has even had this kettle corn for dinner…
Go make some and let me know what you think! (Here is a detailed, printable recipe if you need it:)