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Sweet & Spicy Kettle Corn

June 26, 2011

This sweet, salty, slightly spicy kettle corn made a great snack while my local arts group was holding a yard sale fundraiser this weekend.  Last year, Ames Collaborative Art (Ames painted a mural in Campustown celebrating the diversity of the local community.  This year, our annual project will be an ArtVend machine that sells the work of Iowa artists and crafters on consignment.  Wheatsfield Co-op has agreed to host the art vending machine, so if you’re in Ames, look for the project to launch this Fall.

In the meantime, use any sort of popcorn kernels you like (I used heirloom ruby) to make this crunchy, satisfying snack.  The ancho chile powder adds an interesting flavor and just a hint of spiciness to this salty-sweet treat.

Sweet & Spicy Kettle Corn

1/2 cup raw sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ancho chile powder

1/4 cup canola oil

2/3 cup popcorn kernels

Mix together the sugar, salt, and ancho chile powder in a small bowl and set aside.

Use a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid to cook the popcorn.  (Make sure the lid fits tightly enough that steam and hot oil won’t seep from under it and burn you while you’re shaking the pot!)

Heat the oil and 3 kernels of popcorn over high heat with the lid on the pot.  When all 3 kernels have popped, the oil is hot enough.  Add the popcorn to the pot, and then pour the sugar mixture on top of the popcorn.  Immediately lid the pot again.

Wearing potholders to protect your hands, lift the pot by its two handles while also holding down the lid.  Swirl and shake the popcorn thoroughly to distribute the sugar mixture.  To prevent the popcorn from burning during cooking, let the pot sit on the burner for 8 seconds, then shake the pot for 8 seconds, then set the pot back on the burner for 8 seconds, then shake for 8 seconds, and so on, until the popcorn finishes popping.

Carefully pour the hot popcorn into a heatproof bowl and let cool before eating.

Shelley and Kristin enjoy some kettle corn while running the yard sale. (You can tell by Kristin's face how delicious the popcorn is...!)

  1. June 27, 2011 10:47 am

    Hey! What a great community effort and what a great cause … go public art! Go local artisans! That popcorn looks terrific too! Love the spicy element to that sweet salty taste combo!

  2. June 27, 2011 2:11 pm

    Thanks, Susan! We’ve got a pretty great community here, as long as you make the effort to go out and get involved somehow. (But isn’t that true of most places?)

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