One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year: a gallon of maple syrup from the small town of Wolcott, Vermont (thank you Nancy). A gallon is enough to have fun with, unlike most times when I'm only lucky enough to have a quaint half pint, which I hoard and selectively drizzle on special occasions only.
While winter pruning today outdoors, the thought of fairground kettle corn leapt into my brain. The sweet, salty, crunchy combination born from those dark kettles can't be beat. The thought did not go away. So naturally, I came home and did what any snack obsessed person in my situation would do, and hashed it out in the kitchen.
If I closed my eyes while I crunched on the perfect, sea-salted, maple concoction, I could almost hear the faint music from the ferris wheel.
Maple Popcorn: (serves 4)
*3 tablespoons refined coconut oil
*1/4 cup maple syrup
*3/4 cup popcorn kernels
*sea salt to taste
*The key to this recipe is getting the temperature just right. Too low and the corn will not pop. Too high and the maple syrup will quickly burn. A standard medium heat does well.
Begin by placing a large heavy pot (fitted with a lid) over medium heat. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and a dash of sea salt. Allow to heat until gently bubbling. Add the popcorn and cover with a lid. Keep a close eye on the liquid. If it begins to brown, lower heat slightly.
Once corn begins to pop, keep the pot moving over heat to keep from burning. Once popping tapers off, remove lid quickly (keeping any condensation from dripping onto popcorn).
Immediately transfer to a large metal bowl.
Sprinkle with additional sea salt and enjoy.