REVIEW: Hostess Chocodile Twinkies

Hostess Chocodile Twinkies

I am an animal.

An animal with all the habits, flaws, and self-imposed delusions that accompany being a carbon-constructed mammal with opposable thumbs, and thus I found myself appreciating all these animal traits as I put those opposable thumbs in my special lunchtime skill: ripping open the cellophane wrapper of a snack cake.

I’ve eaten enough Ding-Dongs, Yodels, and other snack-cakes-with-onomatopoeic-names to fill the pages of a small comic book series. Needless to say, I was celebratory in discovering that Hostess’s former West Coast exclusive, the Chocodile, had been reintroduced and expanded its horizons, migrating to shelves around all around this fine country. If you, like me, find yourself clawing for the Zingers and Sno-balls, shaking the vending machine for that last pack of Zebra Cakes, that one Oatmeal Crème Pie, come, fellow snacker, and we shall delve into plastic-wrapped horizons.

Hostess Chocodile Twinkies Chocodile in its natural habitat

I can think of 12 good reasons why a miniature oblong cake is better than a cupcake. One is that you are now equipped with a contextually sensible way to use “oblong” in a sentence. Another is that the cake specimen has equal frosting distribution. In a cupcake, there’s often a glob of frosting, pillowing at the top. Even worse, sometimes, you even have to play favorites: do I want the cupcake with the sprinkles or the one with the fancy frosting ribbon on top? Then, you have to fight for the one you want before someone else gets it (“Get away! That’s my frosting ribbon!”).

Here, not so much. Every cake is the same. Not only do you get a glaze of chocolatey something enveloping your cake in an even layer, but you also get crème filling all the way through. There’s no overwhelming decision-making. No “perfect ratio.” No, “Should I go for the middle first, or save the middle bite for last while sacrificing my fingers as they’re trying to work around the edges so I can save the pile of frosting?” None of that. It’s equally massive poofs of frosting. All day. All the time.

Needless to say, I’m excited. Just crackling open that thin plastic wrapper is enough to take me back to the days of elementary school cafeterias and Chuck E. Cheese Birthday cakes.

Hostess Chocodile Twinkies Chocodile doppelganger

And the first few bites were pretty good, but as I continued, the magic descended at madcap speed. It was the chocolate that started it all. Tasting of burnt cocoa and stubby crayons, that shiny mahogany glaze seems as though it might be better suited melted down and repurposed as a wax celebrity at Madame Tussaud’s. There was perhaps a hint of cocoa in there, but, on the whole, it had all the excitement of candle drippings, old raisins, and Sad.

The saving grace came in the crème filling. Like the classic Twinkie, this crème is poofy and tastes of Betty Crocker frosting that’s been pummeled into a Marshmallow Fluff machine. Or Marshmallow Fluff that’s been pummeled into a Betty Crocker frosting machine. Either way, there’s definitely sugar in celebratory abundance. While made of questionable ingredients, I could scoop this with my paw and eat it like a Pooh bear.

But not even those sweet hydrogenated poofs can save the cake. While I enjoy traditional Twinkies for their spongy, slightly oily character and fake vanilla-y flavor, this thing was like eating a loofa. A dry, unflavored loofa. The crème gave it the sugar it needed to upgrade its taste to that of a stale, dry doughnette, but, overall, that Loofa Cake combined with a raisin-wood-wax coating? No bueno.

Hostess Chocodile Twinkies Quick Batman, get some milk for that loofa cake!

I wish I could glorify these Chocodiles. I love weird finger cakes. Snarfing a double-snack-pack is my special lunchtime skill. I may have ordered a case of expired Twinkies 8 months after Hostess shut down (Moldy Twinkies, people. Moldy. Twinkies.). So I’d really like to give these a sparkling grade. But I just can’t. Sure, the crème was good, but…loofa cake. Waxy coating. To say it lived up to its Hostess brethren would be a lie. Lies are no good for you. No good for me. However, let me take note that these are not inedible, and, in fact, are far better than other experiences I could imagine in my life, such as perpetual B.O. or death by toilet paper.

