Sunday, March 26, 2006

Food Goes Here: Kettle Corn

[A question: How do you make popcorn bad for you? Some people like butter and salt. Some people like caramel. Sometimes I go for both. Then I snort some powdered sugar and freebase some crisco. Eventually, my heart stops beating like a hummingbird's wings. Anyway, "kettle corn" is what happens when you take your popcorn to a place where sweet and salty are neighbors who carpool to work and don't have to drink from separate fountains. Most recipes will have you cooking the popcorn together with the sugar, and while that may work at the county fair, it's a real bitch at home (stuff burns at different temperatures, and then everything burns, and then you are sad). I've found that the best thing to do is to pop a bag of microwave popcorn (one that's salty), make some caramel, and then throw the two together. It's pretty simple, takes like ten minutes all told, and can be made with things you probably have on hand. Mmm...diabesity.]

What you will need:

1 bag o
f microwave popcorn
3 TB of sugar
3 TB of water

1 ts of corn syrup (optional)

What to do:

1 - Pop the popcorn.

2 - Add the sugar, water, and corn syrup to a very clean, large non-stick skillett.
3 - Bring the sugar-water to a boil over medium high heat. Swirl the pan occasionally (and carefully)

4 - Eventually, the water will evaporate, leaving you with boiling sugar. Boiling sugar is hotter than the sun, so be careful. It also wants to crystallize and make your life hell before you can turn it into caramel. That's what the teaspoon of corn syrup is for; it helps inhibit the production of crystals; you can make it without the corn syrup, but be careful.

5 - Take the popcorn out of the microwave, open it up.

6 - Watch the boiling sugar like it is your dayjob. This won't be hard, because boiling sugar is oddly hypnotic. Like watching a fire. Eventually it will turn, well, caramel c
olor. Don't go too dark or it'll go from "nutty with hints of vanilla" to "burnt tasting."
7 - Turn off the heat, and dump the popcorn in the pan.
8 - F
old the popcorn into the caramel with a spatula as best you can (be careful, the pan is still hot, and you can burn the caramel, so don't take too long).
9 - Once the popcorn is pretty well-coated, pour the mixture into a bowl.
10 - Wait like 30 seconds as it is still hot as hell. Eat.

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