I believe that reports of the demise of the Twinkie is being blown slightly out of proportion.
Yes, the company has entered into a liquidation phase of its existence, but I know in my heart of culinary hearts that there will be a rebirth of the confections that have been a part of Americana since the 1920s.
Interestingly, the original Twinkie was way different from what is on the grocery shelves. The filling was, if you can believe it, banana cream, not vanilla. After World War II, vanilla became the filling flavor.
Since diehard foodies are known for not letting something as annoying as a product being unavailable stop them from enjoying what they want, I am going to go out on a limb here and say make your own Twinkie. Todd Wilber, one of my favorite cookbook authors, has been re-creating iconic recipes for years, and he has created a fabulous recipe that tastes almost the same as the original. A little work, yes, but so worth it.
Faux Twinkie Recipe By Todd Wilber
4 egg whites
One 16-ounce box golden pound cake mix
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons very hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups marshmallow cream (one 7-ounce jar)
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
You will also need a spice bottle, approximately the size of a Twinkie, 10 12-by-14-inch pieces of aluminum foil, a cake decorator or pastry bag and a chopstick.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fold each piece of aluminum foil in half twice. Wrap the folded foil around the spice bottle to create a mold. Leave the top of the mold open for pouring in the batter. Make 10 of these molds and arrange them on a cookie sheet or in a shallow pan. Grease the inside of each mold with a light coating of nonstick spray.
Disregard the directions on the box of cake mix. Instead, beat the egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl combine cake mix with water and beat until thoroughly blended (about 2 minutes). Fold egg whites into the cake batter and slowly combine until completely mixed.
Pour the batter into the molds, filling each one about 3/4 of an inch. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
For the filling: Combine salt with the hot water in a small bowl and stir until salt is dissolved. Let this mixture cool. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the marshmallow cream, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla; beat on high speed until fluffy. Add the salt solution to the filling mixture and combine.
When the cakes are done and cooled, use a skewer or chopstick to make three holes in the bottom of each one. Move the stick around inside of each cake to create space for the filling.
Using a cake decorator or pastry bag, inject each cake with filling through all three holes. Serves 10.
6 Hostess Twinkies or Little Debbie Cloud Cake
4 cups vegetable oil
Flour for dusting
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar to taste
Freeze Twinkies overnight. In a deep fryer or large sauce pan heat the vegetable oil to about 375 degrees. In a bowl combine the milk, vinegar and oil. In another bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk wet ingredients into dry and continue mixing until smooth. Push sticks into Twinkies lengthwise, leaving about 2 inches to use as a handle; dust the Twinkie with flour and then dip it into the batter. Flip it a few times so that it’s totally coated. Place the coated Twinkie into the hot oil (stick and all). The Twinkie will float, so hold it under with a utensil to ensure even browning. It should turn golden in 3 to 4 minutes. Depending on the size of your deep fryer, you might be able to fry only one at a time, two at the most. Remove the Twinkie and drain it on a paper towel. Remove stick and allow Twinkie to sit for about 5 minutes, and dust with powdered sugar if desired before serving. Serves 6.
3 Hostess Twinkies or 6 Little Debbie Cloud Cakes
2 green fruit leather roll ups
Assorted dried fruits
Assorted fruity decorative candies
Slice the Twinkies into pieces about an inch tall. Slice fruit rollups in strips to be long enough and wide enough to wrap around the Twinkie pieces. Place dried fruits and candies into the cream filling. Place the Twinkie rolls on a plate. Garnish with strips of dried mango (kind of looks like pickled ginger). And serve them with chopsticks.
Note: You can use crushed cookies or black sprinkles (like caviar) or even crush up a Butterfinger to look like the fried onions.