Tag Archives: snacks

Kettle Corn Popcorn – Sweet, Salty, Crunchy

3 Sep Kettle Corn

State fairs across the nation this past summer have been enjoyed by young and old alike.  Our family has braved the crazy sea of visitors at the state fair almost every summer.  This year was different, though.  This was the first year all our boys were old enough to really enjoy it.  With our “baby” at 3 years old now, we are finally able to do more all-day excursions with everyone participating in the fun.  The kids can all go on way more carnival rides, ask a million more questions per millisecond, and eat way more kettle corn.

Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn = very crunchy, slightly sweet, and little bit salty

Seeing how our family devours kettle corn, it only makes sense to pop them up fresh at home – because popcorn is the best when it’s freshly popped, still warm from your own kettle.

Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn – unbelievably easy to DIY

My “kettle” is simply a large, heavy pot with tight fitting lid.  Otherwise known as my trusty large All-Clad pot.  You can use any such heavy pot.

Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn – so addictive

The lightly sweet, slightly salty, and super crunchy qualities of this little snack make it extremely addictive.  Every time I make kettle corn, it’s gobbled up until all that remains are the broken crumbs at the bottom of the bowl.  Honestly, I had to keep my peeps (mostly self) from popping too many of these into our mouths during the photo shoot, because there had to be some popcorn to shoot.

Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn – just a few ingredients away

Did I mention there are only 3 ingredients in this thing?  Oh, wait, it’s 4 ingredients if you count the pinch of salt 🙂  So, four ingredients it is.  Just oil, sugar, salt, and of course – popcorn kernels.  Get good quality kernels if you can, as it will make a bit of difference in how well they pop up.

Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn – healthier munchies!

Considering the common snacking alternatives, I feel pretty good about the kiddos – and me- snacking on popcorn!  To make it even healthier but still yummy, I use less sugar and light olive oil (not extra virgin, due to its lower smoking point.)  I give the correct proportions in the recipe, but feel free to play with it.  The only thing you really have to do is make sure to keep shaking the pot so your popcorn doesn’t burn.  And, try to share… if you want 🙂

RECIPE (4-5)

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup good quality popcorn kernels
fine salt

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil with 3 test kernels in large, deep, heavy pot with tight fitting lid.  Once all 3 kernels pop, your oil is hot enough.  Add sugar and popcorn kernels, stir a bit, and cover.  Shake pot vigorously every few seconds (yes, every few seconds).  I alternate between setting pot down to rest a few seconds and shaking it a few seconds.  This is a bit of an arm workout, but it must be done so sugar/popcorn won’t burn.  Once popping has slowed, remove pot from heat and keep shaking until there’s no more popping.  Sprinkle evenly with a pinch or two of salt, give it another good shake, and immediately pour into large bowl.  Break up clumps as needed, and let cool just enough to dig in!

By chewoutloud, adapted from allrecipes

Perfect Homemade Pretzels, Soft and Chewy

17 Jul soft homemade pretzels

Dear Alton Brown,
Some people say they aren’t enthusiastic about food chemistry, science, or history.  Some say they don’t get all that stuff and, frankly, don’t really care.  I admit there have been moments during good ‘ol Good Eats that I’ve wandered off.  While not all food science is über captivating to me either, I must say that I am a fan of your recipes.  I really enjoy most of your recipes.  So here’s my shout out!

soft homemade pretzels

Soft Pretzels – perfect texture on the outside, soft and chewy inside

Take these soft pretzels.  Who would have thought I’d gift my friends with homemade pretzels?  I mean, these are a treat usually reserved for mall meanderings.  Until I stumbled upon this fab recipe.

soft homemade pretzels

perfect homemade pretzels, buttery and salted

OK, why not?  I am a sucker for carbs.  And, I was hosting bake club at my place soon, so I gave it a test run.  It was phenomenal.   Us Bake Club gals made a bunch of these chewy, dense snacks to dangle in front of our hungry hubbies and kids.

soft homemade pretzels

homemade pretzels in the making

The fun, funner, funnest part about eating soft pretzels is deciding how to eat them.  Buttered, salted, plain, spicy mustard, sweet mustard, cheese sauce, parmesan, cinnamon sugar… the possibilities are endless.  We devoured our pretzels lightly buttered, with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.  My kids stuffed themselves with cinnamon sugared ones.  Something for everyone.  Mmmmm!

soft homemade pretzels

chewy pretzels, just out of the oven

How will you eat your pretzels?

RECIPE (8)

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115F)
2 TB white sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 stick regular butter, melted
vegetable oil
2/3 cup baking soda, in 10 cups of water
2 egg yolks and 1 TB water, beaten together
Toppings:  coarse sea salt, butter, mustard, cheese, cinnamon sugar, parmesan, etc.

DIRECTIONS:
Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl, mixing it in a little.  Let sit until mixture (yeast) foams.  Add flour and butter.  Mix until well combined (can use stand mixer; I mixed by hand).  Knead until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to bowl (about 5 min).  Put dough into well oiled bowl and turn dough so it is oiled on all surface areas.  Cover with damp towel and set in warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.  The actual time it takes to double depends, of course, on the temperature.  If the room is cool, I set my dough in the oven, with only the light turned on.  If you do that, just make sure you remove the dough before preheating oven!

Preheat oven to 450F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and spray with oil.
Bring baking soda/water mixture to a boil in large pan.

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.  Roll out each one into a 1 1/2 – 2 ft rope.  Lightly oil working surface if needed.  Making a U-shape with rope, cross the ends over each other and form pretzel shape.  Press ends tightly in, so they don’t come apart while baking.

One at a time, carefully lift and place each pretzel into boiling water for just 30 seconds.  This gives it that wonderful outer texture.  Return to parchment-lined pan.  Brush tops of pretzels with egg/water mixture.  If desired, sprinkle lightly with coarse salt or your choice of topping.  Bake 9-10 min., or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with butter (or not).  Cool on rack a few minutes before taking a bite.  And another.  And…

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Alton Brown