Archive | November 17th, 2012

Fearing Twinkies Withdrawal? You Can Make Your Own

Fearing Twinkies Withdrawal? You Can Make Your Own

Hostess has announced it’s going out of business, which means the likes of Twinkies and Wonder Bread are soon to be relegated to the pages of culinary history. (Under what chapter is anybody’s guess.)

There have been reports of people stocking up in order to have Twinkies for the rest of their lives, something in keeping with countless jokes about how the shelf-life of a Twinkie is greater than that of western civilization. Yet contrary to popular belief, the freshness date on a Twinkie is only 25 days. That’s one myth Daven Hiskey dispels in Today I Found Out: Feed Your Brain.

Well, instead of going through withdrawal pangs, you could make your own version of Twinkies at home. sells a Twinkie pan or you could use a ladyfinger tray, but then you’d have to do all that work of stuffing the filling into the cake. The following recipe, from, captures the flavor but turns the treat into a kind of cake sandwich.

Homemade Twinkies

4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 cup water
1 (5.1-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla

To make the cake: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pans.

Beat the eggs until combined; stir in the melted butter. Add the water, pudding mix, and yellow cake mix, stirring well to combine. The batter will be very thick. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading it evenly.

Bake until the cakes spring back when pressed lightly with a finger or a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

To make the filling: Combine the room-temperature butter, cream cheese, and confectioners’ sugar. Beat until smooth. Stir in the whipped topping and vanilla extract.

When the cakes are cool, spread the filling mixture on top of one cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the first, and cut into bars. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.

Makes about 25 (2-by-3-inch) cakes.


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Beer Is So Versatile, It’s ‘Easy to Find a Great Match for Any Meal,’ Says Granary’s Brewmaster

Beer Is So Versatile, It’s ‘Easy to Find a Great Match for Any Meal,’ Says Granary’s Brewmaster

For Granary brewmaster Alex Rattray (right), it’s all about the beer.

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew opened this week, bringing the art of beer makingĀ  back to the Pearl Brewery. Visitors can sample several treats from owner and brewmaster Alex Rattray, who has come up with a series sure to please any taste.

The Blonde is light with a touch of hoppy flowers. The Rye Saison adds citrus notes to a beer marked by a rye so pronounced and alluring that you’ll think of it as liquid bread. The India Pale Ale is all beautiful beer bitterness with an engaging hoppy floral bouquet. The Brown Ale unfortunately wasn’t ready when I stopped in on opening night, but it should be soon.

I asked Rattray what beers he likes to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. His first choice would be his Rye Saisonal, which would certainly add an extra dimension of richness to the meal. But since you can’t get the Granary’s beers to go, he suggested looking for a Belgian saisonal, such as Saison Dupont. “I think the dry qualities of the beer and the spicy nose would really complement turkey, pumpkin, stuffing, etc.,” he said.

Rattray also talked about his plans for the Granary’s future as well as offering a few tips for home brewers.

Try four beers in a flight.

Q: What is one misconception that people have about beer that you like to clear up?

A: I think a lot of people still think that beer is not sophisticated or they never think to pair beer with meals. In my opinion, beer can be every bit as sophisticated as wine, but it has a lot more to offer when pairing with food. The vast array of beer styles and the different flavor profiles they offer are quite staggering, and it makes it very easy to find a great match for any meal. Beer is much more forgiving then wine when it comes to food too so you can really have fun pairing different flavors. There aren’t many rules either, so I think beer and food pairings are much more approachable for people to do on their own. Wine pairing can seem intimidating for people that are just getting into it.

Q: What got you interested in brewing your own beers?

A: After a study abroad trip to London and a visit to the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland, I really started getting into craft beer. I was in a store one day and saw a cheap home brewing kit and thought it’d be fun to try my hand at it. I grew up with my mom cooking daily meals for us from scratch, and my siblings and I learned to cook and bake from an early age. So, I guess we all have that extra desire to make the things that we enjoy. So, I asked for the home brew kit for my birthday, and my brother Tim (my current business partner and chef) purchased the kit for me. I was hooked from the first batch I made.

Q: What advice do you have for home brewers?

A: Keep it simple, especially at first. I think a lot of home brewers try to do too much and add crazy ingredients to their beers. Now that’s half the fun of home brewing, but especially for beginners, I think simplicity is the key. More does not usually mean better. Some of my favorite beers are very simple. Subtlety is important.

Q: What plans do you have for the beer program at the Granary?

A. Obviously we brew our own beer, and that is an integral part of our program. We plan to star brewing our own seasonal beers soon, which will give us a chance to use local fruits, etc. We’re also going to be serving some of our beers on cask. For guest taps, we really want to showcase Texas breweries. Currently we’re the first and only place in San Antonio where you can get a beer from Rogness Brewing. They are from Austin, and their stuff is great. We also plan to start tapping a special cask once a month or so from a local brewery and serve it right on the counter top through a gravity tap. Not only is the beer awesome that way, but it makes for a really cool presentation and fun experience for guests that haven’t had a beer pulled straight from a cask. We’re also brewing our own root beer from scratch and plan to introduce some seasonal house-made sodas as well.

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew is at 602 Avenue A. At this point, it is open 6-10 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday and 6-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Call (210) 228-0124 or click here for details.

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