I can't remember if I've already told you guys this, but about 6 months ago, I gave up potato chips completely. Shane likes to have them in the house at all times and all too often I would grab the bag and just start mindlessly snacking on them. It never ended well... It was much easier to just stop eating them altogether than to try to limit myself to a few. We still keep a bag in the pantry almost all the time for Shane, but I just stay away. To be honest, I don't even miss them. That said, I definitely still crave salty snacks from time to time and popcorn has become the go-to option.
I usually just make the popcorn on the stove top, season it with a little salt and call it a day. Homemade popcorn is so good, even with just a few simple ingredients! And you can eat a big bowl without nearly the same guilt that comes with a lot of other snacks :)
The only variation I've ever had any interest in making at home was kettle corn, and I've been trying to find a good recipe for a while (probably even before I stopped eating chips). You'd think it would be easy - just add a little sugar, right? But no, I have wound up with so much burnt sugar on the bottom of pots you wouldn't believe it. Finally, I came across this recipe, and my search for amazing homemade kettle corn was over. It turns out the keys to success are twofold: use a really large pot to make the popcorn and shake the heck out of it as the kernels pop. I have had nothing but good results with this method since I started using it. This kettle corn is the perfect mix of salty and sweet; no movie night at our house is complete without it these days!
Homemade Kettle Corn
from Our Best Bites
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons sugar
kosher salt, to taste
Set a large stock pot (a big pot is key here, don't sub a smaller one) over medium to medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pot along with 3 kernels of popcorn. Cover the pot and wait - once the oil gets to the right temperature, those first 3 kernels will pop. That's your cue to add the remaining kernels to the pot.
While you're waiting for those first 3 kernels to pop, stir together the remaining kernels and sugar in a small bowl. Once the first 3 kernels pop, add this mixture to the pot. Using a wooden spoon, immediately stir, scraping the sugar from the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot.
The key to this recipe is making sure to shake the pot frequently to ensure the sugar doesn't burn on the bottom of the pot as the kernels pop. Use a dish towel or pot holders to grip the handles of the pot and the cover at the same time and aggressively shake the pot up and down and from side to side. You'll want to do this about every 10-15 seconds as the kernels pop (to be clear, you want to start shaking as soon as you add the kernels to the pot - don't wait for them to start popping).
Continue shaking the pot frequently until you can hear that the kernels have nearly finished popping. Remove the cover and stir the popcorn immediately. Season to taste with kosher salt and continue stirring. You can serve the popcorn warm or at room temperature once it's cooled.