No need to miss the Twinkie — make your own

By Lisa Abraham, Akron Beacon Journal
Posted Jan. 22, 2013, at 4:27 p.m.

The store shelves where the Hostess display used to be have been bare for two months as the sale of the snack cake company inches its way through layers of legalities.

Buyers are anxious to take over the name and start producing Twinkies and other snack cakes again, and it’s likely that a sale will come soon.

But that’s little comfort if you’re hankering for a Twinkie now.

Of course, you don’t have to wait to have one of those cream-filled golden sponge cakes. Twinkies are pretty easy to make at home, and folks have been doing it for years.

It was one of the first recipes that Todd Wilbur ever cloned.

Wilbur is the author of the Top Secret Recipes cookbook series, in which he takes brand-name foods or chain restaurant menu items and replicates them for the home cook.

His first book, “Top Secret Recipes,” came out in 1993, and the Twinkie clone was in that book.

Since the demise of the Twinkie in November, Wilbur said his website, www.topsecretrecipes.com, has seen a significant increase in traffic from “people looking for a home-brewed way of making a Twinkie.”

His recipe calls for a boxed pound cake mix, which makes it easy to replicate. However, Wilbur, now at work on his 11th “Top Secret” book, said he may try to make a recipe completely from scratch to include in the new book.

Wilbur’s first cloned recipe was Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip cookies. Since then, he’s tackled everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken to Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

He always begins by looking at the ingredient list on the side of the box. Twinkies had 37 ingredients, many of which were thickeners or preservatives.

Contrary to popular belief, Twinkies won’t last forever.

“It looks exactly the same, but it smells terrible. The oils go rancid and it gets petrified; it turns into a rock,” he said.

Wilbur said most folks find that when they make Twinkies from scratch, they enjoy them more than the original.

Akron, Ohio, resident Judith Farrar made her own Twinkies several years ago, when she was looking for a more healthful snack for her kids.

She said they were good, but she didn’t continue to make them because her kids preferred her homemade cupcakes and brownies to the cream-filled snack cakes.

“I used a sponge cake recipe. I made the filling with butter, cream and powdered sugar and poked holes in the bottom with chopsticks to fill,” Farrar recalled.

Cookbook author and food blogger Alana Chernila, in her book “The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making” (Crown Publishing, $24.99), offers a completely from-scratch recipe for cream-filled snack cakes. Her recipe is a bit denser than a commercially made Twinkie, but the filling is tasty.

The cakes aren’t difficult, and as Chernila notes, making the foil molds for the cakes will take longer than making the batter.

Twinkie-shaped pans, called canoe muffin pans, are available on the Internet or through commercial bakeware stores. One pan will cost about $25.

Most folks who bake the cakes at home make small foil molds. The process isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming and uses a lot of foil, which is expensive. Simply cut a piece of foil into a 12-by-14-inch rectangle, fold twice and mold around a spice bottle about the size of a Twinkie.

Jennie Naraway of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, made Twinkies for the first time recently, after hearing the news that Hostess was shutting down its operations.

She opted to make them in the shape of whoopie pies because it was easier to bake and fill them that way. Making them in a cupcake pan is another foil-saving option.

Naraway used a recipe from Cleveland chef Michael Symon, which he demonstrated on his television show “The Chew.” (Find the recipe here: http://abc.tv/YrxUyq).

“I did it because I hadn’t eaten one since I was a kid. My child had never touched one. Then, after all this, I made them at home,” she said.

Naraway said she won’t be making them again because they were “too good.”

“While Michael Symon’s recipe obviously lacks the distinct chemical taste of the original Twinkies, it is still a very high-fat recipe, especially the filling,” she said.

Wilbur said he is confident the Twinkie will be back soon and it will be identical to the one everyone remembers.

“They will be back, without a doubt,” he said. “Don’t worry. Be patient. In the meantime, make my recipe to hold you over. Eat it quickly, though, because it’s not the same 37 ingredients,” he said.

Todd Wilbur’s Cloned Twinkies

Makes 10 snack cakes

For the cakes:

Nonstick spray

4 egg whites

1 box (16 oz.) golden pound cake mix

2/3 cup water

For the filling:

2 tsp. very hot water

¼ tsp. salt

2 cups marshmallow creme (one 7-ounce jar)

½ cup shortening

⅓ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

You will need a spice bottle, approximately the size of a Twinkie, 10 pieces of aluminum foil, 12 by 14 inches each, a cake decorator or pastry bag and a chopstick.

Preheat the 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 ¾ inch full. 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.

Cool completely and remove from molds.

For the filling, combine salt with the hot water in a small bowl and stir until salt is dissolved. Let this mixture cool.

Combine the marshmallow creme, shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and mix well with an electric mixer 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.

www.topsecretrecipes.com

The Cream-Filled Snack Cake

Makes 12 cake

For the cakes:

Cooking spray

1½ cups sifted cake flour

2 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

2 large eggs, separated

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup whole milk

For the filling:

4 tbsp. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, at room temperature

4 tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make 12 foil molds for the cakes. Spray the insides of the molds with cooking spray.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the wire whip attachment until the whites hold soft peaks. Gently transfer the beaten whites to another bowl and set aside. Rinse the mixer bowl and dry it thoroughly.

Put the butter in the mixer bowl and beat with the paddle until the butter starts to get light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat again until fluffy, about 2 more minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, and beat to combine.

Add a third of the flour mixture to the mixer bowl, beat for a moment, then add half the milk and beat for a moment. Add one more third of the flour, beat, then the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour. Make sure that the flour and milk are entirely incorporated. Then stir a third of the beaten egg whites into the batter. When that is fully incorporated, gently fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites.

Use a pastry bag to pipe the batter into the prepared molds, filling each one just under halfway. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes start to turn golden and a cake tester or toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool entirely.

Unwrap the foil from each cake, and use a knife to make a 2- to 3-inch cut in the bottom. The cut should go about halfway into each cake. Wash the pastry bag and the mixer bowl.

To make the filling, combine the shortening, butter, salt, powdered sugar and vanilla in the mixer bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Scoop the filling into a pastry bag and stick the tip into the cut at the bottom of each cake. Keep squeezing the pastry bag until the filling begins to leak out around the tip of the pastry bag. Then it’s ready.

— Adapted from “The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making,” Alana Chernila

©2013 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/01/22/living/recipes/no-need-to-miss-the-twinkie-make-your-own/ printed on August 29, 2014