Saturday, October 25, 2014

Perfect Popcorn

This popcorn is perfect because as soon as it comes out of the pot, it is buttered, salted and flavored. It takes only one pan to pop it in, and one bowl to pour it into. The rest is up to the guests.

In our house we always choose peppery popcorn but this recipe should work for just about any flavor.

The relative ease of popping corn in coconut oil has transformed and simplified the already fairly easy process. Here is step by step what I've adapted from traditional procedures, and the reasons for each step.

1. Choose a good-sized pot with good heat-retaining properties. Mine are stainless over a conducting core. You want the heat to be distributed over the whole bottom of the pot. You'll need a lid, of course.

2. Pour about 1/4 cup melted coconut oil into the pan, or scoop some out of the container it's stored in. (When I purchase coconut oil, which I do in gallon tubs, I melt it and pour it into pint canning jars for ease of use. Then when I want it liquified I place the jar on a saucer and put the whole thing in the microwave for a minute or a bit longer. Or I can scoop out the solids from the wide-mouthed jar.)

3. Turn on the heat fairly high to start heating pan and oil. Add 5 kernels of popcorn to the pan and sprinkle 1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt into the pan.

4. Have ready 1/2 cup popcorn and 2 tablespoons of butter, room-temperature if possible. Fridge-temp will do. Also have a sprinkling of cayenne ready, or about 1/2 teaspoon.

5. When 3 or 4 of the 5 kernels in the pot have popped, act fast. Add the butter, then pour in the popcorn, sprinkle on the cayenne, and close the lid fast. Then turn down the heat to medium.

6. Start shaking right away. You don't want any piece of popcorn in contact with the bottom too long. The popping should begin quickly.

7. Continue shaking back and forth, and let the top vent to get some of the steam out. (The steam is made when the water inside each kernel of popcorn super-heats, then is released when the kernel pops.)

8. When the popping has stopped for several seconds, take off the lid and pour the popped corn into the waiting bowl.

9. Eat! It will be buttered, salted, and flavored. If you want to use onion salt or other flavored salts, reduce the added salt or omit it. If you would like to have a caramel-flavored popcorn, add 1/2-1 tsp sugar in place of the cayenne. Be careful! Caramel is hot and sticky!

This recipe makes a very large batch for 2 people, and will disappear quickly with 4.

By heating the heat-tolerant coconut oil first, then adding butter and popcorn, the corn doesn't have a chance to burn before the whole potful is popped (with possibly the exception of a few kernels).

Questions? I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions! This recipe is of course naturally gluten-free.

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