The first time I ate cinnamon kettle corn was about a year ago, when Curmudgeon, super sweet folks in Boston who play super sweet powerviolence, played a show in Waterbury. They went for a walk and returned with snacks to share, which included a bag of flavored popcorn. Someone is probably going to be weirded out by the fact that I remember a detail like this, but that’s kind of just how I roll. Though I’m still trying to scrub the antics of whatever crappy shock jock band that played that night from my brain, I enthusiastically recall how we snacked.
Anyway, cinnamon kettle corn? I had never heard of such a thing! And since I’d already been making regular kettle corn for a couple of years, I figured it’d be easy to whip up a batch at home. Turns out, I was right, and most of the long car-rides I took to shows in the following months involved huge bags of the stuff.
Initially, I thought popping the kernels in cinnamon-infused oil would give this snack the biggest flavor. While doing it that way definitely earns you points for dedication and culinary artistry, it’s really easy to burn the cinnamon, and I just didn’t find it to be worth the extra effort. So I went back to making it the ultra-simple way — just shaking on some cinnamon at the end — and honestly, I think it tastes great.
If you’re really into the way pre-popped, store-bought popcorn tastes (a little stale and ultra-flavorful? heck yeah), just store your fully-cooled popcorn in a sealed plastic bag overnight and give it a try the next day. I usually double this recipe and do that, because leftover popcorn rules.
So make this, pour yourself a tall glass of root beer, and go watch some movies, and be stoked on life and snacks. (Or, if you’re like me, still-image Youtube videos of Unseen songs and a cat puzzle. I know how to party!)
- ¼ c vegetable oil
- ¼ c sugar
- ½ c popcorn kernels
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- salt to taste
- oven mitts
- In a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, stir together oil, sugar, and popcorn until kernels are coated.
- Cover pot and place over medium-high heat.
- Heat for a minute or so, shaking once or twice for good measure, until you hear kernels begin to pop.
- Wearing oven mitts, grasp pot handles, using your thumbs to hold the lid on tightly, and lift pot just off the burner.
- Shake, hard, from side to side until popping slows down to about 1 second between pops.
- Remove from heat.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt and toss well.
- Transfer to a large serving bowl and cool fully.