Monday, January 16, 2012

My Twinkie Defense (Featuring "Will the Real Twinkie Please Stand Up?" Quiz)


Yes, I made Twinkies.


It was a confluence of events that brought me to this new high (low?).  Last week, while walking in my neighborhood, I came upon a brand new Twinkie pan (who knew these even existed?) that someone had left in front of their brownstone.  So I trash-picked it (as we say in Brooklyn).  And then, the very next day, Twinkies were in the news: Hostess Brands, which has made Twinkies since the 1930s, had filed for bankruptcy.  With such an iconic American cake at risk, I felt compelled to bake some.

And now, we break to bring you the Will the Real Twinkie Please Stand Up? quiz.  In the two pictures below, can you identify which is the commercial Twinkie and which is home-baked?  (Answer at the end of the post.)



There are all manner of Twinkie recipes online; I used one from a wonderful blog, Joy the Baker.  Joy also provides instructions to make Twinkie molds, just in case you can't find your Twinkie pan.

The homemade version is delicious, though never having eaten a real Twinkie, I have no basis of comparison.  One thing for sure -- the homemade version is much healthier, using just nine very recognizable ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, sugar, milk, etc.  The commercial product uses more than 30, many of them unpronounceable, some of them, supposedly, made from five kinds of rocks.


In a terrific story in yesterday's New York Times, William Grimes deconstructs the Twinkie, reminding how it figures into American history and culture, from the Twinkie defense (in the Dan White murder trial) to its near inclusion in the National Millennium Time Capsule.


 I thought I might be overfilling the molds, and the finished product, below, proved me right.  But it's easy to slice off the overflow cake with a serrated knife.  And the scraps are pretty good.






The recipe for the cream filling is also at the Joy the Baker site.  It involved Marshmallow Fluff and butter, and is quite tasty.  Below is the possibly endangered Hostess display at my local bodega.



Ok:  Were you right?  In both pictures, the home-baked Twinkie is on the right.

9 comments:

  1. I picked the correct one. the other one looked "shiny". My mom used to pack a Twinkie in my lunch box along with my bologna sandwich. I suspect that "back in the day" when there was a local Hostess bakery in your town, they were made with fewer ingredients closer to your original recipe. Come to think of it, I remember a school field trip to visit the Hostess Bakery in East Akron. PLUS we could smell the bread baking when we went to church on Sunday on East Market.

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  2. @Lucky: Thanks for writing. Congratulations! If you lived closer, I'd give you the homemade Twinkie as a prize. I do suspect you're correct about "back in the day" better recipes. And I wish I had gone on that Hostess Bakery field trip. I seem to remember a trip to the Wonder Bread bakery. Hmmm...

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  3. i picked the right one too. then again, it was easy to spot because i am a twinkie expert. when i was a teenager, i counted twinkies as a food group. your twinkie looks even more delicious. hope i get to try them someday. on, and by the way, i have a twinkie cookbook. one of the recipes is for fried twinkies -- battered and then thrown into hot oil. no, i've never tried it. :)

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  4. ooops. i meant to write "oh, by the way..."

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  5. Congrats on the pan! People throw out the craziest things.... The twinkies look delicious, I could go for a homemade one right now...I'll have to keep my eyes open.

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  6. @Betty: There are so many fabulous bakeries in Chinatown (I think I've tried them all), that I couldn't imagine eating Twinkies in the face of all those real sponge cakes! Funny about deep fried Twinkies, but perhaps they're best saved for one's last meal ; )
    @Mary Ellen: Yes, trash picking can yield some real finds! Thanks for writing.

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  7. The molding for those amazing Twinkies was specially for you..I can't wait to see what you are going to make next..Thank you for sharing..

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  8. You've NEVER tried a Twinkie?? Not even in the name of research?!!!
    One of my profs said that he once had a summer job working on a twinkie assembly line. They were allowed to eat as many as they wanted while they worked, but their bags were checked by guards as they left the factory each day to make sure they weren't pilfering the products!

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    Replies
    1. Kit, no never! And I guess it's too late. And precisely because Twinkies were made "on an assembly" line is probably the reason I never ate one.

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