MISTAKE NOT TO BE REPEATED, Part I:
Brown Sugar Kettle Corn
Many a great dish has been founded by experimentation, and I’m as big a supporter as any of seeing where new ingredients and combinations take you.
Recently I bought some brown sugar, and I’ve been substituting it for granulated in a number of dishes — pancakes, steel-cut oats, cookies — mostly with good results. There was, however, one instance disastrous enough that I must warn you never to try yourself: Brown Sugar Kettle Corn.
I’ve made kettle corn with maple syrup according to the recipe described before, and it was fine, though the liquid sputtered a bit when I added it to the hot pan. With brown sugar, however, this is what happened:
The sugar immediately melted together and stuck to the bottom of the pan. With vigorous shaking it still did not spread and coat the kernels, but rather congealed and started to smoke. Meanwhile, the kernels weren’t popping. They took an inordinately long time to start — two to three minutes on medium-high heat — and by the time the popping was done, the popped corn and the sugar were completely burned, the room smoky, and the bottom of the pan scorched. Rather than a rusticated take on the classic treat, the corn tasted like it was scraped from the bottom of a tar well.
So take this lesson and don’t try this at home.
(At least, don’t try it the way I did. After the debacle I did some research and found a recipe with brown sugar, but you melt the sugar, butter and salt into a syrup first, and pour that over already popped corn. But that’s not true kettle corn in my book…)