Chai Kettle Corn

This popcorn is a little spicey and sweet, with just a little hint of salt for balance. It’s a perfect fall snack in every way.

I think of popcorn as the ultimate casual snack.  You can switch up flavors for variety throughout the seasons, you can make it sweet or savory, or just give it a drizzle of butter and a sprinkle of salt and BAM!  You’re set with a shareable, delicious snacking situation.

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The hiccup comes with the fall flavors at our house. Pumpkin isn’t usually my favorite, though I definitely have my exceptions {see also: doughnuts are life}. My dearly beloved husband isn’t a huge fan of all things apple, with no known exceptions besides the occasional actual apple. What are we to do with fall?

We go spicy.  Not the give you ulcers spicy, but the aromatic, gently warming kind.  Bring on the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  Throw in a little cardamom for it’s beautiful little floral hint.  In short, we can both get behind chai.

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I was so excited when Jess from Plays Well With Butter posted this recipe for home made Chai Spice Mix. I mean, her recipes always look delicious and wholesome, but I’m a sucker for making my own version of premixed or premade foods. And this one could seriously not be any easier. Just throw six spices in a jar and shake it till you make it. However, you can definitely use a store bought mix too—it’ll still be aMAZing.

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There are a few things you should know about kettle corn in general before you get started here. These little tips will be the difference between you throwing a scorched, smoking pot out your window in disgust and sitting down in front of a bowl of amazing kettle corn with minimal fuss and cleanup. So just give them a quick glance, because nobody likes burnt pans.

Notes

  • Have everything laid out before you ever turn on the heat— mise en place is your best friend here, or there will be popcorn exploding everywhere while you measure sugar, and sugar burning while you get the spices measured out.

  • Make sure you have either one large or two small baking trays set out, because once it’s finished popping you want to get that popcorn out of the hot pan as quickly as possible.

  • Use two hand mitts at all times to protect your skin from the heat. You have to shake the pan frequently, and there’s a lot of steam and hot handles going on here.

  • There will always be a few scorched pieces at the bottom of your pan. Just pick them out, toss them, and move on with life. It’s too short to worry about a handful of burnt kernels, right?


Chai Kettle Corn

Recipe by Rebecca Neidhart
Makes about 4 quarts of popcorn
Active time: 10 minutes

  • 4 Tbsp. coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

  • 6 Tbsp. white sugar

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chai spice mix (I used this one)

  • 1/2 tsp. table salt

In a small bowl, mix together the white sugar, chai mix, and salt. Measure out the popcorn kernels and set out a large baking sheet or tray.

In a large pot, heat coconut oil and 3 kernels of popcorn over medium heat with the lid on. When the three kernels have popped, the oil is hot enough. Take the lid off quickly and dump in the popcorn kernels and sugar mixture quickly. Put the lid back on the pot, then shake it quickly to spread the sugar around. Keep the pot on the heat until it begins popping again.

Allow the corn to keep popping until the count of ten, then shake it until the count of five—this prevents the sugar from scorching. Keep repeating the counting and shaking until the popping slows to about 3 seconds between pops. Quickly take the lid off and immediately dump the kettle corn out onto the baking sheet. Use a fork to spread it around and let it cool. There will be a few burnt pieces that you will need to pick out.

After the kettle corn has cooled, break up any clumps that may have stuck together with your fingers. Then, store it in an airtight container, where it will keep for up to two days.