Kettle Corn

Well, this wasn't nearly as complicated as I had imagined. I've had this itch to make this stuff for days now. I finally got a couple minutes to give it a whirl. Kettle corn is simply corn kernels popped in oil in the presence of sugar. As it pops, some sugar gets impregnated into the popped corn and once sprinkled with a bit of salt becomes a tasty treat.

I anticipated that once I placed the sugar in the stirring mess of hot oil and kernels, it would carmelize and jam the agitator. My pessimism gleaned from many nights of troublesome reactions in the pilot plant was not warranted. This was a piece of cake and the popcorn was awesome. Sweet and slightly salty and scrumptious. Here's the prep:

Kettle Corn
1. I poured soybean oil (ca. 2 T) into the popper and placed it on medium-high heat (gas) with two test kernels sitting in the oil.
2. Once the test kernels popped, I placed 1/4 cup of generic white popcorn kernels in to the oil and ca. 3 T sugar right on top of that and started turning the hand crank on the popper.
3. Nothing happened for a few minutes. I peaked in several times (Note: This is NOT a good idea; I couldn't resist though and was flecked with oil a couple times). The sugar continued to darken but just slightly. As soon as the corn started popping it was done in a about 30 seconds.
4. I dumped it out, sprinkled the hot treat with a little kosher salt and as it cooled I broke up the resulting lumps. It was slightly tacky when hot but became crisp on cooling. Each kernel was slightly sweet, crisp and tender inside. You all need to try this.

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