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As I begin this post, we shall just gloss over the fact that I have not published a single thing here in over a month. Nobody really cares about my excuses and we’ll just pick up where we’ve left off, which brings me to my topic of the day: Kettle Corn

It’s my new thing. True, it is finicky but it is oooh so tasty. I’ve been into making popcorn lately…like a lot. I’m taking a break from it today because I don’t know how much popcorn is actually too much for one body to handle. I’m guessing I am getting pretty close to the threshold.

I’ve made caramel corn twice, which means that the very little amount of time it lasted in our house, it was consumed at anytime including breakfast. (I still maintain that if pairs well with coffee, it is a good breakfast food.)

The first batch of kettle corn I made ended up completely burnt, inedible, and had to be set out on the front porch for fear of setting off the smoke alarms.

Attempt #1 end product: failure, lesson learned: the recipe sucked, find another

Attempt #2 end product: semi-successful as I was able to eat most of it, lesson learned: much better recipe but need to remove from heat sooner

Attempt #3 end product: total success, lesson learned: remove from heat at the exact moment when you wonder if you should remove it from heat. also the saying “3rd time’s the charm” is applicable to this situation

From my multiple times making kettle corn now I have come to learn that it can still turn out sub-par despite what I consider to be my considerable popcorn making experience. I’ve also learned that it is a very precise, methodical endeavor. I must prep all my ingredients before I turn on the heat. I must follow the directions to a T.

1. Prep all ingredients. Seriously. Don’t skip this step unless you make kettle corn for a living and/or know what you are doing.

2. Melt a couple of scoops of butter and 2T vegetable oil over med heat in a large pot with a lid that actually fits it.

3. Add 1/2 cup corn (I’ve used both yellow and white and they both work fine).

4. Add 3T sugar evenly over the top of the popcorn, like so:

5. Place lid on and immediately turn heat up to med-high.

6. Wait, breathe, and mentally prepare yourself for the fast-paced action to begin. The sugar will be cooking.

7. When the first kernels begin to pop, with oven mits on, grab the pot by the handles and securely holding the lid down, remove the pot from heat and give it a shake. This helps the sugar not to burn to the bottom of the pan. Return pan to the heat.

8. Count to 30 and shake again, repeating until the popping slows.

9. Remove the pot from the heat and tilt the lid until the popping has essentially stopped. This step moves fast so be sure to pour popcorn into a large bowl as soon as you begin to question yourself if it is done. I find that as soon as I second guess myself as to whether it is done or not is the exact moment I need to get it out of the hot pot, otherwise it burns very quickly on the bottom.

10. Sprinkle in salt to taste and mix using a wooden spoon (or equivalent). I find that 1/2 tsp suits my tastes. Probably start small, though. You can always add salt but you can’t take it away!

~Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook