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Fall Spiced Kettle Corn for the Witching Hour

It’s that time of year when everyone’s all het up about pumpkin spice flavors, which, if we’re being honest, are really just cinnamon, cloves, and sugar in most off-the-shelf snacks.

Here in my kitchen, I’m all about the other spicy flavors of fall. Deeply fragrant, a little savory, and dare I say even a little dark and witchy?

That’s the mood I’m conjuring up with my fall spiced kettle corn.

fall spiced kettle corn
Photo: Casey Barber

Like apple- and pumpkin-picking, harvest hay rides, and other flannel-ready autumn adventures, making popcorn on the stovetop is a cozy little activity to occupy you on a fall afternoon or evening.

And if the weather isn’t perfectly golden and crisp outside, you can still get all your fall feels on with this kettle corn—and then retire to the couch to enjoy it under a blanket. (Preferably a Pendleton, in my case.)

This fall spiced kettle corn gets its moody depth from a custom combination of ground spices. Cardamom , allspice, and cloves are three richly fragrant elements that pop up frequently in chai blends, so you might get a hint of that here.

fall spiced kettle corn
Photo: Casey Barber

But instead of keeping it to that familiar palette and adding cinnamon and ginger, we’re going deep into the forest with the pairing of maple sugar and sage.

Don’t use dried sage here; take the time to finely chop a few fresh leaves to release their essential oils and really help the woodsiness come through.

A little granulated sugar to help envelop each popped kernel in a shatteringly crunchy crust, and a little salt for balance, and you’re good to go.

fall spiced kettle corn
Photo: Casey Barber

It bears repeating that I believe a Whirley Pop popcorn maker is the best piece of equipment for making stovetop popcorn.

Yes, it’s a uni-tasker, but if you eat popcorn as often as we do in this house, you’ll be using it almost as frequently as your everyday skillet.

Whereas in pretty much every other instance I prefer a heavier-bottomed pan, like cast iron or stainless steel, in this case, I’m all about that lightweight aluminum for quick distribution of heat.

And the Whirley Pop’s old-timey crank method is far easier on the arms than constantly shaking a pot, in my opinion. (Especially when all my pots are the aforementioned heavier style.)

fall spiced kettle corn
Photo: Casey Barber

P.S.: This fall spiced kettle corn would also be great with a glass of apple sage cooler, if you’re headed in a happy hour direction.

fall spiced kettle corn

Fall Spiced Kettle Corn

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Fall spiced kettle corn is fragrant with cardamom, sage, and cloves, and sweetened with maple for the perfect seasonal blend of sugar and spice.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond brand kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

Instructions

  1. Whisk the granulated sugar, maple sugar, cardamom, allspice, sage, salt, and cloves together in a small bowl.

If using a Whirley Pop:

  1. Add the oil and all the kernels to the pot and place over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir continuously until you hear one or two kernels pop.
  3. Open the lid and quickly pour in the sugar and spice blend.
  4. Close and stir vigorously until all the kernels are popping.
  5. Remove from the heat once the popping slows, and stir until the popping stops
  6. Carefully pour the popcorn into serving bowls—the caramelized sugar will be hot to the touch.

If using another deep pot:

  1. Add the oil and 3 kernels of corn to the pot, cover, and place over medium-high heat.
  2. Heat without touching the pan until you hear the kernels start to pop.
  3. Uncover and add the remaining kernels and the sugar and spice blend.
  4. Re-cover and continue to heat, shaking continuously and vigorously as the kernels pop.
  5. Remove from the heat once the popping slows, and continue to shake until the popping stops.
  6. Carefully pour the popcorn into serving bowls—the caramelized sugar will be hot to the touch.

Notes

Popcorn will keep up to 1 week at room temperature in a sealed container, though it's unlikely it will last that long.

If any burnt sugar remains on the bottom of the pot, simply add water and allow to soak to dissolve the sugar.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 274mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 0g

The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.

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fall spiced kettle corn

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