Kettle Corn with Thyme
Kettle Corn is dangerously easy to make. It's become one of my favorite movie snacks. With the Golden Globes coming up this Sunday, we've been watching a lot of movies. As a SAG Member, I get to vote for the SAG Awards. Each year the different studios send out movies for us to screen. So far this week we've watched Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, and My Week with Marilyn. Still on the viewing list: The Artist, The Descendants, Beginners, The Iron Lady and quite a few more. That's a lot of movie watching to be done and a lot of Kettle Corn to be made. I love adding a little fresh thyme to my kettle corn. It's a subtle but distinct addition.
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn kernels
6 sprigs (4 whole, two stripped and quickly minced)
A Couple Notes:
Cooking Kettle Corn is all about finding the right temperature and getting it out of the pot and into a bowl the second it's done popping. I experimented with a couple of different ways that leave you with slightly different results...
1. If you leave the heat on medium the entire time: you will have a a lighter "toast" on the corn because it starts popping a lot faster (in about 3 minutes) and therefore spends less time on the burner.
2. If you melt the butter on medium, then reduce the heat to medium low once you put the lid on: you will have a slightly more caramelized/toastier version.
It's all about individual taste and the heat of your burner. I like it a bit toastier, Kyle prefers it lighter. But either way we end up eating all of it! Just be sure to get it out of the pot the second the popping starts to space out or it will start to burn.
Put your butter, oil and 4 sprigs of thyme in a large pot (I use a three quart saucepan with a tight fitting lid) melt the butter over medium heat stirring constantly to infuse the butter and oil with the flavor of the thyme. When the butter has melted completely add the popcorn kernels and the sugar. Stir well to combine. Cover with a tight fitting lid, and either leave the heat on medium or reduce it to medium low (see the notes above).
Keep the pot tightly covered by using a towel and holding the lid in place. It can take 4-7 minutes for the corn to start popping depending on your temperature. Don't be tempted to lift the lid. That will just let out the steam and it will take longer and then it can burn. Once it starts popping give the pot a good shake (keeping it on the burner... it's more of a shimmy than a shake) every 10-15 seconds to make sure that all of the popcorn is getting coated evenly. When the popping slows down and there are a few seconds between pops, remove your pot from the heat and immediately transfer your kettle corn into a large bowl.
Allow the Kettle Corn to cool for a minute or two. Discard your thyme sprigs. Season with a bit of salt and a bit of the minced thyme. Toss, and season again. Repeat (tasting between seasonings) until your kettle corn is salted to your liking.
You could, of course, make this without the thyme.
Kettle Corn with Thyme