[3-Pack Review] Hostess Frozen Novelties (Twinkies Cones, Sno Balls Bars, and Ding Dongs Sandwiches)

The ice cream man.

To children, he’s as revered a figure as they come. During the hottest days of summer, the jingles that play from his truck fill the neighborhood with glee. Kids sprint after that gleaming icebox-toting chariot, and immediately devour their Bomb Pops and ice cream sandwiches with huge stupid grins on their faces.

The last time I participated in the neighborhood ice cream truck chase, there was a big scene when I emptied out my piggy bank and bought the truck’s entire stash. All the kids, parents, and even the ice cream man started yelling about how I didn’t “need all that ice cream” and should “leave something for the rest of the neighborhood.” But that was last year, and I’m ready to move on. Well, except for that restraining order the ice cream man filed against me–that’s here to stay. Who needs that guy, anyway?

Luckily for me, this year’s hottest frozen novelties are now available in the grocery aisle, not in some lame dude’s cooler on wheels. Following their recent ice cream collaboration, Hostess and Nestle Dreyer’s have teamed up again to create some ice-cold handhelds for my chubby hands to hold. I enjoyed the ice cream flavors for the most part, so I was excited to snag these. These novelties, however, are all labeled as “frozen dairy dessert,” not ice cream, so it’ll be interesting to see if that difference has any effect on the overall product.

Twinkies Cones are frozen dairy dessert cones topped with golden sponge cake crumbles and sweet cream frozen dairy dessert. I can already tell typing “frozen dairy dessert” over and over again will be the most exercise I’ve gotten in ages.

The top section of a Twinkies Cone is rich and very sweet, similar to its ice cream counterpart. Its texture, however, seems slightly more gummy. Hostess’s ice cream was at least passable for ice cream in texture; this frozen dairy dessert is a step down from that. The small sponge cake crumbles are on the crunchy side, which seems off given the characteristic softness of actual Twinkies. Once you get past that top section, the rest of the cone is just vanilla frozen dairy dessert in a chocolate-lined cone. Twinkies Cones are a fun novelty, but just like the ice cream version, they’re far from perfect.

Sno Balls Bars are coconut covered vanilla and chocolate frozen dairy dessert bars. Sno Balls Ice Cream was my favorite of the three flavors, so I’ve got high hopes for these.

Biting into the Sno Balls Bar, its coconut coating reminded me strongly of an actual Sno Ball snack cake. The most prevalent flavors are vanilla, then chocolate, with coconut following last. Oddly, the vanilla layer was on the gummier side, but the chocolate center was more stiff. None of the flavors really stands out, though, and there’s no marshmallow to be found. Sno Balls Ice Cream, these frozen dairy dessert Bars are not.

Ding Dongs Sandwiches are vanilla frozen dairy dessert sandwiches with a chocolatey coating. These newcomers don’t have an ice cream flavor to be compared to, so they should fare pretty well, right?

Eh, nope. The chocolatey coating carries a decent fudge-like flavor, but it’s remarkably brittle and crumbled in every bite–that made these way less fun to eat than, say, Ben & Jerry’s Pint Slices. The chocolate wafer of the sandwich has a strong cocoa taste, but is very dry. The vanilla frozen dairy dessert is firm, similar to the chocolate layer in Sno Balls Bars. The biggest disappointment about Ding Dongs Sandwiches is that they actually taste pretty similar to Ding Dongs–they’re just a disaster to eat.

Hostess Frozen Novelties are not the novel creations I was hoping for. As I had feared, the “frozen dairy dessert” elements had their shortcomings, and each variety suffers as a result.

Somebody tell the ice cream man he can keep these.

Item: Hostess Twinkies Cones, Sno Balls Bars, and Ding Dongs Sandwiches
Price and Place of Purchase: $4.69 each at Hy-Vee
Nutrition Facts (serving size-1 novelty): Twinkies Cone: 220 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.

Sno Balls Bar: 130 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram of protein.

Ding Dongs Sandwich: 180 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.

In a Nutshell: Hostess’s frozen novelties pale in comparison to their ice cream flavors. Frozen dairy dessert < ice cream. Snack Cellar > ice cream man.
Overall Score: Twinkies Cones: 7 out of 10

Sno Balls Bars: 6 out of 10

Ding Dongs Sandwiches: 5.5 out of 10

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