My love for The Snack runs deep—crunchy, salty, sweet, chewy, or otherwise. I would live on snacks if I could, and in college, I think I did. This is why I quite literally squealed with glee when I saw this new book by Lara Ferroni. She covers everything from how to make our own Thin Mint Cookies and yogurt-covered raisins to homemade Cheetos and tater tots. (Along with gluten-free and vegan versions of every single recipe. Hello!) The next chance I get, I'm headed straight to the kitchen with this book in hand.
• Who wrote it: Lara Ferroni
• Who published it: Sasquatch Books
• Number of recipes: 50 sweet and savory recipes, including gluten-free and vegan versions of each recipe
• Recipes for right now: Animal Crackers, Chocolate Snack Cakes (Ding Dongs), Peanut Butter Creme Cookies (Nutter Butters), Chocolate Mint Wafers (Girl Scout Thin Mints), Yogurt-Covered Raisins, Crunchy Cheese Puffs (Cheetos), Butter Crackers, Hot Pockets, Potato Tots
• Other highlights: While you can't exactly call a Ring Ding or a corn chip healthy (even a homemade one), the recipes in this book are certainly wholesome. Lara Ferroni takes full advantage of the flours, grains, sugars, and other ingredients that are available to us now. Ingredients like spelt flour, rice flour, muscavado sugar, and honey all make regular appearances in these recipes, and they're not just there to make us feel virtuous: it's obvious that Ferroni thought about nuances of flavor and texture, and that she chose each ingredient very deliberately.
There are a nice range of recipes in this book: ones are totally simple and doable without much forethought, and then others that require some special equipment and a clear schedule. (The Crunchy Cheese Puffs look mind blowing, but require steaming, 10 hours of dehydrator time, and then frying. Definitely a project for the committed!) There's a touch of modernist cuisine here and there where Ferroni makes use of surprising molecular gastronomy techniques, like drying cheese paste in the oven to make a powder for popcorn.
• Who would enjoy this book? Snack lovers, people looking for wholesome alternatives to processed treats, parents with school-age kids
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk by Lara Ferroni
• Visit the author's website: Lara Ferroni
(Images: Emma Christensen)