Popcorn. Some love it, some hate it, some can't help but inhale it. Most people have a favorite....movie popcorn, caramel corn, white chocolate popcorn and the often sought after kettle corn. I have been know to give popcorn in goodie bags at Christmas (need I say white chocolate popcorn again?) and it is great as a favor for showers when put in a cute container or cello bag tied with a pretty bow.
Kettle corn is quick and easy to make and is easily colored to match the decorations at any event or just to make it fun for the family. St. Patrick's day anyone?
I use a Whirley-pop popper but have also done it in a large pot. I you are using a pot you want to make sure it is at least 6 quarts and should be about as wide as it is tall to allow the popcorn to bounce around enough. If possible, when using a large pot place the lid just slightly off center to allow a bit of steam to escape. This allows the kettle corn's crisp coating to stay ....well crisp and not get as sticky from the steam. It is important to have everything ready. Lay out the parchment paper have the rubber spatula ready, measure out the ingredients and have them within reach at all times.
Kettle Corn (Colored Kettle Corn)
1/2 cup oil (canola, peanut, coconut all work well)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
10 drops of liquid food color of your choice (optional)
Whirley-pop pot or 6 quart pot with a lid
Pull off about 2 feet of parchment paper and lay it on the counter. Measure out all your ingredients.
Add oil and food coloring if you are using it, to the pot. Stir. Heat oil over medium heat for about one minute. Add the sugar and popcorn kernels, stir and cover with lid, or close the top of the Whirley-pop pot. Heat popcorn until it begins to pop, turning the crank of the Whirley-pop occasionally. If using a large pot shake the whole pot occasionally. When the kernels begin to pop begin cranking (or shaking) continually until there are about 2 seconds between pops. Remove from heat immediately and pour out onto the waiting parchment paper. Using your rubber spatula, spread the popped kernels out as quickly as possible. Sprinkle with salt to taste immediately. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
Break up any large chunks of popcorn that have stuck together. Serve.
My step mother Amy taught me how to make this and my family has been enjoying it for years since. Got to love it!
Note: Adding the popcorn kernels to heated oil instead of cold oil allows them to be fluffier when it pops. When adding the kernels to cold oil they absorb more of the oil softening it. The harder the kernels the more force it takes to explode therefore giving you a fluffier piece of popcorn.