Before I left the nest, the De Angelis household was always made up of my parents, my sister and I, and the occasional pet. But if there’s someone who could’ve counted as an unofficial member of the bunch because of her constant presence amongst us, it was Little Debbie. You know, the cutesy, snack-cake pushing girl on the boxes of Oatmeal Pies, Star Crunch and Honey Buns.
For the most part though, since becoming an adult, I’ve parted ways with Deb. Truth be told, though, I miss her. Which is why I was so happy to find out that Thomas Keller, of uber expensive culinary meccas The French Laundry and Per Se, had come up with adult versions of similar sweet treats at his boulangerie-style Bouchon Bakery.
Perhaps my favorite Little Debbie treat of all time was the Swiss roll, a chocolate coated, rolled-up chocolate cake with cream inside. So when I saw a Bouchon Ho-Ho (a variant of the swiss roll), chocolate covered, foil-wrapped, and with the girth of a mini burrito, I knew I would need to get it. Debbie would have wanted it that way. Added to my box was a palm-sized TKO, an Oreo lookalike, whose name I’m assuming stands for Thomas Keller Oreo, and two chocolate bouchons, sugar-dusted, cork-shaped mini brownies.
(A note worth mentioning here: I made it all the way from Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side to my apartment in the West Village—a total of about 25 minutes spent waiting for the subway, going through seven stops before reaching mine, and then walking four blocks to my apartment and waiting boyfriend—without so much as peeking in the box. Probably not a big deal for most of you, but for me, it was a rather impressive feat of self control. Just saying.)
Because I got us each a little bouchon, we bit into those first. They were rich and dense, compact little nubs of brownie-like chocolate cake. They were sweet with just the slightest hint of bitter dark chocolate, moist but not so much that they wouldn’t have been wonderful dipped into a glass of milk.
Next was the TKO, made up of two dark, smooth-surfaced chocolate sable cookies with a layer of fluffy, almost mousse like cream in the middle. The cookies were crunchy and crumbly like Oreos but had a subtle saltiness that when combined with the soft sweetness of the cream filling made me wish I’d stocked up on a few more of them.
But like the Little Debbie treats, my favorite of this bunch was the Bouchon Ho Ho. Because of its thin chocolate shell, I was half expecting the inside to be firm too, but instead I was delightfully wrong. I bit into my half of the ho ho and into a soft, cloud-like fluffy chocolate cake, with an even lighter, whipped cream swirled in it. So good I could almost forget a childhood full of Swiss rolls after just one Bouchon Ho Ho.
Little Debbie who?