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.
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 marypaynemoran.com
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