Caramel Kettle Corn

My sister recently invited me to participate in the Hands-Free Challenge. It basically suggests that parents spend less time consumed by their phones, computers, TV’s etc, and spend more quality time with their children. Although I have already gotten rid of my personal Facebook, I still feel like I can always spend more time away from technology and more time interacting with my son (I blog after he is asleep). The challenge reminded me of one of my favorite inspirational clips, called Things That Matter Most. In the clip, President Uchtdorf suggests that “we would do well to slow down” and that “diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the world”. This is definitely a significant incentive to pay attention to those things in our lives that really matter… and I don’t think it is a Facebook post or even a blog post. We can enjoy these things, but I hope we spend the most time with the most important things in our lives.

One of my hopes with this blog is to help myself and others create meaningful family memories in the kitchen. Some of my most significant childhood memories came from the kitchen. My mom was always willing to let me and my siblings come cook with her. She would pull up a stool, put an apron on me and hand me the spoon. Sometimes she even made awesome sound effects as we stirred the ingredients together. Similarly, I spent a lot of time with one of my aunts, in the kitchen. Even if we weren’t cooking, most projects took place at her kitchen counter. As we worked, she would chat with me and somehow sew little lessons into our conversation. As a teenager, she helped me develop appreciation for my parents at a time when I wanted nothing to do with them. It happened during casual conversation as we cut yellow ribbons for a mission home coming. 

I believe that the kitchen is the most important room in a home and it is a place where families can learn, grow and bond. I truly hope that this blog helps myself and others spend more time with the people that matter most. 

Recently my friend asked if I could show her how to make Kettle Corn. As we were in the kitchen mixing everything together, she asked if I had ever used brown sugar in the recipe. I instantly pictured 5-minute caramel corn. I had to try it! The next day I made another batch of Kettle Corn, but this time using brown sugar instead of white, and butter in place of vegetable oil. The popcorn came out coated in crunchy caramel, just like Cracker Jack Caramel Corn. It was perfect.

I love this recipe for caramel corn because all your have to do is pour the popcorn mixture into the pan and shake like you do for kettle corn. You don’t have to make the popcorn and caramel separately, mix it all together and then bake it and cool it. When the popcorn is done popping you pour out caramel corn, which is cooled and hardened in less than a minute. 

Oh, and did I mention? It only has 3 ingredients! Ya, you probably already have them in your kitchen.

Because you will be working with butter, you don’t want your heat too high or else it will burn. I suggest keeping your heat at or below medium-high (and probably not lower than medium so that your popcorn will actually pop), but this may vary depending on your stove. Basically, you want the lowest heat at which you will get steam coming off the butter.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions:

Grab a dish towel or good oven mitts. You will use these as you shake the pot and hold the lid on.
Cut the butter into small pieces, so that it will melt quicker. Put the butter in a very large pot (one that has a tight lid). Heat over medium-high heat. While the butter is heating, combine the popcorn kernels, and brown sugar sugar.
When you see very faint smoke coming off of the butter (it will almost look like wisps of steam) pour the popcorn mixture into the pot and stir with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. Stir until everything is well mixed, about 8-10 seconds. Put the lid on the pot, and grab your oven mitts or drape your dish towel over the top of the pot in a way that you can hold the pot and the lid. 
Let the pot sit on the stove for about 15 seconds and then shake the pot in every direction, so that the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom. Put the pot back on the stove for another 15-20 seconds, and repeat the shaking process.
Continue doing this until the popping slows and there are about 2-3 seconds between each pop. If the popcorn doesn’t start popping within about 30 seconds, try lifting the lid and letting a little steam out, recover, and try it again.

Pour the Caramel Kettle Corn out onto wax paper or tin foil, so that it can quickly cool. Store in an airtight container.

Crunch away! :)

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