the writing and photography of Neil Kramer


Dear Sophia,

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.


Clone of Hostess Snoballs

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


  1. Wendy

    You got me on this one. I was sure you were going to ask Sophia for another kind of snoball. What a relief!

  2. Michele

    It’s nice to see that there are men who know what they want.

    I can’t stand coconut. There’s another reason it would never work between us.

  3. MA

    Wow. Would Sophia really make those for you?

    I never had one of those.
    (and there’s no way to not make anything you say about this product sound dirty. haha.)

  4. The Retropolitan

    If I were you, I would’ve asked for Ho-Hos.

    Man, everything Hostess makes sounds vaguely erotic.

  5. brandon

    lord, ‘…perfect domes of fuzzy Day-Glo pinkness became the Marilyn Monroe of the snack rack.’

    could there be any more innuendo in this description?

    they should have just called them hostess fun bags and been done with it.

  6. mariemm3

    I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

  7. Pearl

    Neil, how about Sophia make you the “Sno
    Balls” and I bring you real SNOW balls next week…

  8. Dagny

    I cannot believe that there is a recipe for those things. I personally was a fan of the cupcakes.

  9. Sammy

    Yes, but do they have the shelf life of a real hostess snoball? (I seem to remember it being several years.)

  10. Tracy Lynn

    If she actually makes you those things, then you know it’s love, man. It can’t even think about eating them.
    More of a Twinkies girl myself.

  11. Rabbit

    All you want for your birthday is dessert? Are men really that easy to please?

  12. Miss Golondon

    helpful hint with the coconut part (i bet you have not really tried these out in your test kitchen): add the food colouring drops to a tablespoon of milk first, then sprinkle the colour-milk over coconut and mix until the colour is as even as it can be. happy birthday from London!

  13. Kevin

    I’m just thankful I wasn’t the only one who saw the innuendo in your entire post. Be it intentional or not, it was there.

  14. Leesa

    This is great:) I haven’t had one of these in years. I wonder if they are better homemade?

  15. cruisin-mom

    Stick with the Twinkies, Neil. You never know when you may need that “defense”.

  16. Tim

    Where does the killing of the giant whale fit into this post? Are whales allergic to frosting?

  17. AWE

    Don’t forget to add the green chemicals.

  18. Bre

    Ugh. Snowballs? Really? Growing up outside Philadelphia, we have a wonderful indulgence called the “Tastycake,” which come in a wide variety of wonderfulness.

    Don’t judge your Snowballs as Marylins until you’ve tasted a REAL dessert!

  19. ms. sizzle

    a) sno balls are my FAVORITE EVER (and everyone looks at me in horror when i admit this but it is true)

    b) i once tried to make them from scratch with ice cream and they really did look like boobs. well, melted boobs.

    i wish sophia luck.

    🙂 sizz

  20. Neil

    Wendy — Call me naive, but I don’t know what the other “snoball” is. Does it have something to do with putting my testicles on ice?

    Michele — What kind of weirdo hates coconut?

    Dagny — if you search for “secret recipes” you can find a recipe for everything!

    Rabbit — Anything that looks or feels like boobs and men are happy.

    Miss GoLondon — Maybe I should move in with you. It sounds like you can make these babies in your sleep.

    Cruisin — I never liked Twinkies. And too much trans fat.

    Awe — On St. Paddie’s day, we’re all Irish.

    Bre — Philly cheesesteak — good. Tasycakes — thumbs down.

    Sizzle — Why am I not surprised that you love them? Are we not soul mates?

  21. Wendy

    It’s from the movie Clerks. It’s harder to find a definition online than I thought it would be! But here is a def (last one is the most common definition)…. And no ice is involved.

  22. Ed Bremson

    Sorry, I just have to respond to this post, purely in a spirit of love. Hostess Sno Balls might be very bad for your health. I haven’t looked at a package of them lately, but I think there is a good chance they contain a lot of fat and calories. They might even contain partially hydrogenated oil, I don’t know. The Sno Balls from our youths were probably very different from the ones of today. I stopped eating most junk food because it is so bad for my health.

  23. Neil

    Wendy — Jesus, am I going to get a lot of weirdo googling for this post. I should have kept my original less-controversial title, “These Things Look Like Tits.”

    Ed — Thanks for the advice. My cholesterol is high, so I am very aware of these things. Hey, you’re not really my mother posing as Ed Bremson, telling me not to eat this junk? Mom, is that you?

    I always drink Pom pomegranate juice with my Sno Balls, so the antioxidants counteract the Trans-fats.

  24. Rachel

    Yes – your other title would have been far less controversial (LMAO).

    It’s nice that you want something simple and you tell her exactly what it is. So many people say they don’t want anything, and then get pissy when thats what they get, or they give no indication as to what would be welcomed or eagerly anticipated.

    If I miss it, happy birthday!

  25. Jack

    Moonpies sound awfully fine just now.

  26. Alissa

    Neil my dear, I believe we share the same birthday – March 7th?

  27. Neil

    Alissa — Hey, that’s so cool. We’re like the two Pisces fishes swimming next to each other and never even knowing it!

    It’s also RACHEL WEISZ’s birthday — so there must be something about incredibly good looking people being born on that day — look at the three of us. It must be the stars!

  28. Alissa

    It is totally the stars. Happy Early Birthday Neil.

  29. Mel

    Oh, Jack! Moon pies and RC cola.

    I always liked sucking the cream out of the twinkies… never got the knack of sno balls.

  30. Tatyana

    I can’t believe you asked Sophia to hand you her breasts on a plate.
    Even for your birthday.

  31. Heather B.

    Make sure you take pictures of sophia’s version.
    I really never liked them, but instead enjoyed Zingers, which were raspberry and coconut. yum.

  32. miss marisol

    My male version of Sophia is a pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton and you will be pleased to know that they make a gourmet version of the pink snowball in the shape of a heart every year for Valentine’s Day. They are delish-ee-ooh-soo.

  33. TWM

    Dammit, I missed out on making all the obvious jokes because I didn’t check this post soon enough.

    I am hungry though.

  34. Danny

    Sno-balls are the best! I even wrote about them once on Salon magazine. Will you and David Sedaris PLEASE stop stealing my work? Nothing was better than than those fluffy, soft orbs. As a kid I could enjoy a Hostess cupcake in a pinch but even then I knew that Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho-hos, and Suzy-Qs were the chemistry experiments gone wrong.

  35. Danny

    And my sugar rush reverie has made me so jittery that my comment is riddled with mistakes. I say your birthday present to us should be a preview feature on your comments section!

  36. Carly

    I’m really glad you didn’t fall into the 7-11 microwaveable burger trap. You might not have emerged alive.

  37. chantel

    I think the Hostess company is a front for a small time porn ring. Think about it; Ho Ho’s, Ding Dongs, Snowballs and Twinkies?

    But seriously, snoballs are better to look at, not so much to eat. I like the ding dongs the most.

  38. ACG

    yeah, but when you make them at home you don’t get all those good chemical preservatives that I believe has increased Americans’ life expectancy (if people can believe ID is science, I can believe this!).

    When ever I work on a show I have 4 snowballs. One the first day of Tech, one the last day of Tech, one Opening Night, one Closing night.

  39. Neil

    Mel — Real soda lovers know that RC Cola is way better than Coke and Pepsi (but it doesn’t taste the same as it used to).

    Miss Marisol — The one in New York?

    Danny — is there a link to your Salon piece?

    ACG — Long time no see! I knew sweets would bring you back.

  40. Tuck

    Neil, they didn’t produce green ones for St. Patrick’s Day…they simply hauled out the green moldy ones that never sold. Sno-balls consumers are a small and lonely ( it elite) crowd.

  41. Nance

    Neil, do you peel the Sno Balls? That’s the best part, trying to get the marshmallow dome off in one piece by rolling it off all around the edges. Then, reward yourself by stuffing it in your mouth all at once, coconut side in. Now that I think of it, I have odd little eating rituals for all snack-cakes….

