Autumn Treats: New Cookbook & Kettle Corn
The weather here has turned distinctively fallish, with some nice crisp mornings, clear starry evenings, and blustery afternoons. With the onset of these cooler temperatures I have been pulling out my wool sweaters (including the ones thrifted in August!) and dreaming of those baked goods and soups that accompany this time of year. I’ve got carrot-ginger soup in the works this weekend, but wanted to also try my hand at a sweet from a new cookbook (courtesy the Amazon Vine program), Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson. (See my review here)
This book is over-flowing with my tags after a couple perusals, and a couple of her recipes might be featured in my holiday goodie baking this year: salted caramels (a huge, huge weakness of mine), nana rodda’s peanut butter fudge, perfectly imperfect pecan pralines….the list goes on and on. The focus of this sweets book is something I came to appreciate through salted caramels: the intricacy of taste that occurs from carefully balancing sweet with salt. And she doesn’t stop at candies, but, in nicely divided sections, includes recipes for cookies, cakes, sauces, and more.
This evening, with my son’s friend over to share a movie night with us, I wanted to try something from her book for our noshing enjoyment, but realized that it would have to be something quick. I quickly settled on Old-fashioned Kettle Corn. The kids gobbled their half up in no time at all, and I’m sure it will be a repeat request this fall and winter. The best part, I realized, is that it actually tastes better after it cools and dries out a bit, which would make it fun to make for a Halloween party or other fall get-together, perhaps even served in little paper cones. And definitely with apple cider. Oh! Autumn. How I love the tastes it brings!
Old-fashioned Kettle Corn
adapted from Salty Sweets
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. fine sea salt
tip: measure everything out ahead of time as you add the popcorn, salt, and sugar at almost the same time.
1. Pour oil in a large pot with a tight fighting lid–I used my 8-qt pot and probably would have had room to double this recipe. My lid does not make a complete seal, but seemed to work. After pouring in the oil, add in 4 or 5 of the kernels and cover with a lid. Heat oil over medium-high heat. When you hear those kernels pop, remove the lid to add the rest of the popcorn kernels.
2. Quickly shake the pan to distribute the kernels. When you hear the oil sizzle (should be near to right away), sprinkle the sugar and salt over the kernels.. Recover with lid, and with pan still over heat, shake the kernels lightly for about 3 minutes, until most of them have popped and the popping slows. (Don’t wait for every kernel to pop or you may scorch your popcorn.) Remove from heat. Taste and season with more salt, if needed.
3. Matheson says to serve immediately, but as I noted above, I thought waiting around 5 minutes, at least, allows time for the popcorn to dry out. When it is first done, mine was a bit sticky and clumpy (kind of like having a light carmel on it), but I was able to break it apart and it had a nice crunch to it after about 5 to 10 minutes. A half hour later it still tastes great, and I’m guessing that sealed in an airtight container this will taste good for a day or so.