Who Tried It: Mark Marino, PEOPLE Homepage & Content Director
What It Is: Packaged Frozen Deep Fried Twinkies
Why I Did It: Because journalism
Living in New York City, you don’t really come across a lot of carnivals or county fairs. In fact, you have better odds of seeing a unicorn than a corn dog (of course, Miley Cyrus might be dressed as said unicorn). So when my food editor offered me the opportunity to sample a state-fair staple, Deep Fried Twinkies, I unbuttoned the top of my too-tight pants and immediately said yes!
The brainchild of Hostess (naturally), Deep Fried Twinkies are sold exclusively at Walmart and are available in two flavors: Original Golden and Chocolate. We kept it old school and sampled the classic version.
The pre-battered snack cakes are meant to be stored in the freezer and can be prepared in an oven, a toaster oven or, if you really want to split your seams, a deep-fryer. We couldn’t bring ourselves to plunge Twinkie the Kid into boiling oil (do Twinkies scream like lobsters when you cook them?) and chose to get him baked instead.
Gleefully, we placed seven of the spongey sweets onto a cookie sheet (one editor noted that they looked like giant mozzarella sticks) and waited with anticipation as they cooked for the suggested 6 to 8 minutes. When they came out of the oven, the entire kitchen smelled just like a county fair. Minus the manure. The delicious scent conjured up images of rodeo clowns, stilt walkers and squealing pigs — everything you’d find at a carnival, or in Times Square on any given night.
Okay, so how do they taste? For starters, the battered coating doesn’t pack a crunch, but it is a bit crisp and it definitely gives the Twinkie a deep-fried flavor. The crème filling turns quite liquid when heated and it almost seems sweeter. In fact, Deep Fried Twinkies don’t really taste like Original Goldens at all but more like sugary, delicious doughnuts.
If Deep Fried Twinkies were a carnival ride, they’d be an emotional roller coaster. You’re initially uneasy about whether you should indulge in one (they are, after all, 220 calories and 9 grams of fat each), then experience euphoria once you take a bite and end up feeling a bit guilty afterward. But the thrill is definitely worth it and you’ll be lining up for more.