So if you like loofa cake, stale doughnettes, and things that are marginally better than death by 2-ply, go for it. Otherwise, I’d approach with a wary step.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cake – 170 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Hostess Chocodile Twinkies
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 9 cakes
Purchased at: Met Foods
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Even frosting distribution. Good crème-to-cake ratio. Poofy, sugary crème. Wrapper is excellent way to exercise your opposable thumbs. Better than death by toilet paper.
Cons: Loofa Cake. Waxy-woodsy coating. The fight for the frosting ribbon. Madame Tussaud’s. Wrestling matches with vending machines. Elementary school cafeterias.

REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Extreme Creme Blue Raspberry Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition Extreme Creme Blue Raspberry Twinkies

Maybe mutants are a problem. Hey, I know, it’s easy to love the X-Men. Wolverine—so cool! Beast—so smart! Storm—so strong! Yeah, yeah, we get it. Being a mutant represents being different. It doesn’t matter what your race, creed, religion, sports team, Sex in the City archetype or toilet paper roll orientation is. We need to accept everyone. And we do! (Even though “under” is so the wrong way.)

We love the X-Men. That’s the central theme of the X-Men. But it’s never really challenged. In the Marvel Universe it never seems reasonable as a reader to hate or fear mutants. The human beings in that world—the mutant haters—seem insane, uncool and scared. Living in the time we do now, it’s tough to relate to building an explicit case against others just because they are different. That is, until Hostess Extreme Creme Twinkies Blue Raspberry.

Let’s get down to it. This stuff is outwardly ugly. Not just Eric Stoltz in Mask ugly, but…well, okay, Eric Stoltz in Mask ugly. It’s a Twinkie with blue cream inside. This blue cream soaks through the undercarriage of the Twinkie and combines with the yellow cake to make a spotty, dark spinach green color. Frankly, it looks moldy.

Hostess Limited Edition Extreme Creme Blue Raspberry Twinkies bottom

The color of the actual cream inside is like Play-Doh or a racquetball court or a poisonous frog. This is gag reflex ugly. I had a visceral reaction the first time I turned one over, tossing it quickly from my hand like it had cooties.

Regular Twinkies with white cream don’t look like this. Is it because the white cream doesn’t show up against the yellow that it doesn’t look like an oblong cupcake drizzled with melted crayon? Why does this one look so weird? It looks gross. And thus begins the line of thinking that might end up writing discriminatory anti-blue Twinkie legislation, or an anti-blue Twinkie military task force. The Twinkie work camps would be filled with small Hostess baked goods and the Blue Man Group and a chubby Blue Ivy, with all the cakes she could ever want. They hammer out license plates to that Eiffel 65 song.

If it tastes good, though, forget it. All is forgiven. I’ll eat a steak that looks like Eric Stoltz in Mask if it’s not overcooked. Actually I’d prefer it. A steak that resembles a “normal” human face would be considerably smaller. So do blue Twinkies taste good? No. Well, they’re fine. Thing is, they are blue raspberry flavor. And blue raspberry has this lip curling, wooden, sour taste with a note of bitterness at the end. Certainly that sounds interesting, if not appealing.

But are we eating interesting things here? Are we at a Thomas Keller restaurant in search of a tastefully balanced, nine-course meal designed to tantalize and expand the notion of food and eating in general? Pretty sure we’re eating a piece of sugar stuck into another thing full of sugar.

Hostess Limited Edition Extreme Creme Blue Raspberry Twinkies Innards

The cream is not pleasant at first. After the inaugural bite I grimaced like a kid being told I would have to buy all the X-Universe comic books that summer because of some dumb crossover. (Age of Apocalypse excepted.) The amount of sugar doesn’t counter balance or round out the blue raspberry flavoring, so that’s pretty much what you’re getting all up in your mouth.

