So I decided I could surely make it at home. With some experimentation and a few minor burns, I worked it out. I have no idea how many batches of kettle corn I have made since, but I will say we have used about 75 pounds of popcorn since I figured it out!
Equipment: I use this popper kettle; it's new but fashioned the old way. It cuts down on burns but makes the stirring easy. They retail for $20-30, but are often deeply discounted right after Christmas. Warning: They really aren't made for kettle corn, so plan on replacing them every few years. It's kind of hard on them.
You will have to experiment a bit with your stove to find the perfect heat level; you need enough heat to let the steam build up in the kernels without burning.
You will need a large bowl handy; the big pyrex bowl is the perfect size.
- 1 Tablespoon cooking oil (not "popcorn" oil -yuck)
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1/4 cup sugar
- a couple of pinches of salt
- Pour the oil in the popper and turn the stove up to medium high.
- Add the popcorn and casually turn the crank to keep them moving
- When the corn begins to pop. quickly open the lid, dump in about 1/3 of the sugar, and crank like mad.
- You have about wait until the good popping resumes and add half of the sugar this time.
- Give it a couple of stirs and quickly add the rest.
- Stir like mad
- When the popping slows quite a bit, turn off the heat and dump it quickly in the bowl. Whatever is stuck the bottom will likely burn so hurry.
- Don't leave that lid open too long and don't do this barefoot!
- You will get some on the floor; dogs love it.
- You might be able to make two batches; after that it will burn right away.
- Have a wooden spoon handy to help get it out when it's done.
- Don't try to multitask; this job is like a crazy show; you will be super busy and then it will all be done.
- It'svery hot when it comes out. It's melted sugar. Let it cool off first! In about 5 - 7 minutes, it will be cool enough for even little ones.
- No butter is needed and if you add it to the kettle it burns, if you add it afterward it makes the corn soggy.
- Don't add the sugar too early or you will have a nasty burned mess that looks like caramel but tastes acrid and horrible.
PS-- was going to put a picture but got a new foster friend, so busy busy. It's nice looking popcorn. Enough said.