My kids have fallen in love with kettle corn, and I have to admit I love the sweet/salty taste too. Unfortunately for them, I am unwilling to pay for a bag of popped popcorn...at least not very often. Today I found a recipe on allrecipes.com and tried it out. It turned out great! One of the commenters had a significant change to the recipe, so I will add them in to the instructions here for you.
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields 10 cups
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup white sugar (brown sugar will yield a more caramel taste)
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
Use a large heavy pot with a lid (large enough to hold all that popped corn!)
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat, with three kernels in the pot. When all three kernels pop, add in the sugar and popcorn ("sprinkle" the sugar evenly across the bottom of the pan rather than just "dumping" it in, likewise with the popcorn). Cover, and alternate shaking the pot for three seconds and let it sit on the burner for three seconds. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat, add salt to taste, and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool. Clumps will break up easily after the popcorn has cooled.
Grab potholders before you begin. The pan I used has handles on each side--it was difficult to hold the lid on and shake at the same time. Naturally everything got hot! The original recipe says to stir in the sugar and popcorn kernels. Trying to stir that made a big mess. Seriously, you're going to be shaking it. Just make sure that when you add the sugar and then the kernels, sprinkle it evenly over the bottom of the pot. That will do it. Once the popcorn started popping, I did have oil coming out from under the lid a little bit, so I kept a rag close by to wipe the side of the pot in the quick 3 seconds I left it sitting on the burner.