Sunday, November 1, 2009
The Autumn Crunch: Stovetop Kettle Corn
Posted by Neal at Sunday, November 01, 2009 Labels: caramel, caramelized, crunchy, kettle corn, popcorn, snack, sweet
Mulled apple cider, the smell of burning leaves, touch football -- what isn't there to like about fall?
[Editor's Note: Or, as the Pasta Burner calls it, "the last few days while it's still not winter."]
It's a great season, especially for those of us in the Northeast. One of my favorite things about the season are the preponderance of apple festivals around the region -- but it's not the apples that I'm excited about. You see, where there's apple festivals, there's kettle corn; delicious, hot, just slightly sticky-sweet kettle corn.
The big secret, however, is that you don't have to wait for the whims of Mennonites to enjoy this delicious fall snack. Do you have five minutes and a pot that has a lid? Oh, good. Let's get cooking.
Stovetop Kettle Corn
Makes Eight Cups
4 Tablespoons Vegetable (not Olive) Oil
1/2 cup Popping Corn Kernels
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 Cup Pecans (optional)
Start by cooking your oil over high heat until it shimmers, about one minute.
Pour in your corn kernels. Shake your pot to coat each kernel with oil.
After 30 seconds, pour in your sugar. Cover the pot tightly.
The sugar will clump initially, but will eventually dissolve into a liquid state. Using one hand to hold the lid on tight, and the other to agitate the pot, shake the pot well over the heat as the corn begins to pop. Be sure to shake it vigorously, or the sugar syrup will harden and burn to the bottom of the pot. Pull it off the heat when the "pops" slow to one every three seconds. If you're using pecans, pour them in at this point.
Next, pour the popcorn onto a large plate. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt, and, if you're using it, the cinnamon.
The popcorn will be molten hot; if you touch it at this point, you could sustain some serious sugar burns. Let it rest for two to three minutes, and then, after touching it carefully to check the temperature, mold it firmly into a tower-like shape. This really isn't necessary -- it just makes it look cool. Serve while still sticky and warm! The final product:
Once you realize how easy it is to make this, you'll be kicking yourself for having done without all these years. This is fast, quick, and cheap. And yeah, you might burn a batch or two at first. But stick with it; the results are more than worth the work.
Burning Pasta will be on hiatus next weekend as the Pasta Burner and I head out of town. Technically speaking, it's a working vacation; that being said, I have a feeling we'll find time to enjoy ourselves. Look for an update on November 15th -- we'll see you then.
Music: Giggletoot -- "Kettle Drum Polka"