Kettle Corn: A Halloween favorite

What is kettle corn, anyway? Photo: Mary Payne Moran

LOS ANGELES, October 29, 2013  Sounds of crackle and pop, and aromas that are almost sickening sweet wafting in the air will lead you straight to a batch of some traditional kettle corn as Halloween nears. 

Kettle corn is made from hybridized mushroom corn that puffs into a perfect ball of fluffed popcorn when heated to the proper temperature of 350 degrees.  The shape and texture feel different from that of regular popcorn. Regular popcorn has a slight crunch followed by an airy fluff whereas the mushroom corn is light, airy and slightly chewy. 

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Though making Kettle Corn is not rocket science, its perfect consistency is based upon a series of steps that are, in a way, science.  With a large kettle, the temperature of the oil needs to reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit, despite the external temperature of the air. In a matter of seconds, kernels of corn are added to the kettle oil (corn, soy, peanut) and stirred to coat each kernel with the properly-tempered oil.

Then sugar is added to the kettle of corn, and if it’s not done at the right moment, the sugar could dissolve or not bond with the corn. Ultimately, if not done correctly, the kettle corn won’t be perfectly sweet.

In a matter of a few minutes, the corn is popped and almost ready to go.  Final seasonings, a light coat of salt and a quick movement through the sifting bin leaves the sweet and savory kettle corn ready to be sold to its endless line of eager customers. 

For more great cooking tips, recipes and stories from Chef Mary, visit her website at

SEE RELATED: Roast your pumpkin and the seeds for Halloween

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Mary Moran

Upon graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts in 2002, Chef Mary Payne Moran began her professional career shelling crabs at the world-renowned restaurant, Michael's in Santa Monica.  Simultaneously, she launched her own company, Hail Mary’s, founded upon the belief that good food nurtures the soul, and began catering weddings, parties and large corporate events.

In the fall of 2008, Mary began teaching her culinary skills to others.    Currently she can be found at Hollywood School House teaching her after school cooking class, and teaching her popular "Vegetables or Not Here I Come" assembly.

Most recently, Mary has launched another division in her company as well as a chef she is now also a Certified Nutritionist for high profile clients.  She helps her clients discover their healthy way of eating.  Mary has recently been published in the Los Angeles Magazine, & The New Jersey Star Ledger.

Daily she addresses cooking aficionados through her blog - Cooking with Chef Mary as well as her how-to webisodes on You Tube.

Contact Mary Moran


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