  42. Neil

    I just found the nutritional information for Hostess products online, and believe me — you do NOT want to know. In other food news, I just got back from IHOP, where today is official National Pancake Day. Everyone gets a free small stack of pancakes. So, if you live near an IHOP, here is a unique opportunity to eat four of their mediocre pancakes for FREE. I know I did. My mother would be proud of me finding this bargain.

  43. Needra

    you’re a demanding little beggar…. aren’t you. (kidding)

    I hope she does make them for you! We all need someone in our lives that we can put in silly requests too. Life without that someone is lonely. I should know.

  44. Needra

    and I for one am a weirdo!

    I hate coconut of any kind and just for the record … I also hate chocolate… can’t stand the taste….

  45. akaky

    Snoballs, schmoballs, forget them. There is no higher form of food than the Yodel, although that chocolate RingDing they had a few years ago gave the Yodel a run for its money, I thought. So get the Yodel, Sophia, and forget Neil’s obsession with Snoballs. As for Needra’s opinion of cocoanut, I concur; as for Needra’s opinion of chocolate, I would say that chocolate is proof positive of the existence of a beneficent God, and to deny this renders one open to the charge of atheism, communism, and enjoying English cuisine. You may want to rethink your opinion in light of these facts.

  46. cruisin-mom

    Neil (and I’m not making this up). My husband graciously offered to take me to IHOP this morning. I thought, wow, what a great guy…now I know he’s a cheap bastard.

  47. Needra

    hhhmmmmm.. no rethinking necessary akaky , i still hate chocolate!

  48. Neil

    Cruisin — talk about cheap. I just signed up at to get a free hamburger on my birthday! What other free stuff can I get? They used to give you a free cone at Baskin-Robbins, but they don’t do that anymore, those bastards.

  49. better safe than sorry

    these were very hard to come by when i was a kid, we would get them if we had gone to visit relatives that lived in the states, but my mother used to make them, not sure if that is the recipe she used or not. i might have to give these a try. who knew i would get a recipe from you! sweet.

  50. Janet


    Right up there behind Twinkies and mayonnaise on bread they were a treasured favorite.

    No wonder I was a chubby child. Thank God my eating habits changed.

  51. Student Nurse

    3 hours total time to prep and cook!?! For something you can get at the 7-11 in five minutes. *whatever*

  52. Won't tell

    You’re starving, Neil. What is it you really crave, really need?

  53. Freak Magnet

    I hate those damned things. Never been a big fan of the marshmallow.

  54. Pants

    If I don’t have homemade Sno Balls I’m going to cry.

  55. bella

    I didn’t realize you could make your own snowballs. Hmm, just don’t use yellow snow, right?

  56. Kevin

    Funny thing is that I was walking in a grocery store last night and found the Hostess display… Snoballs, Ding Dongs, Ho-Ho’s. They’re all sexual, aren’t they?

  57. Wendy

    Well crap, now i’m craving Sno Balls

  58. LisaBinDaCity

    How very um Non Jewish of you 😉

    I’m embracing my political correctness…

  59. Neil

    Sno Balls aren’t Jewish?

  60. Tanya

    The pink ones they roll out for zombie Jesus day taste the best.

  61. Mary

    Do you have the recipe for the chocolate filled sno balls?
    I’m anxious to try this one.

  62. Rachel Seow

    Hi there. Hope you don’t mind my writing that if you’re going to borrow whole chunks of text from another source, the decent thing to do is give the original author credit. The italicized text in the above article was taken from and was written by David Leite.

  63. Neil

    Thanks for the info, Rachel. I did link to the site, but never mentioned the writer directly. It’s about time I learned correct blogging etiquette!

  64. Carol

    My uncle Moreley Witheridge (now deceased) was the head engineer for Hostess that invented the machine that made the snowball round.

    As a kid I remember we got great Hostess fruitcakes for Christmas!

  65. Hyacinth

    There is no Sno Ball like a Hostess Sno Ball. Tastycake distributes a toxic tasting imitation, same as the one sold at Wal-Mart.

    Shame on them.

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