We made twinkies.

That’s right. We made twinkies. Long a childhood favorite, we probably buy about two a year to appease the Hostess monster that lives inside of each of us. Several years ago Mr. Pea bought me a twinkie-making kit. We tried a few batches with little success. But the other day we resolved to try again. And lo, we have finally hit upon success. This is not for the faint at heart, people: no one who likes to really work for their baked goods should attempt this recipe. For those of you who like to put a little effort in, this is for you. If you don’t have a twinkie pan, you could likely make cupcakes instead. The twinkie pan (hostess actually sells this) has eight slots; eight cupcakes would work, too.

The recipe for the cake is a sponge cake recipe. This means that it contains no fat, but requires you to separate eggs and beat yolks and whites separately. I was smart and started greasing and flouring the twinkie tin (it’s notoriously sticky: we’ve lost many a twink as they stuck to the pan or fell apart as we tried to remove them), so Mr. Pea got stuck whipping egg whites. I manned the yolks once the tin was done. You’ll need three eggs. Sugar is added to the yolks and they’re beaten until thick. Whites are gently folded into yolks, flour and baking powder are gently added, and then some vanilla. They bake for about 20 minutes. I’m not giving you extensive details here because the fine site Chow has done the hard work already for me. They’ve also taken a stab at ding-dongs and those oatmeal cookie sandwich things that Little Debbie makes.

Once they’re done, you let the cakes cool a bit in the tin and then gently pry out. Cupcakes would be easier in this respect. Once they’re completely cool you can fill them. Keep in mind that these aren’t going to quite taste like twinkies: they’re less artificial tasting, a bit eggy. They’re like a mature twinkie, and by that I don’t mean one that has sat on a shelf for 20 years.

The filling is another little project. Recipes that I found googling “twinkie filling recipe” were intended to frost and fill an entire yellow sheet cake, or 24 twinkies. I had to cut it into a third to get it to work without leaving us with oodles of frosting. This took some fancy fractioning. You’ll need:
1/3 c milk
1 3/4 T flour
2 2/3 T butter, softened
2 2/3 T shortening (we use non hydrogenated stuff from Whole Foods)
pinch of salt
1/3 t vanilla

Put the milk and flour into a little saucepan and turn the heat on low. Whisking always so it mixes and doesn’t stick, cook until it thickens. Mine thickened really suddenly and I had to sweep it off the heat. Allow to cool. Once cooled, put in a bowl with the other ingredients and beat until fluffy. This will take about 8 minutes with a hand mixer. This stuff tastes JUST LIKE twinkie filling. Or ding-dong filling. We had enough filling for at least two 8-twinkie batches, so we’ve frozen the rest. We’ll see if that works.

These are really good and worth the effort. My next attempt will be apple hand-pies that can be frozen and reheated on demand, so the occasional desire for those awful Hostess Pies (it happens) can be appeased.

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