DIY Twinkies: How to Make Them at Home If Hostess Shuts Down

With workers continuing to strike and the company threatening to close, Hostess snack cake lovers are forced to contemplate a world without Twinkies.

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Buttery, beloved snack cakes were first created in 1930 with basic, wholesome ingredients and a banana-cream filling. Over the years, in an effort to extend the snack cake's shelf life, the butter, eggs, and milk were replaced with chemicals and stabilizers; a banana shortage during World War II made vanilla the standard Twinkie filling flavor.

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Hostess workers went on strike November 9, after a bankruptcy court gave the struggling 82-year-old company the right to impose pay cuts. The 82-year-old baked goods company (which also makes Wonder Bread and several other iconic snack cakes) has given striking employees until 5 p.m. ET on Thursday to return to work. If they don't, on Friday Hostess plans to ask a bankruptcy judge for permission to shut down, sell their assets, and fire all employees except for the few needed to prep facilities for sale.

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Hostess seems willing to make good on the threat: On Monday, Hostess closed bakeries in Seattle, St. Louis, and Cincinnati, the Associated Press reported. Customers were not affected, but about 627 workers lost their jobs.

"We simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike," Hostess Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn said in a statement on Wednesday. A union spokesperson had no comment.

Hostess has 33 other bakeries, 565 distribution centers, and 570 outlet stores worldwide. The company-wide shutdown could begin as soon as next week.

So if you can't live in a world without the Twinkie's creme-stuffed golden goodness, stock up now -- or try your hand at making them at home.

Homemade Twinkies
Adapted from Gourmet Cookbook by Joy the Baker
Makes about 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 cup milk

Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Create your own Twinkie-like molds by wrapping heavy-duty aluminum foil around a 4-inch-long spice bottle. Leave the top of the mold open so you can pour in the batter. (For a how-to video, click here.)

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute in between each addition.

Beat in vanilla and almond extract. Reduce speed to low, add half of the flour mixture, and beat until incorporated. Add milk and beat until incorporated. Add the rest of the flour, and beat until incorporated.

Spray prepared Twinkie molds with nonstick spray and divide the batter between them. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until the cakes are just slightly golden and a pick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling with marshmallow cream.

Marshmallow filling
by Todd Wilbur of Top Secret Recipes

2 teaspoons very hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (one 7-ounce jar) marshmallow creme
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine salt with hot water in a small bowl and stir until salt is dissolved. Let cool.

Combine the marshmallow creme, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat until fluffy, using an electric mixer on high speed.

Add salt water and beat to combine.

When the cakes are cool, use a skewer or a chopstick to make three holes along the bottom, moving the stick around slightly to create space inside the cake. Fit a pastry bag with a small tip and fill it with the marshmallow creme mixture (or scoop it into a re-sealable bag and snip off a tiny bit of one corner; pipe filling into each cake, using the three holes.