I mentioned in my Natural Face Challenge post how I’ve been reading a lot of articles about our food (and by “our” I mean a typical first-world citizen, and by “food” I mean typical grocery store fare). These articles are not encouraging, to say the least. The accusations are serious: the milk we drink is basically cholesterol-raising candy (fortified, of course); anything made with wheat products could have some sort of wood pulp filler in it (fortified, of course); fake sweeteners; fake flavors; fake colors; fake shelf-life; fake food. Seriously, it’s really freaking me out a little. I’m not ready to move to the compound and eat only what I can grow in my own truck patch, but I am a little terrified to pull anything prepackaged off my local grocery store shelves. We are rapidly approaching a point in my house where if I can’t make it, we’re not going to eat it.
So you can imagine my dilemma when I tell you what one of my all-time most favorite nostalgia-inducing treats is: The Hostess Cupcake. You know, with the fluffy marshmallowy vanilly cream inside and the little curlicue of icing across the top?
I know it’s not right. I know it’s not good for me. I know there’s a fairly good chance it’s not even food. But I can’t help it! I grew up with the Hostess Cupcake and you can tell me anything you want – I’ll still put on my rose-colored glasses and enjoy a couple with a glass of milk-candy.
But then it came down to it, and I was standing in front of the Hostess Cupcake in my grocery store aisle, and the ingredients were leaping off the box and assaulting me, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring the little cupcake home.
So I made a little compromise. I have two preschoolers and a toddler in my house. I’m advanced beyond my years in the art of compromise.
I made my own Hostess-esque cupcake, in miniature.
I know, I know: the sugar and butter and sour cream and flour and chocolate I used in the cupcakes are all highly processed (and sugar is another whole story, anyway). You’re good and kind and sweet to point it out, and I know you’re right. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who has more success with the baby-steps method than with cold turkeys, so this is my first step: from prepackaged, preservative-laden very very bad for me cupcakes to homemade (preservative free) miniaturized very bad for me cupcakes. But it’s all part of my plan, you see. Over the next months and years, I’ll slowly tire of putting all the time and effort necessary into making my Hostess indulgence, and my efforts will slowly be spaced further and further apart, until, one day, I’ll realize it’s been a hundred days since I had a Hostess cupcake and I don’t miss them at all. Painless weaning.
If you’re ready for your first step-down, you can get the full recipe here (free):
(photo from americastestkitchenfeed.com, as if you couldn’t tell from the differnce in quality from mine above)
Side Note: The recipe calls for Fluff (the jarred puffed marshmallow cream) for the filling, but I couldn’t stomach the ingredients, so I used sweetened whipped heavy cream stabilized with a bit of cornstarch. The original recipe for 12 regular size cupcakes made about 40 mini cupcakes using a standard miniature muffin pan. Since the cupcakes were mini, I used a large milkshake straw to bore a hole out of the middle for the filling instead of cutting a cone out with a knife, but would have liked a little more filling. I think an apple corer would do the trick.
Second Side Note: For the most part, I believe in healthful eating, and these certainly do not qualify (homemade or not). The basic food philosophy in our house is that the vast majority of what we eat is healthful (we take in almost no sugar in our regular meals) and then it’s ok to enjoy a special treat now and then, and when you do enjoy a special treat, it’s actually special! And it better be scrumptious. Scandalously scrumptious.
Replacing the store-bought variety with this homemade version might not make them lower in sugar, fat or calories, but I think ingesting less chemicals into your system is a pretty good reason to leave happier! It’s the little things.
Have a great weekend,