It’s pretty different from the fluffy sweetness you get from a regular Twinkie. After you know what’s coming a second taste is easier and after a third, the uniqueness is almost admirable. That first impression, though, is a doozy because it’s so different. I imagine I would feel that way if I saw a human being covered in blue fur with a cat face and Frasier’s voice too. Or eating some tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

They look gross, they taste kinda gross, but to be fair that’s because we aren’t used to them yet. It’s tough, because it’s both disgusting yet a little cool that we as human beings are so comfortable just eating stuff that are colors that don’t really exist as food in nature. We should all be a little more accepting, and blue Twinkies are the first step.

Keep in mind, however, Extreme Creme Blue Raspberry Twinkies are not a cool X-Man. They are not Nightcrawler or Blink or Psylocke or anyone undeniably compelling and powerful. They’re more like that kid Cypher who could read fast or Dazzler or that guy in the third movie with spikes coming out of his face. Okay. I got it. Regular Twinkies are comforting and these blue ones are strange. Not necessarily bad, but definitely strange.

Twinkies are handsome Eric Stoltz, and blue Twinkies are Eric Stoltz in Mask. He could’ve be an X-Man, by the way, if the guy with spikes in his face is one. Buy up Mask and reboot it already, Marvel. This new movie has a talking tree. Give me a break.

Roll credits for this review. Fade to black. Nick Fury comes out of nowhere and asks Eric Stoltz in Mask to join the Avengers. He hands Nick Fury a blue Twinkie. Nick Fury eats it, spits it out. Thomas Keller picks it up, adds it to menu at Per Se. They all retract spikes from their faces and laugh.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cakes – 270 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 35 grams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Hostess Limited Edition Extreme Creme Blue Raspberry Twinkies
Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: 10 count
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: After first taste, serves as a unique change of pace from regular Twinkies.
Cons: Twinkies are comfort food, and this isn’t comforting. Blue food is unsettling.

NEWS: If The Mayan Calendar Is Wrong, Lemon Meringue Twinkies Are In Your Future

Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie2

Earlier this year, Hostess had Twinkie fans vote for the next Twinkie flavor. And, while they were voting, Hostess introduced the next Twinkie flavors, Chocolate Creme and Strawberry & Creme. So, technically, fans got to vote for the next next next Twinkie flavor.

Anyhoo, Lemon Meringue was victorious in that flavor election, capturing 35 percent of the vote. Raspberry Tart was runner-up with 33 percent, while Cookies n Creme and Blueberry Pie had 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

So get ready Twinkies fans for Lemon Meringue Twinkies…in 2012. Yes, in seven months or so you’ll get to enjoy these new Twinkies, which, when released, will be available for a limited time. Although, if the Mayan calendar is correct and the world ends, forget what I said in the previous sentence.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Hostess Chocolate Creme Twinkies

Limited Edition Hostess Chocolate Creme Twinkies

I must admit, I’ve always felt like a bit of a traitor eating Twinkies.  See, I grew up in the central Jersey/Philly region, and that’s Tastykake turf.  If you’ve never heard of Tastykake, that just means you live outside the tri-state area — in the old days, the company refused to use preservatives, so their products could only be transported a certain distance before their shelf lives expired.  (This is also why I never bought Tastykakes from vending machines, because seriously, who knows how long that shit’s been in there?)  But as a kid, you don’t care about supporting local businesses or fighting the power — you care about eating the stuff you see on TV, especially if it’s shilled by Twinkie the Kid.  So I ate plenty of Twinkies growing up, both of the regular (mmm) and light (pure, unadulterated taste abortion) varieties.  But in all those years, I never had one that strayed from the vanilla creme standard.  That’s about to change, as Hostess has released two new limited edition varieties of Twinkie, chocolate creme and strawberry creme.  As part of my ongoing quest to never eat a fruit that isn’t apple, we’ll be taking a look at the former.

