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Food
Food Bytes PG Cookbook The Food Chain
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Girlhood treat going into Ikea cookbook

Thursday, December 07, 2000

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A recipe from her childhood won Judy Brant of Wexford a spot in Ikea's "Family Secrets" cookbook.

"My grandmother would make popcorn balls every Christmas at her home, Sunnybrook Farm in Claysville," she said.

"They were so good -- not as fattening as candy. I still make them with my family to this day."

Ikea, a Swedish furniture chain, liked her recipe and her memory of her grandmother as a woman who was not only a farmer's wife but also taught in a one-room schoolhouse, delivered the mail on horseback and was a wonderful cook.

"We would visit her every other weekend," Brant said. "It was a working farm and, when there was harvesting to be done in the fields, they would hire hands. Grandma would then have all those men to cook for."

Brant and her husband made this season's popcorn balls last Saturday and took some to Ikea as a friendly gesture.

"Rich is an important part of making popcorn balls," she said of her husband, "because he does the dirty work -- handling the balls when they're hot."

Brant, who works full time as a coordinator of day and night courses in Adult Basic Education/English as a Second Language at Connelley Technical Institute, is also on the school board at Pine Richland School District.

She heard about the contest in the PG's Nibbles column.

The cookbook will be available free at Ikea from Dec. 21 to 24.


The accompanying recipe was not tested by the PG.

Popcorn Balls

1 cup unpopped popcorn
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup water

Cook sugar, syrup, water, butter and salt until it forms hairlike threads. Use a candy thermometer and cook to 290 degrees. Be careful.

While cooking the liquid, make popcorn -- white is best. Salt popcorn to taste. Pour syrup over popcorn and stir with a wooden spoon.

Butter hands generously to avoid being burned. Very quickly, shape popcorn balls just like you make snowballs. Wrap balls immediately in waxed paper squares. Twist end tightly to ensure freshness.



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