Saturday, April 20, 2013


Last summer, we did a mini carnival/state fair for the kids/cousins/grandkids on my side of the family. We had corn dogs for dinner, tortilla chips with nacho sauce and jalapenos, cupcakes, chocolate covered rice crispies treats on a stick, kettle corn, funnel cakes, cotton candy (my Mom has a cotton candy maker, and we bought some watermelon flavored cotton candy sugar at Zurchers), churro chex mix, etc. Nope. No one can accuse us of going over the top...right?

None of that really requires a recipe...except for the kettle corn and the funnel cakes (I will need to get that recipe from my sister, who is the one who made those...they were so good!). This stuff is so delicious! Plus, if you add food dye, you can make it any color you darn well please (red and green for Christmas, pastels for Easter, pink, red, and purple for Valentine's, green for St. Patrick's Day...go crazy).

I have a Whirley Pop popcorn maker. See here. They are $20. They come with a fun recipe booklet (where I found the recipe for kettle corn). Or, it is just a nice way to pop your own popcorn. It takes 3 minutes or less.

If you don't have a Whirley Pop popcorn maker, you can make it in a pan on your stove top. I have never done it, myself. However, on, the recipe (which is very similar...almost identical) has 4 1/2 stars and over 900 reviews. So, I think it is a good bet. I will share both versions for you.

Kettle Korn (Whirly Pop)


1/3 cup popping corn
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup popping oil (I only use about 1/8 cup vegetable oil...I just fill my 1/4 cup measure half-way)


Preheat electric stove (just above medium setting). For gas stoves, set low, never higher. Preheating is unnecessary. Pour all ingredients into popper. Stir constantly until kernels have finished popping. Quickly empty kettle corn onto cookie sheet. While the corn cools, take popper immediately to sink, run hot water into it with liquid detergent. Close lids on suds and let it soak for easy cleanup. When kettle corn is cool, break into pieces with a wooden spoon. Pick out any upopped kernels. Makes approximately 4 quarts of kettle corn.

To add color: Add a few drops of food coloring on the unmelted sugar when ingredients are put in popper. Don't squirt in one spot; it will lump. Dot small amounts around in 6 or 8 places. Store finished kettle corn in an airtight canister or jar.

To add flavor: Choose from coconut, rum, vanilla, almond, or other flavorings. Try 1/2 teaspoon in the first batch, and increase with each batch to suit your taste.

Source: This came from my Whirley Pop recipe booklet.

Notes: I use less oil than the recipe calls for because seriously, that much just isn't needed. It just makes your hands messier when you are eating it! Even with the Whirley Pop, the hot oil splatters (even through the lid of my popcorn maker). I always stir it while I am wearing oven mitts and an apron...and I stand as far back as I can!

Kettle Corn (using a regular pot)


1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels


Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, stir in sugar and popcorn. Cover, and shake the pot constantly (over the heat) to keep the sugar from burning. Once the popping has slowed to once ever 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool, stirring occasionally to break up large clumps.

Source: submitted by Sue202.

Notes: As mentioned above, the oil gets really hot and splatters. Wear oven mitts and an apron, and do not forget to cover the pot while you shake it as the popcorn is popping!

Above: Here is a picture of the mini funnel cakes topped with some powdered sugar that my sister made. Holy cow, they were good. I need to get that recipe from her!

Above: Don't forget to add some caramel sauce, jam, or pie filling to your funnel cakes!

Above: We got these containers for our carnival food from Zurchers.


Above: Yum!

Above: Rice crispy treats dipped in melted chocolate, and then sprinkles, and put on a stick.


Above: Churro Chex mix. Recipe found here.

Above: Cotton candy made with our cotton candy machine. We got watermelon flavored cotton candy sugar from Zurchers.

Above: I would just suggest making these in advance, because otherwise, you will spend the whole time making cotton candy to keep up with the kids' demand!

Above: We made some confetti/sprinkle cupcakes. We just used a boxed mix, and a canned frosting (that came with sprinkles).

Above: We got the cupcake liners and balloon picks from Zurchers.