Valentine’s Day Twinkies (and other homemade classic snacks)

Posted By One Hungry Mama On February 11, 2013 @ 8:00 am In 24+ mos,dessert,entertaining,sweet baked stuff,valentine's day | 2 Comments

OneHungryMama Valentine's Day Twinkies

So there’s this new book and it’s dangerous. Threatening, even. At least to me. See, I’ve got a junk food past: I was raised by an uber-healthy nutrition nut and a restauranteur who lived by scratch cooking. I rebelled with a bag of Doritos in hand and fueled my teen years—at least the time I spent away from my parents—with Taco Bell and Hostess.

One look through my recipes and it’s clear that my parents made their mark. In many ways, I cook like them now, but it took a while for me to get there. To get here. While I have no real desire to eat junk food anymore (okay, except Oreos; I will always want to eat Oreos), nostalgic cravings linger. Mostly ignored, until now.

Classic Snacks Made From Scratch [1] is a new cookbook by Casey Barber, a freelance food writer, recipe developer and the editor of Good. Food. Stories. [2] A DIY fanatic, Casey became obsessed with replicating classic childhood snacks at home with (mostly) straightforward ingredients and (definitely) none of the chemical ones. You’re probably wondering which childhood snacks Casey takes on in her book, but you should be asking which she doesn’t take on. From Sour Patch Kids to Klondike bars, Cheetos to Tastykakes, if you bought it at a 7-Eleven when you were a teenager, it’s in here.

And it’s so, so dangerous. In fact, I chose to test her recipe for Twinkies even though because I don’t like Twinkies. (Never have.) I’m just not ready to know that I can whip up Devil Dogs whenever I want them.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I decided to put a festive spin on Casey’s homemade Twinkies. I baked them in a standard cupcake tin and, using a lightly oiled heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut a heart shape out of the top of the cupcakes. I added a few drops of all-natural red food coloring to Casey’s Twinkie filling and filled the heart-shaped well with pretty pink frosting.

These turned out to be adorable, tasty cakes that made my boys giddy. Honestly. While that’s enough for me, I wanted to be able to tell you how these stack up against the real deal. One little problem: I’ve only tried Twinkies 2 or 3 times and it was a long, long time ago. Perhaps I’d chosen too safe a recipe.

Lucky for you, my sister is a self proclaimed Twinkies expert. Not sure how I didn’t know this, but it hardly matters now. Her verdict? While the texture is a tad different and the filling a little less sweet, Casey’s Twinkies taste a whole lot like the real thing. Does the fact that my sister ate two in one day count as proof that she’s telling the truth? (She’ll be mad if I don’t also tell you that she’s pregnant, so two is baseline. Still.)

I cannot lie: this recipe is involved, but it’s worth it if you like Twinkies. And the good news is that these cakes are better after resting overnight and can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. So order pizza one night early this week and, instead of making dinner, whip these babies up. They’ll keep until Thursday when you can surprise your family with the sweetest Valentine’s Day treat ever.

Then, when you realize how amazing it is to be able to whip up your favorite childhood snacks without chemicals, artificial ingredients and preservatives and, more importantly, how fun it is to share them with your kids without feeling bad, order Classic Snacks Made From Scratch [1] by Casey Barber. It’s a great way to show yourself a little love this Valentine’s Day.

Homemade Twinkies
From Classic Snacks Made From Scratch [1]
Makes 16 cakes*
(Can be shared with kids 24+ mos)**

CAKE
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) cake flour

FILLING***
3/4 cup (5 1/2 ounces) granulate sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spritz the pan (you can use a canoe pan, standard 12-cup muffin tin, 3 mini loaf pans, 8″ square metal baking pans, or a split hot dog bun pan) or pan wells with baking spray; set aside. Separate the egg whites and yolks into separate large bowls.

2. Pour the sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and process for 15 to 20 seconds, until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl.

3. Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks on medium speed for about 20 to 30 seconds, until they start to froth, thicken, and lighten in color. Slowly add the ground sugar mixture and the vanilla, and continue to beat until the eggs are very thick and pale—almost off-white and creamy in color. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the flour. Set aside.

4. Using an electric hand mixer on high speed or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high, whip the egg whites into soft peaks. Stir about a quarter of the whipped egg whites into the batter to loosen it up, then gently fold the remaining whites in 2 or 3 batches, working slowly to incorporate them without destroying their fluffiness.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan; if using a canoe pan or muffin tin, fill each well two-thirds full. Save any remaining batter for a second batch. Bake until the cakes are puffy and golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Timing may vary, so watch carefully, but will be 8 to 10 minutes for canoe shapes, 13 to 15 minutes for cupcakes or mini loaf pans, and 18 to 20 minutes for 8-inch square metal baking pans or hot dog pans. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack; they will shrink and pull away from the pan sides. Then line the wire rack with waxed paper and spritz the paper lightly with baking spray. Invert the pan to turn the cakes out onto the rack. Cool completely before cutting into Twinkie shapes (if using a loaf or hot dog pan) and filling.

Make the filling:
1. Stir the sugar, corn syrup, and water together in a small, high-sided saucepan over medium low heat just until the sugar is fully dissolved and the liquid no longer feels granular. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and bring the liquid to a boil without stirring. Continue to heat until the sugar syrup reaches 235F to 240F (soft-ball stage).

2. Meanwhile, using the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed just until soft peaks form. Just before the sugar syrup reaches soft-ball stage, restart the mixer on low speed. When the syrup is at temperature, carefully drizzle it into the egg whites.

3. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip for 5 to 7 minutes, until the filling is thick, shiny, and white, forming stiff peaks. Add the vanilla (NOTE: and a few drops of red food color if you want to make it pink for Valentine’s Day) and stir for another 15 seconds (longer if adding food color) to incorporate (and achieve even color).

Assemble the cakes:
1. Fill a pastry or gallon-size zip-top bag with the filling. Use a sharp paring knife to cut small holes in the cake bottoms (a single hole for cupcakes, 3 or 4 holes for canoes or cut loaf pieces). Insert the pastry tip into each hole and squeeze gently to fill. The cakes will swell slightly as the holes fill up.

To make my Valentine’s Day version: begin by spraying a 2″ heart-shaped cookie cutter with baking spray. Press cutter into the center of the cupcake, pushing down about halfway through the cupcake. Pull out cutter and, using your fingers, carefully pull out the heart-shaped piece of cake in order to create a heart-shaped well in its place. (Don’t worry about being exact!) Use the pink filling to fill the heart shaped well.

Store the filled cakes in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week; as with most sponge cakes, they readlly do taste better after resting overnight than if eaten fresh.

Notes:
* The recipe only made 11 cupcake for me.
** While there is nothing in these that is unsafe for younger children, I recommend them starting at 24+ mos due to the very high sugar content. No matter how old your eaters—even as a special, holiday treat—be sure to serve age appropriate portions. A little of this sweet treat goes a long way with little ones. (And big ones, too. I only ate half of one!)
*** This filling made about double what I needed. It may be because I filled the cupcakes differently, but I’m not so sure. To be safe, you’ll probably want to follow the recipe as written by Casey (as shared here). If you’re fine possibly going light on filling and don’t want a whole lot extra hanging around, half the recipe.


Article printed from One Hungry Mama: http://onehungrymama.com

URL to article: http://onehungrymama.com/2013/02/valentines-day-twinkie-recipe-classic-snacks-made-from-scratch-cookbook-casey-barber/

URLs in this post:

[1] Classic Snacks Made From Scratch: http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Snacks-Made-Scratch-Brand-Name/dp/1612431216/ref=onehunmam-20

[2] Good. Food. Stories.: http://www.goodfoodstories.com

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