Monday, February 8, 2010

Little Debbie's Epic Fail

After a lifetime of love and sugar, I think Little Debbie and I are breaking up, and she only has herself and her incompetent test kitchen employees to blame. What brought Little Debbie and I to this low place? What could make me turn my back on decades of Swiss Cake Rolls, Peanut Butter Bars, Zebra Cakes, and the occasional Spirit of America patriotic snack cake?

Little Debbie's Nutty Bar Cheesecake.

I saw the recipe for this on a box of Nutty Bars at least six months ago, and have been waiting for the right occasion to use it. As fat as I am, I haven't reached the point where I make myself a cheesecake surrounded in lunch cakes to eat at home, so I needed a social or a party or something, and my friends Elizabeth and Ben obliged by hosting a Superbowl gathering this weekened. Filled with wild excitement at the thought of finally making the Nutty Bar Cheesecake, I carefully compiled a grocery list and went to the store for the 24 Nutty Bars the recipe calls for. Fortunately for me, and I'm certain entirely coincidentally, the "family size" box of Nutty Bars happens to contain exactly 24.

Twelve of them, according to the recipe, need to be crushed in a blender:

crushing the nutty bars

This did not work.

The bars on the bottom got chopped, but the ones on the top wouldn't move, so I had to keep shutting the blender off, crushing them down with a spoon, blending, and repeating. I probably should have done it in the food processor, which was my first thought, but I was trying to follow the recipe. I didn't blame the failure on my good friend Little Debbie, though, and instead decided that I had put too many Nutty Bars in the blender at once.

Once the crushing was done, I dumped the results into a bowl:

ground nutty bars

poured melted butter on top of them, and spread the results on the bottom of a ten inch springform pan.

Since the next part is the point where Little Debbie ruined our lives, I will quote directly from the recipe:

Press into bottom of a 12" spring form pan. Set aside. Unwrap remaining Nutty Bars. Cut in half. Line rim of pan with bars as shown above.

Let's look at this for a moment. The recipe calls for 24 Nutty Bars, and the first step is to unwrap and crush 12 of them. That means that the remaining bars, referenced above, should number 12. Cut in half, there would be 24 bar sections to line the rim of a twelve inch pan. Given that mine was only ten inches, logic would suggest that not only would 12 bars be adequate, but I should actually have a piece or two left over. This is what I told myself as I began to line the rim of the pan, eyeballing the results and thinking, "Hmmm... this doesn't look like enough bars." I convinced myself I was wrong because, you know, why would Little Debbie lie to me? Surely a national corporation giving out recipes on the boxes their product is sold in would try those recipes first, right?


What's wrong with that picture?

Could it be, oh, I don't know, that maybe there aren't enough Nutty Bars?

I was so mad for a second that I thought I might be having a stroke. A violent stream of curses escaped my mouth, a string of colorful invectives that disparaged the employees of the Little Debbie snack cake company, the existence of Nutty Bars in general, and Little Debbie herself, her parentage, and her extended family. Even worse, I got mad all over again when I remembered that I was using a pan that was too small. If I'd actually been using the one the recipe called for, the gap would be even wider. All I wanted was to make a nice, fattening, fun dessert for my friends' party, and now I had to leave the apartment to go back to the grocery store because Nutty Bars aren't the kind of thing that you happen to have on hand or can ring your neighbor's doorbell to ask for a cup of.

Go to hell, Little Debbie, and while you're there, learn some math. See, Little Debbie, the circumference of a circle is the diameter multiplied by Pi. In the case of the 12 inch spring form pan you told me to use, and rounding Pi to 3.14, you'd need 37.68 inches of Nutty Bars. If each Nutty Bar is about an inch wide, that would be about 19 Nutty Bars cut in half, not 12. That's seven inches worth of Nutty Bars difference, you evil smiling liar. Did you even try this recipe before giving it out to people? Did you?

I think not.

You disgust me, Little Debbie. Your ignorance, your ineptitude, your obvious disrespect for your customers and lack of professional ethics, all of it. Your Nutty Bar Cheesecake is impossible to execute according to the recipe you provided, and there's no excuse for that. Even though this was delicious:

finished nutty bar cheesecake

I have lost all faith in you and your products. We're through.

Right after I eat the rest of the extra box I had to buy.


strong cookie. said...

I just about died reading this post from this point on:

"As fat as I am, I haven't reached the point where I make myself a cheesecake surrounded in lunch cakes to eat at home"

The Guy By The Door said...

Your over expectations in the minutiae of life is breathtaking. You inadvertently turned a cheesecake into a Charlotte as the little snack cakes were to be separated by cheese filling, if you had spaced them evenly in the larger pan, and not walling up the filling. The error is yours, child.

Joel said...

Not true. In the picture of the recipe, which the directions I quoted advised me to follow, the bars were not spaced. They were all right next to each other, making a wall with the filling inside.

sandy said...

did you count the nutty bars in the picture of the recipe?

Jeannie said...

I thought it tasted yummy, Joel! I had no idea you had so much drama making it, how on earth did you survive such an ordeal? And then to spend the evening with 2 toddlers?! Crazy!

Little Debbie Snack Cakes said...

We are so sorry to hear of the trouble you had with this recipe. We had tested the recipe before printing, but obviously something was different this time. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention and do apologize for the inconvenience this caused! We will be happy to take a second look at the recipe and edit it upon the next print. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention!

Anonymous said...

Look how nice Little Debbie is!

jwilke said...

This is seriously hilarious! The blog is almost as good as your telling in person :-) I hope your extra nutties were delicious!

Anonymous said...

I hope you and Little Debbie are able to come to an understanding.

But if you don't - and you happen to win a Smartcar with thier logo, I am willing to take it far away so you don't have a constant reminder.

JMBower said...

All I could think, in considering the sheer mega-calorie extravanagza that is this dessert, was that somewhere, probably in the South, someone is thinking "I'm gonna fry me one of those..."

Debbie C. said...

Joel, I had just gotten off the phone 10 minutes prior to reading this to learn that my daughter was in a car accident with an 18 wheeler. Needless to say, she was ok, the car, not as ok as her, but it was only a car. I was in tears from that phone call, then I read this article. You really made me laugh. I think you are hysterical. I had visions of you the whole time, doing what you were saying. The picture looks unbelievable, and I'm glad you went out to get the extra nutty bars to make it complete. I'm sure it was delicious. How was the cheesecake part of it? If you say it was good, I actually want to try the recipe, keeping in mind to buy 2 boxes, not one, and to use a food processor, not a blender. I love your dramatization of the story.
P.S. I just changed my Facebook profile picture to Little Debbie and everyone LOVES it. :)

Joel said...

Little Debbie sure was gracious when she wrote back. The cheesecake part was pretty good, but very, very rich.

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