For Christmas, I received a very unusual gift that came with the caveat that I simply MUST review it. Well my loyal reader (readers maybe? I might have more than one), that time is NOW! I was actually able to bust out the device and give it a whirl. Let's see how it all went down.
|BASK IN THE GLORY!|
The machine comes with a pastry bag attachment with several nozzles and an instruction manual/recipe book. In this instance I've opted to go with the "Classic Twinkie" recipe and the "Vanilla Cream Filling" recipe. There are also recipes for chocolate Twinkies, Red Velvet Twinkies, and a Marshmellow Creme based filling. The classic vanilla cream is "mostly corn syrup and other sugar, with some butter and vanilla flavoring". It ends up tasting nothing like standard Twinkie filling, but it's not bad. The cream took a bit of work to assemble, but thanks to my wife's help with the mixer, we got it prepped for the tasks ahead.
|Ready for squeezin', just like a large industrial bakery used to make.|
|Doesn't this just SCREAM deliciousness?|
|Helpful light is helpful. This tells me it is "hot".|
|The bold survivors of our extraction efforts. We salute you!|
|Our Control Subject|
|Ready to have the holes filled! It sounded less dirty before I typed it out.|
|I might need a cigarette.|
|Control and Test subject|
|One of these things is not like the other...|
|From this side, they look a lot more alike.|
So, as you can see, the resulting snack treats are ultimately almost but not quite unlike store-bought Twinkies. I'm thinking they need a different name to differentiate them. Something with a one letter difference to show their weird knock-off status. Twankies maybe? Let's go with Twankies. Let's crack these bad boys open!
|The Twankie really falls short in the "amount of creme" department.|
The major problem in this batch is the creme. Since I filled the cake before it was quite cool enough, the creme sort of got absorbed into the cake without really filling it, unlike the regular Twinkie, which overflows with vanilla cream-osity. Taste wise, the Twankies aren't bad at all, tasting a lot like a sweet vanilla flavored yellow cake. The creme is a nice accent to that flavor, and overall they are something I don't mind eating. They are exactly NOTHING like a Twinkie though, so if you are looking for that store bought snack cake essence, you will find no such dark sorcery here.
The machine is not terribly difficult to use, but it requires more precision and care than the packaging would indicate. This is certainly no "set it and forget it" sort of operation. It is also not a good product for kids. The hot parts get REALLY hot, and it is very easy to burn oneself on them, especially because of that top plate. The same could be said for a standard oven as well, though getting the cakes OUT of this thing is more burn prone than an oven. It is also kind of a bitch to clean, as the hot bits do NOT pop out of the machine for easy rinsing, so be prepared to wait for it to cool down, and then scrub it out with a damp cloth.
On the FACE Rating System, I give the Hostess Twinkie Maker 1 smiley face, for the novelty of it, if not ease of use or safety. The Twankies it produces I give 0 faces, as they aren't bad, but they aren't particularly good either. I think with practice I could get a lot better at making and filling these things, so the theoretical future batches might be a lot better.