Kettle corn is undeniably delicious, so there’s no reason to mess with it—unless the alternative is utterly showstopping. Enter this maple-za’atar kettle corn, which is sweet and salty, yes, but also, thanks to the za’atar, earthy, toasty, herby, and punched up in all the best ways.
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tsp. ghee or clarified butter
cup popcorn kernels
Tbsp. pure maple syrup
tsp. Aleppo-style pepper
tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
Melt ghee in a large light pot with a lid over medium-high heat (make sure entire bottom of pan is coated with fat).
Add a few popcorn kernels. As soon as they begin to pop, add remaining kernels, cover, and cook, vigorously shaking pot to keep kernels moving so they don’t burn, until just-added kernels begin to pop. Remove lid and drizzle in maple syrup. Cover pot and continue to cook popcorn, shaking pot, until most of kernels have popped and the rate of popping has significantly slowed (you should only hear an occasional pop), about 4 minutes. Don’t worry if all the kernels don’t pop.
Carefully transfer popcorn to a large bowl, sprinkle za’atar, Aleppo-style pepper, and salt over. Toss popcorn with a wooden spoon to coat.
Do ahead: Kettle corn can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.