In December, when I decided to do this series, I made a list of 52 items that I wanted to make. I had already found recipes for some of them, I have actually made some of the others and frankly, I have no idea how I am going to make some of the items on my list. The point is, this is a year of experimenting and perfecting...and sometime, failing.
This week, I had intended to make homemade Hostess DingDongs. I researched them and thought I had found the right recipe (I hadn't really read all of it, though). When I finally sat down and read closely, two things stopped me from even trying it. First of all, the ingredients called for wax. Part of the reason I am making homemade items is to stop the weird ingredients from entering my kids. Wax, as in candles, is just not on the list of acceptable foods. Secondly, the note at the bottom of the recipe said that I would end up dirtying my entire kitchen and many dishes. That sent any remaining red flags into the air, thus condemning the recipe before I even tried it.
So, plan B. What else does Hostess make that we like? Twinkies, Fruit Pies, Snowballs, Cupcakes. I decided to try the cupcakes. They seemed the easiest.
First, make chocolate cupcakes. You can cheat and use a mix or you can use this basic recipe:
2/3 cup butter
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla and water. Sift the dry ingredients and add, beating 2 minutes. Pour into greased muffin tins (2/3 full) and bake 350 for 20 minutes or until done.
For the filling, I decided to make a 7 minute frosting because it's like homemade marshmallow fluff.
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 egg white
1/4 tsp vanilla
Bring sugar, cream of tartar, salt, corn syrup and water to boil. Cook until sugar dissolves. Start beating with a hand mixer and add the egg white. Beat about 7 minutes (hence the name) or until it looks like marshmallow fluff. Add the vanilla. Cool.
At this point, I filled a cake decorating bag with the cooled frosting and put a simple round tip on the end. I poked the side of the cupcake and injected the frosting. Upon thinking about it, I would fill from the top in the future, because the chocolate frosting will hide the hole.
To finish these puppies, frost with chocolate frosting. Now, real Hostess Cupcakes have a ganache on top, not a real frosting. It's made by simply combining 1 cup chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp butter, melting them together in the microwave, stirring until smooth and spreading over the cupcakes. I didn't do that. I had leftover cream cheese frosting from a banana cake and didn't want to waste it. So, I added cocoa and a bit more powdered sugar to it and use that. Sorry, no white squiggles on top.
Everyone thought they were pretty darn tasty, though, and I was happy that I could pronounce all of the ingredients.