In contrast to Tastykakes, Twinkies are nothing but preservatives.  If you stripped all the preservatives out of a Twinkie, you’d be left with a 1-inch ball of sponge cake.  It would not surprise me to learn that these “limited edition” Twinkies were originally created to commemorate America€™s bicentennial; they just ended up with a lot sitting around the warehouse afterward, of which you and I are now the lucky recipients.  Not that I care, mind you — no organic food purist I —  but I thought it was worth mentioning.  Really though, people eat Twinkies for nutritional value the same way they go to Hooters for great food at affordable prices.  Let’s just tear into one of these things and see what’s what.

I don’t know if I got a bad batch or if I need to change the prescription on my rose-colored glasses, but the first bite of Twinkie was a huge let-down, and it didn’t improve much from there.  Actually, I suspect it has nothing to do with nostalgia or improper packaging and everything to do with the filling.  Let’s face it, you can get shitty sponge cake anywhere; what people buy Twinkies for is the creme filling.  And as it turns out, there’s a good reason why Hostess uses the vanilla stuff.  I had been laboring under the delusion that chocolate makes everything better, but consuming just one chocolate creme Twinkie showed me just how wrong I was.  It’s my sad duty to report that while chocolate may make MOST things taste better, Twinkies are a tragic exception.  It might just be the flavor combination — I like chocolate creme, I like sponge cake, but put them together and the flavors don’t mesh nearly as well as you’d expect.  If a regular Twinkie is more than the sum of its parts, the chocolate creme Twinkie has to be considered far less.

Limited Edition Hostess Chocolate Creme Twinkies Innards

That wasn’t my only beef… joking aside, these Twinkies might indeed have been produced during the Ford administration for how the sponge cake tasted.  I remember Twinkies from my youth being soft and moist, but these were tougher — not totally stale, but on their way — and kind of dry.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that even if these had had vanilla creme inside them, I still would’ve paused after the first bite to wonder if they’ve changed the way they make Twinkies in the last decade.  If so, I urge Hostess to follow Pepsi’s lead — I want my Twinkies Throwback.

It’s a sad day for any of us when the cherished bits of our childhood are retooled to be more edgy or to have more mass appeal, only to end up sucking harder than letting your wife control the TV.  (We meet again, One Tree Hill.)  We’ve seen it happen with the Transformers and G.I. Joe, with Star Wars, with New Coke.  Fortunately chocolate creme Twinkies are only limited edition, and Hostess has no plans to phase out the regular variety.  That’s good news, and if I were you, I’d stick with the classic.  Points for trying something different, but if you’re going to be ingesting that amount of sugar and carbs, you want it to be worth your while.

(Nutrition Facts — 1 cake — 160 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 220 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Hostess Chocolate Creme Twinkies
Price: $3.99
Size: 8 cakes
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Tripping nostalgic.  Being able to keep food on the shelf for longer than a week.  Twinkie the Kid.  Trying something new.
Cons: Bicentennial Twinkies.  Finding out chocolate doesn’t make everything better.  Dry sponge cake.  The Transformers movies.  “Something new” tasting gross.  Brown filling in a Twinkie just looks… wrong.

NEWS: New Limited-Edition Chocolate Creme and Strawberry & Creme Twinkies To Make Stoners Say ‘Whoa’

Twinkies

Hostess, the snack maker with the mostess, introduced two new limited-edition flavors: Chocolate Creme and Strawberry & Creme. They’re releasing these new flavors as part of their Twinkie Mania promotion, which allows Twinkie fans to vote for a new Twinkie flavor filling.

The choices fans will get to vote for are: Raspberry Tart, Cookies n Creme, Blueberry Pie, and Lemon Meringue. The winning flavor will become a limited edition flavor.

Personally, I’m glad Twinkies has released some new flavors because I was bored with getting fat from the plain old vanilla creme ones. It almost got to the point of me replacing “as boring as the missionary position” with “as boring as Vanilla Twinkies” in my everyday language.

The new limited edition flavors are available now nationwide.