Black Pepper Kettle Corn

This kettle corn is so satisfying—it’s salty, sweet and a little spicy. © Quentin Bacon

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

Being a urban dweller for most of my life, I’ve never been to a state or county fair, so for a long time I was unfamiliar with such classics as corn dogs, funnelcakes or kettle corn. The first time I saw a big, copper cauldron of kettlecorn bubbling away at the flea market in Aspen, Colorado, during my first year at the F&W Classic, I was more than just a little intrigued.Popcorn is my kryptonite—it doesn't even matter what type: caramel, cheese, chocolate, movie theater, Cracker Jacks (anything but microwave).

Recently I sampled some new popcorn products from G.H. Cretors, and loved them all. But hands down, kettle corn reigns supreme in my book! It’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet and exquisitely crunchy (the sugar creates a microscopically thin coating that makes the exterior delicately crunchy). Short of getting my own copper kettle, I think my method using a nonstick saucepan is pretty good. The most important thing is to keep moving the pan and have a bowl sitting next to the pot before you get started! SEE RECIPE »