Tonight around eleven p.m. I was hungry for something — I didn’t know what. So, I took a drive — not really knowing where I was going.
It was pouring outside, so I drove one block to my local 7-Eleven. Once inside, I walked up and down the aisles, trying to figure out what junk food to buy.
And then I saw it — Hostess Sno Balls.
I know that you probably don’t even know what Hostess Sno Balls are, but I have fond memories of eating them as a child. I never had much of a sweet tooth, but I always had a fondness for Hostess Sno Balls.
"Sno Balls were invented in 1947," says Mike Redd, vice-president of cake marketing at Interstate Bakeries, the company that bought Hostess in 1995. Accustomed to rationing flour and sugar during World World War II, Americans were now devouring manufactured sweets, and the Sno Ball was an instant hit. Even though there never has been a TV ad budget for Sno Balls, Redd says they continue to sell, though not quite as well as their heavily advertised siblings, Hostess Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes.
It took some tinkering, though, before these perfect domes of fuzzy Day-Glo pinkness became the Marilyn Monroe of the snack rack. Sno Balls originally were chocolate cupcakes covered with ho-hum white marshmallow and shredded coconut, hence the name. Not long after, Hostess decided to jazz them up by using tinted pink coconut and, for added effect, using one white and one pink Sno Ball in each package. Later, for efficiency’s sake, two of the same color were coupled. And it wasn’t until 1950 that the icing on the cake, so to speak—the cream filling—was added.
What made Sno Balls so unique was that Hostess changed the color of them throughout the year, most notably on St. Patrick’s Day, when they turned green – and they tasted especially tasty from the green chemicals. Hostess Sno Balls also had a sexy shape to them, much like the luscious curves of a woman. What man, on seeing his first pair of woman’s breasts, hasn’t said to himself, "They look just like Sno Balls! I hope they taste as good?"
As you know, my birthday is next Tuesday. Yesterday, you asked me what I wanted for my birthday.
Well, now I know. Hostess Sno Balls.
Easy, right? Just go to Ralphs and buy them.
No. I want you to make them.
Butter and flour, for tins
4 egg whites
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 cup milk
Frosting, recipe follows
2 to 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Red or green food coloring (optional)
2 egg whites, unbeaten
6 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour muffin tins or dome shaped baking molds and set aside. Whip the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff but not dry and place in the refrigerator while you make the rest of the batter. Cream the butter and add the sugar. Continue mixing to blend well. Add the vanilla, almond and lemon rind and mix well. Sift the flour 3 times with the baking powder then add it to the butter mixture alternately with the milk in 3 additions. Fold in the whites and pour the batter into the molds, filling about 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until batter is firm to the touch in the center. Let cool in the pans then turn out so the top becomes the bottom (you may need to trim them a bit so they sit flat).
Frosting: Place all of the ingredients except the vanilla in the top of a double boiler (not over the heat yet). Beat with a mixer thoroughly. Place over boiling water and beat continuously until the frosting is stiff and holds peaks. Take off the boiling water and add the vanilla, then continue to beat until cool.
Place the coconut in a bowl and add 1 drop of red or green food coloring for a pale color. Toss until food coloring is well mixed in and the coconut is the desired color. Frost the top and sides of the cakes and dip/roll in coconut to make them look like snowballs.
Yield: 12 to 24 snoballs
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours