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West Bend 82386 Kettle Krazy Popcorn Popper and Nut Roaster
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- Electric 6-quart (24-cup) popcorn popper and 3-cup nut roaster
- Motorized stir rod keeps kernels or nuts in constant motion
- Simple control knob; see-through lid doubles as a popcorn bowl
- Stay-cool handles; nonstick heating plate
- Measures approximately 12 by 15 by 9-1/2 inches
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|Sold By||Available from these sellers||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Item Dimensions||15 x 12 x 9.5 in||13 x 10 x 10 in||10 x 11 x 10.5 in||8 x 13 x 13 in||14.72 x 12.76 x 8.03 in||9.05 x 10.1 x 12.3 in|
|Material Type||aluminum||Plastic||Stainless Steel||Not Applicable||Plastic||Plastic|
Ideal for anyone who loves to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and watch movies, this electric popper quickly pops up to 6-quarts of fresh, hot popcorn in minutes. The versatile appliance can also be used to make up to 3 cups of mall-kiosk-style glazed nuts or roasted nuts to serve to friends on poker night or when watching the big game. Simply turn the control knob from "off" to "popcorn" or "nuts", depending on the task at hand. The unit's motorized stir rod and nonstick temperature-controlled heating plate work together to keep the kernels or nuts in constant motion and evenly heated for thoroughly roasted nuts or perfectly popped popcorn (with very few unpopped kernels). Even more, the machine's see-through lid doubles as a 6-quart (24-cup) popcorn bowl. Simply pop, flip, and serve. Extended stay-cool handles assist with flipping the base and lid when emptying popcorn into the bowl. With its sleek, curvy design, the popcorn popper and nut roaster measures approximately 12 by 15 by 9-1/2 inches.
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There are several like this, with a motorized stirring rod and a cooking surface, but either they get poor reviews for reliability (Cuisinart), or were too expensive, difficult to maintain, scratched the Teflon cooking surface, etc.
This model is very similar to the West Bend Stir Crazy, but has two heat settings (nuts or popcorn) and - most importantly - a much thicker stirring rod. With the more basic Stir Crazy, the rod is thin and easily flexed (think coat-hanger) and diverted by the weight of the popcorn itself, causing it to be pressed into the Teflon surface while rotating, thus scratching the Teflon. This model has a MUCH thicker stirring rod (I took a few pictures and added them above to demonstrate) that never makes contact with the surface.
The popper pretty much performs like it's supposed to. I was curious to see if the lid stayed in place while popping a full batch, because is simply sits on top and is only held in place by the weight of the cover. It does in deed stay put.
It doesn't seem to matter what brand of popping corn you use. Name brand or generic seem to perform the same - very well. I have never used the butter well, because I don't like how you wind up with a few soggy bits of corn rather than all of it having a consistent flavor and texture. I've experimented some and found that simply adding several pats of butter to the oil and corn does a great job of giving you a nice mild butter flavor. I thought maybe the butter would burn, but that did not happen. I also reduced the oil by 1/2T Spoon, but don't recommend reducing the oil much more than that, since the distributed hot oil is what promotes the rapid kernel popping. I also added salt directly to the oil and popping corn at the beginning of the process, which worked well enough, but was more difficult to clean in the end. I'm also worried that it might over time scratch the Teflon surface, so I don't plan to do that again.
The bowl is moderate thickness, and appears fairly sturdy. It is not flexible, so I imagine a hard drop might crack it. Because it is a hard clear plastic, it is susceptible to scratching if you use any kind of abrasive to clean it. I'm not sure why you would, considering it only takes a bit of soap and hot water to clean popcorn/oil/butter residue, but whatever.
Finally, it comes with a few recipes in the manual. We've tried a couple and they turned out well. One of them was Scotcheroo Popcorn - which is a sort of gooey sweet treat that includes chocolate and butterscotch chips.
All together we are really, really happy with this popper. I recommend it without hesitation.
UPDATE: UPDADE: I often wonder about these reviews. 99% of the good reviews are written in the first few days of ownership. This tell you nothing of the longevity of the product. So, I am back after a year to tell you that I still love this popper. It still does a great job, and has had absolutely no issues.
I'll have to upload a pic, but upon taking the thing apart I discovered that the piece attaching the motor to the spindle is, in fact, and inexplicably, cheap plastic. That's right, the piece that's directly in the middle of the whole thing, where the heat radiates inward and outward at a high enough temperature to roast nuts is the same sort of cheap plastic you'd likely expect a $3 iphone case to be made of.
Although I am not happy with the West Bend Stir Craxy, I decided to give them another chance by purchasing this popper.
Although this popper seems sturdy, the design of the bottom part evidently gets too hot, causing the plastic bowl to melt. West Bend's solution is to design a bowl that only sits on the handle area, and not around the rim. This leaves a 1/4 or better space, which allows hot oil and un-popped popcorn to fly out of the cooker when pushed by the popping corn. I called the company, and was told this is the design of the popper and there is nothing to be done about this.
Also, if there is slightly too much popcorn being popped, the bowl will start to spin and spill popcorn.
The only solution is to pop the corn at 2/3 the normal recipe, and be aware of the possible corn coming out (i.e., be careful around small children). Keep your dog handy to eat the spilled treats.
Sorry West Bend, but I would not recommend this popper.
I will be in search of a better brand.