I'm embarrassed to admit how quickly I blew through not one, but two, bags of Tuffy Kickshaw's Sweetly Covered Corn. When I opened the fiery-sweet jalapeño addiction and the decadent whiskey ’n brown butter (made with Stranahan's) I intended to try a couple kernels of each flavor. But the small-batch treats got the best of me: After devouring half a bag of each, I had to walk away from my desk to avoid finishing them both. I polished off the rest the next day.
Clearly, chef Julie Ciezadlo (a graduate of Cook Street School of Fine Cooking) is on to something. Where caramel corn is usually treacley sweet and hard to chew, her version is lighter—almost airy—even as it's dense with flavor. The jalapeño variety really could lead to an obsession with buttery caramel corn tossed in jalapeño and cheddar dusts. Each kernel is sweet, savory, and spicy (some bites are really spicy). That fire is nicely off-set by the cozy richness—think sticky toffee pudding—of the whiskey-brown butter version. Really, alternating flavors is the way to go.
What's most fun about these treats (so named because "tuffy" is an old-fashioned term for toffee and "kickshaw" refers to an elaborate and exotic delicacy) is that Ciezadlo changes her flavors seasonally. You read that right: seasonally appropriate caramel corn! If that seems like a reach, wait until you try the holiday-minded gingerbread or the perfect-for-fall baked apple crisp flavors.
Bonus: Stay the night at the Hotel Monaco, and you might find yourself with a complimentary bag.
—Photo by Andrea Flanagan
THIS STORY WAS PART OF 5280's 20 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS!