When I first laid eyes on Wintermint Ding Dongs and Mint Chocolate Twinkies, in a nearly-untouched display at Walmart, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Maybe it was Thanksgiving looming around the corner or the sugar high I was pre-experiencing, but all I could think was how fortunate I am that someone somewhere started this snack food flavor arms race and I now have a legitimate excuse to eat Ding Dongs on a random Wednesday as a full grown adult. Thank you!
Right off the bat, I was drawn to the Ding Dongs. Firstly because that shade of blue in food is visually captivating, but also because I’d never tried a Ding Dong that wasn’t the standard chocolate/cream combo. Twinkies have been slinging the novelty flavors for ages now, so it’s less of a big deal.
The golden cake of the Wintermint Ding Dongs was exactly like the golden cake used in Hostess Cupcake variations – buttery, yellow, spongy with a finer texture than Twinkies’ cake. The white fudge exterior was familiar as well – a generic sugary white chocolate coating that gives the slightest snap when you bite into it. At first, I swore the wintermint creamy filling tasted like mint toothpaste. I wasn’t a fan.
I moved on to the Mint Chocolate Twinkies, which smelled and looked more like what I expected. It was made of the familiar cake you may have tasted in other chocolate Twinkie iterations – slightly greasy with a large crumb texture. Cocoa-heavy, but not dark chocolate. Here, the mint filling made more sense and felt more natural.
Then I started wondering if the color of the Ding Dongs was playing tricks on my mind. Was the freshly-squeezed-from-a-tube look making me imagine the corresponding flavor? I alternated nibbles of each cake’s filling and WHA’DYA KNOW, they actually tasted the same! I do think the cake flavors made a big difference, however – the chocolate cake rounded off the edges of the mint, giving it a less-synthetic feel. With the subtler golden cake, the mint was left to barge out in front, and its color didn’t help matters.
Overall, I thought they were both alright, but not Hostess’ best work.
You may have noticed the Try It Frozen!* on the front of the box. (I expected the * note found on the back to deny resemblance to a certain famous frosty film, but in fact, it helpfully clarifies that “Try It Frozen!” means place it in the freezer.) I did Try It Frozen, and I would not suggest you do the same. The cake fares well, but the wintermint creamy filling becomes and odd combination of too hard and too chewy.
Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: 10-cake box (Ding Dongs – 12.7 oz., Twinkies – 13.58 oz.)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Wintermint Ding Dongs), 6 out of 10 (Mint Chocolate Twinkies)
Nutrition Facts: (2 cakes) Wintermint Ding Dongs – 320 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 170milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, 35 grams of added sugars and 2 grams of protein. Mint Chocolate Twinkies – 240 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, 26 grams of added sugars and 2 grams of protein.