You've smelled it at a carnival, street fair, or farmers market. Sugar toasting and heat from a cast iron cauldron, from tasty popcorns.
It's kettle corn, and it's nothing like the light, salty movie theater popcorn. It's basically the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
You might not think that kettle corn is significantly different from regular popcorn aside from its sweet coating, but you'd be mistaken.
Yes, as surprising as it may appear, there are various types of popping corn. The American Chemical Society calls popcorn butterfly and mushroom.
Butterfly popcorn has an airy, crispy texture and a wide, flat shape. Popcorn like this is typically sold in microwaveable bags and served at cinemas.
By contrast, mushroom popcorn is robust and round. Mushroom popcorn is ideal for adding extra flavors to because of its large surface area and ridged exterior texture.
The two varieties of popcorn require distinct popping techniques. According to Best Darn Kettlecorn, oil and steam are typically used to pop popcorn in a movie theater.
As we've seen, the traditional method of making kettle corn involves heating an oil-coated kettle over an open flame.