Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hostess is back! But maybe not the best...

Just a quick editorial here for the "Motel Management Recommends" section, folks. Something I should have posted a long time ago. It is a little less important now, since on July 15th, Twinkies should be back on store shelves. I wonder how fast they'll fly off of them this time? Hostess has streamlined, and they have new owners. Plus, some of their products have been sold off. Well, that's the streamlining. I guess they kept the Twinkies, and probably the chocolate cupcakes. But, during the drought, I actually think I found some alternatives I like even better! So, let's talk about some of this stuff, beginning with my favorite Twinkie knock offs, Little Debbie's Cloud Cakes!

Okay, admittedly, I'm not a Twinkie addict. And, that's a good thing, since I carry enough extra weight as it is... (WORKING ON IT! Jeez). As a kid, we occasionally got Hostess Twinkies or Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes, and yeah, I loved 'em. I often wonder, too, just how many of our favorite old treats have gone through recipe changes, because nothing really tastes the same these days. Ever since I was a kid, I hadn't eaten either Twinkies nor Cupcakes very often. They were a rare treat. I probably always preferred the Twinkies, but then I discovered how great the cupcakes were after you popped them in the oven for a bit. Haven't done that in ages. But, I digress. I hadn't had either for a while when they suddenly disappeared off store shelves... last year? I think it was last year. Though, admittedly, I managed to get ahold of some before they were all gone. And, honestly... I was a bit disappointed in them.  They were still good, but they weren't great. The Twinkies, for example. The cream was too gooey (no, they weren't old or anything; I had been noticing this already with previous, though very spaced out, nostalgic buys of the product). Not very pleasant compared to creams I was used to from other snack cakes, especially Little Debbie's stuff, which my family was always fond of. That made me think to try their version of Twinkies, Little Debbie's Cloud Cakes, and I needed look no further after that! Yep, they were DELICIOUS! Very similar to Twinkies, of course, but as I'd hoped, their cream was much better! I honestly don't know if I'd ever go back. So, I don't want to hurt the Hostess company, but I do think you should give these a try yourself before deciding to clear the first wave of new Twinkies off the shelf at your local store.

And, that leads me to another find that was far superior, in my opinion, to the Hostess... originals (?). Look, I'm just assuming Hostess invented all this stuff. I didn't research it, and I don't remember the episode of "Unwrapped" that I'm SURE I saw once. But, yeah, my family's other favorite Hostess treat was, of course, their chocolate cupcakes. You know the ones. They also had the same cream filling, plus a chocolate icing on top with a white design. I guess they didn't copyright the looks of any of this stuff, because the knockoffs are always identical. Now, these also disappointed me in my most recent taste tests. Hostess Cupcakes had that same, gooey cream, but I think it was more bothersome in the Twinkies. But, the chocolate icing... I just didn't like it very much. It was so synthetic looking, and the texture as well. I don't remember the taste, but I wasn't overwhelmed. I had tried some others afterward, if I remember correctly, but it wasn't till I found these that I was hooked...
Mrs. Freshley's Cupcakes may not be that easy to find, I don't really know. I found them in a machine where I currently work while I try to get this site to turn a profit on the comic strip I never have time to post new editions of. They are sooo delicious! They are essentially the same as the Hostess ones, but without the issues I have with the Hostess ones. Now, Hostess apparently is tweaking theirs a bit before they come back, if what I ready recently was true, and they might actually come out to be more like these. But, as long as I have access to these, I probably will never know. These are amazing!

I discovered something else, too, when Hostess Twinkies and Cupcakes were gone away for so long. There was a need to fill store shelves and racks with other products, and this eventually led to my finally being able to find something I've wanted to enjoy again since I was a kid:: A certain variety of mini donut. 

That's right, GLAZED. Now, I love white, powdered donuts as much as the next guy. I have been known to enjoy the chocolate covered ones as well, though they are usually too stale. The crumb or "crunch" ones that took the glazed donuts' place for so long just choke me, and even worse are cinnamon and sugar powdered ones. Who can eat those? Maybe if you have a LOT of milk on hand and no other sweet treat options... But, I remember the glazed as a delicious variety from my youth, and I hadn't seen them on store shelves for years (probably a regional thing). Lately though, I've seen them at a lot of places! I doubt these Little Debbie ones are the same ones I had as a kid, but they do taste similar (though not exact) to what I remember, and they are darn good! I haven't seen that big box of them anywhere, but I have been known to grab the 6 pack  on occasion when I run across them.

And, that's practically all I have to say about the whole Twinkie and Cupcake drama. Except to mention two more products. Dolly Madison (owned by Hostess) produced another fave of mine, the Raspberry Zinger. They were like Twinkies, but coated in a raspberry sauce and shredded coconut. They were delicious! I also had only recently discovered Ding Dongs, which they didn't carry in the area I was from for most of my life. If you don't get a stale box, they're pretty fantastic too. So, with Hostess coming back as a smaller company with fewer products, and with some of the other products (I don't know, maybe all) sold off to other companies, I'm just hoping we see the return of these two other faves of mine. Let me know if you run across any! Or even some Raspberry Zinger knockoffs! I know they have fake Ding Dongs (stop giggling), but I've never seen imitation Zingers!

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