Today I ruined Josh's favourite food. I am the meanest wife in the world. But the good news is, if you love kettle corn like me, you're in luck! We are making homemade kettle corn aaaaand I've got the secret to perfectly popped popcorn. No popcorn maker needed. Just good old fashioned stove top popcorn. Let's be kids again!
Josh's favourite food is actually movie popcorn. As in, he will buy the biggest bucket of buttered popcorn you can get and I have to get my own small one.
Apparently I missed the memo that "what's yours is mine" does not apply to movie snacks. Which doesn't actually bother me too much. I'm more of a kettle corn kinda girl (especially when you throw a bag of Maltesers through it...do it!)
If you're unfamiliar with kettle corn, it's basically popcorn with salt and sugar. Team salty & sweet strikes again. Don't get me wrong, I do love buttered popcorn but kettle corn is my jam.
The key to perfectly popped popcorn is this. Heat up the oil in the saucepan along with 3 or 4 popcorn kernels. When those kernels pop, that it your indication that the oil is hot enough. Adding the rest of the kernels now means that the popcorn will pop faster and more evenly resulting in less un-popped kernels at the end to break your teeth on.
If you're just making regular popcorn you can let the popcorn do it's thing and just give it a shake every now and then. If you're making kettle corn it needs a little more attention. When the popcorn kernels go into the pot, so does the sugar and salt and putting sugar into a hot pan is going to make some magic happen. If the pot just sits on the stove you are going to end up with a big black smoky mess - not fun to clean up. Or to air out your house in the middle of winter.
Easy fix - pick up the pot and shake it every 20 seconds or so and then once the popcorn starts popping fast, pick it up and shake it hard every 10 or 15 seconds, resting it back on the element between shakes to maintain the heat. This is the key to the sugar sticking to the popcorn, not to the bottom of the pot.
I can't even DESCRIBE the feeling of pure joy I felt when that popcorn started popping. Not even kidding. Plus the salty & sweet combo is epic - best popcorn I've eaten.
Please go and pop yourself some popcorn right now...it's so fun!! Aaaand on a side note it seems I might need to get out more.
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- 1 ½ TBSP neutral oil rice bran/canola/vegetable or coconut oil would also work
- 2 TBSP sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Set aside.
- In a medium sized saucepan add the oil and 3 popcorn kernels, put the lid on the pot and turn the heat to medium to heat the oil.
- Once the 3 kernels have popped, remove the lid and add ¼ cup popcorn kernels. sugar and salt and using a rubber spatula stir it all together.
- Put the lid back on and cook over the medium heat for about 2 ½ to 3 minutes. Shake the pot occasionally to start with and then when the popcorn starts popping, shake the pot vigorously every 10 seconds or so until the popping slows down.
- Once the popping slows down to a few seconds between pops, remove the pot from the heat. Even if there are still a few pops happening you want to take it off the heat as it can burn very quickly. Total popping time on my stove took about 2 ½ -3 minutes.
- Tip the popcorn onto the prepared baking tray and spread out using your hands and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pick out any burnt pieces (there will always be a few).
- Serve immediately. You can keep the popcorn in an airtight container or ziplock bag for a couple of days but it will start to lose the crunch.