Bite this Book: Classic Snacks Made from Scratch (giveaway)

homemade animal crackers

Welcome to Bite This Book! Each month, I feature a cookbook of my choosing, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book, good reads on Simple Bites.

She’s one of my favorite food writers, the editor of the beautifully scripted Good. Food. Stories, and now Casey Barber has delivered a brand-new cookbook, Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats that is making DIY enthusiasts jump for joy. Myself included.

With mouth-watering categories like ‘Cheesy Snacks’ and ‘Frozen Treats’, Casey’s cookbook draws you in with the promise of recreating some nostalgia in your own home. Her rock-solid writing keeps you from glancing up, and the enticing photos of snacks like her perfectly frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts will have you reaching for a pen for your ingredient list.

Every mother wants to please her children, but in the area of snacks, I just can’t hand over junk food with a clear conscience. So I’m excited to jump into Casey’s cookbook and make some homemade versions of those forbidden brand-name treats. I’m willing to bet they are going to be a hit with the kids – and pretty much everyone in the whole family.

Bookmarked already are recipes for Creamsicles, Caramel Corn, Goldfish Crackers, Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips (my favorite flavor!), Pretzel Rods, and Klondike Bars. We’ve already made and loved the Graham Crackers, which we turned into animal snacks (pictured above) for Clara’s upcoming birthday.

Oh, and watch out. Classic Snacks just might be the most hunger-inducing cookbook I have ever read. Be prepared for a serious attack of the munchies after flipping through it and reading a few recipe head notes.

Hopefully it won’t be long before you have something delicious made from scratch to satiate those cravings.

Read on for an interview with Casey and a chance to win a copy of Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats.

Classic Snacks cover

Q & A with Casey Barber of Good. Food. Stories.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you are qualified to write a book on homemade snacks!

My tastebuds have been practicing for this moment for almost 30 years. I’m a food writer who loves all things retro and nostalgic, and I’ve been a gleeful and unabashed snack eater long before I started writing and cooking professionally. As a recipe developer, I’m tasked with taking familiar food and putting a new spin on it, but in this case, I needed to use all my creative skills and kitchen techniques to reverse-engineer food and make it familiar. It was a true challenge, though a worthwhile one, to Frankenstein these snacks together. A Sno-Ball, in the end, is nothing more than a devil’s food cupcake filled with marshmallow fluff, then covered with regular marshmallow and coconut. The fun lies in assembling all of those tastes and textures in an immediately recognizable way.

2. Classic Snacks Made from Scratch is seriously hunger-inducing. What was it like developing these recipes, and did you ever have a normal dinner?

The honest truth is that I ate pretty terribly while making the book, though that was less a symptom of the junk food aspect and more a function of my accelerated writing and work schedule. Oftentimes I’d roll out of bed and immediately into the kitchen, putting my apron on over my pajamas, because I wanted to make a batch of cinnamon Pop-Tarts one. more. time. to make sure the flavors were right. Fast forward to noon, when I realized all I’d ingested so far was a cup of coffee, a few nibbles of dough scraps, and sugar. Some recipes came together quickly, but others took way too many attempts, and I would tend to get in the zone and lose all track of time when tweaking the ingredient proportions and baking times. Those of you who draw, write music, or code websites and apps know exactly what I’m talking about.

3. For someone who might think that a homemade version of their favorite junk food is too much work, what simple recipes from the book would you dazzle them with?

Dips and spreads are a really simple way to dip your toe into the pool of homemade snacks, with the added bonus that they’re fantastic for parties and potlucks. Believe me, no one will turn away a bowl of ranch dressing or Cheez Whiz! If you want to challenge yourself a bit further, easy crackers like Wheat Thins or cheddar-peanut butter crackers will get you comfortable with simple doughs, and kids can cut them into fun shapes with cookie cutters to make it a participatory process. (You don’t have to make your own peanut butter if you don’t want to, but it’s nothing more than pulverizing roasted peanuts in a food processor.) Even Cheetos are something you can roll with your hands and bake in the oven!

4. What is something you learned about yourself during the book writing/recipe development process?

My friend Megan Gordon (of A Sweet Spoonful and Marge Granola fame) wrote a great piece on reflecting on how you grow professionally and personally via the book writing process. Megan and I are very similar – first children and oldest daughters represent! – and I feel like she said it so well in her post: “I just got better from actually doing it. I suppose that’s what happens when you work and work and practice and practice.”

I’m a very determined person, a list maker, and a compulsive organizer (though a terrible budget keeper!), so I always knew I’d be able to meet my external deadlines. I just didn’t know how much capacity I had for Work with a capital W, lots of work on top of my regular work, hours of baking and revising and clarifying, I had within me. Turns out I’m a little snack-making machine when I put my mind to it!



Thanks to the publishers at Ulysses Press, we have a copy of Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats to giveaway!

To enter:

To enter this giveaway just leave a comment on this post and tell me a classic snack you’d like to be able to make from scratch.

That’s it!

(If you are reading this post via email, please note that you must enter on the blog post, NOT by replying to the email. Thank you!)

Giveaway ends Sunday, March 3, at 8:00 AM EST. Good luck to all!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

Subscribe For Free!

Like reading this post?
Get more delivered to your email inbox.


  1. I’ve just started trying to make rye crisps like the ones in Chex Mix and Gardettos. It’s a work in progress!

  2. What wouldn’t I make! I never even thought making Cheetos was possible until reading the interview – now I MUST MAKE THEM!

  3. Now that I’m starting to plan my little one’s first birthday party (it’s 8 months away, but still!), being able to make custom animal crackers for the party would be amazing.

    Oh, and Sour Patch Kids for me to munch on 🙂

  4. I want to make crackers!

  5. Ooh, I’d want to make a homemade/healthier version of Twinkies or chips or goldfish for my kids!

  6. My little boy would really enjoy making the goldfish.

  7. I’d love to make cheetos. My kids are always asking me to buy them, but I really am against the artificial colors in them.

  8. Lets see: pop tarts and goldfish top my list. Animal cookies … Maybe Cheetos. Can I win please?!

  9. Angela Adams says

    I would like to make the gummy fruit snacks and fruit rollups.

  10. Graham crackers…MMMMM!

  11. I would love to own a copy of this book. I just recently moved to New Zealand and I am homesick missing all these snacks. I just happened to open up my favorite blog and saw your post.

  12. I can NOT believe that a book could have all these recipes. Doritoes is my absolute favorite snack, but my kids have lots of other favorites! I hope that I get a free copy of this book.

  13. Lynnette Dodge says

    Don’t know which one to begin with … so many for my entire family! Animal cookies. I’m probably the only one on an airline flight that requests having those as my onboard snack! This book looks really useful.

  14. If I made goldfish crackers at home, maybe I would actually like them!

  15. I would love to be able to make cheeze-its and goldfish crackers.

  16. Annie’s cheddar bunnies. That would be super. So delish.