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Tuesday, October 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dorothy Dean presents cravings for kettle corn: Snack is perfect for Super Bowl parties, movie nights

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

January is one of the coldest months and calls for movie nights snuggled on a couch with a warm blanket and bowl of freshly popped popcorn. This popular and easy snack at home and in movie theaters also makes an appearance at annual Super Bowl parties.

But before you reach for that cellophane-wrapped microwave pouch, you must try this insanely delicious homemade version of kettle corn. Coated in a thin, sugary shell, it’s crunchy, sweet and slightly salty, and it’s certain to satisfy all your cravings.

Four ingredients and a large pot with a lid is all that’s needed to fill your home with that sweet aroma just like at the county fair. A batch is simple to make and cooks up in less than 5 minutes.

Oil and a few popcorn kernels are heated in a pot and covered. Once you hear those kernels pop, the oil is hot and ready. The remaining kernels and sugar are then poured in and covered, then here comes the fun part: You shake it vigorously every 3 seconds (I use oven mitts for this).

This ensures the sugar doesn’t burn and the popcorn is all coated. Once the popping sound slows down, it’s immediately removed from the heat and poured into a serving bowl. It’s tossed with a sprinkle of salt and has to slightly cool before serving so the coating can set.

This also can be made in a Whirley Pop popcorn maker, which has a hand-crank mechanism that continuously stirs the popcorn to prevent burning. Kettle corn keeps crisp for days when stored in an airtight container.

And with your favorite snack additions, you can turn a batch into a kettle corn snack mix. Try it with pretzels, almonds and candy-coated chocolates.

Kettle corn

Adapted from

1/4 cup vegetable, canola or coconut oil

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels

1/4 cup white sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

Add the oil and three popcorn kernels to a large heavy bottom pot and heat over medium heat. Cover and wait for the kernels to pop. Once they’ve popped, add the remaining popcorn and the sugar.

Cover and shake the pot frequently, about every 3 seconds, until popping slows. Popcorn should be done popping in about 2 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the kettle corn into a large bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and toss with a spoon. Let it cool before serving.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at

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