Everybody! Stop what you’re doing. Hostess’s winter-themed snacks are out for the holiday season! *throws Grandma’s fruitcake out the window*
No disrespect to G-ma’s fruitcake, but if there’s one thing I love about the holidays, it’s the limited edition snack cakes. Okay, sure, I guess I enjoy the cheer and togetherness and all of that, too. But on those cold winter nights, nothing is more comforting than a box of Twinkies. Bonus: those winter nights get much less cold as you add natural insulation through Twinkie consumption. Like liquid courage, except it’s solid blubber.
In addition to fun redesigns of standard products, like Holiday Cupcakes, Hostess has released three products to help you add to your Santa belly this year: White Peppermint Twinkies, Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes, and Merry Minty Ho Hos. We’ve seen the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes before, although they were previously out around Valentine’s Day. Merry Minty Ho Hos seem to be a twist on last year’s Peppermint Ho Hos, borrowing from Hostess’s Merry Minty Holiday Cakes. And White Peppermint Twinkies are brand new this year, because you can never have too many snack cakes. Scratch that–I’ve had way too many snack cakes.
White Peppermint Twinkies are described as a “white fudge covered sponge cake with creamy peppermint filling.” Hostess’ flavored Twinkies have been hit-or-miss for me in the past, so I’m intrigued to see how they did with this one. The white fudge coating is very sweet–sugary, with a bit of vanilla to it. The filling flavor is very light, due to its whipped texture, but the mint flavor builds.
The flavor combination is decent, but I really wish there was more of the mint. It just doesn’t quite have the bite that I associate with peppermint. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback is the cake itself. It’s surprisingly dry, which is bizarre thinking back to the greasy, sticky texture of Twinkies past.
I don’t really think of chocolate covered strawberries as a holiday thing, but apparently Hostess doesn’t give a ?. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes are described as a “frosted strawberry cake with creamy filling.” That seems like a really simple description for the flavor they’re trying to achieve here…
Sure enough, the cake just tastes like a standard golden Hostess cupcake with a very slight artificial strawberry twist to it. The chocolate frosting is rich and fudgy, which is great, but unfortunately dominates the weak strawberry flavor of the cake. Eaten together, there’s a weak tanginess that somewhat mimics strawberry, but this cupcake just doesn’t taste like chocolate covered strawberries to me.
Rounding out the pack (and my waistline) is Merry Minty Ho Hos. These are described as a “chocolate cake rolled with mint creamy filling,” making them the snack cake equivalent of an Andes mint. So, fingers crossed that Olive Garden starts handing these out with your bill in the near future.
The mint flavor here is definitely “cooler” than that of the White Peppermint Twinkies. Unfortunately, these Ho Hos suffer from the same balance issues as the other flavors do. The fudgy frosting and chocolate cake overpower the mint filling. The cake is also very dry, and is only saved by the smoothness of the frosting. These aren’t necessarily any worse than regular Ho Hos, but they certainly weren’t the Andes cakes I was hoping for.
Hostess’s winter line-up features three decent-to-good options. If I had to choose one (and I really should just choose one), I’d go with White Peppermint Twinkies. But let’s be honest–all of them are better than Grandma’s fruitcake.
|Item:||Hostess Limited Edition White Peppermint Twinkies, Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes, and Merry Minty Ho Hos|
|Price and Place of Purchase:||Peppermint Twinkies/Merry Minty Ho Hos: $2.97 at Walmart; Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes: $2.98 at Walmart (1 cent more?)|
|Nutrition Facts (serving size-1 cake for Twinkies/Cupcakes; 3 cakes for Ho Hos):||White Peppermint Twinkies: 160 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 10 mg of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes: 160 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 5 mg of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein.
Merry Minty Ho Hos: 370 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 5 mg of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 43 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.
|In a Nutshell:||White Peppermint Twinkies have decent flavor combination, but suffer from weak peppermint taste and dry sponge cake. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes and Merry Minty Ho Hos are enjoyable but suffer from similar problems. 1 cent premium for cupcakes. Ho Hos’ wacky nutritional info throwing me off. Grandma’s fruitcake.|
|Overall Score:||White Peppermint Twinkies: 7.5 out of 10
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes: 7 out of 10
Merry Minty Ho Hos: 6.5 out of 10
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