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    You probably think the dark chocolatey stuff that looks like dark chocolate on a dark chocolate Kind nut bar is all chocolate, but it mostly isn’t. There is chocolate in there, but chicory root is listed third in the ingredients statement, right after peanuts and almonds and way before cocoa, so the dark chocolate is actually a chocolate-flavored coating made mostly with chicory root fiber. (Curiously, older labels list “chocolate-flavored coating” as the second ingredient, but newer labels don’t.) Chicory is the root of the endive plant and it’s beloved in New Orleans where it’s combined with coffee drinks because its taste is so similar to coffee. Chicory also happens to taste a lot like chocolate, and it’s cheaper than chocolate, and that’s why it’s used here.

    But just because Kind uses chicory, doesn’t mean we have to. For our hack, we’ll use real chocolate in the form of melting wafers you can find in most stores. I used Ghirardelli brand because it tastes great, but any easy-to-melt, dippable dark chocolate will do here.

    The bars are stuck together with honey and agave syrup heated to 260 degrees F., or the hard ball stage. The sticky mixture is pressed into a 10x5-inch loaf pan, cooled, and sliced it into 8 bars. The bottoms are dipped in the pure chocolate, and more is drizzled over the top. About 30 minutes later, when the chocolate sets up, your bars are ready to eat.

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    Outback takes a traditional Mexican street corn recipe and lightens it up for this new premium side menu addition. The corn comes off the cob after grilling it, and butter steps in where mayonnaise and Mexican sour cream are included in the traditional recipe. Want to do something cool for dinner tonight with those fresh ears of corn? Try this easy side.

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    There are several secrets that had to be unlocked to make this burger a satisfying hack of the signature sandwich from the rapidly expanding New York chain. First, our burger must include a spot-on facsimile of the secret ShackSauce. I got a sample of the sauce from one of our Vegas Shake Shacks and determined the seven common ingredients, including pickle juice, that come together for a great clone.

    Second, our burger must be made with a special ground mix of four different cuts of beef and the patties need to be cooked the right way. I tested many combinations of meat until I landed on a flavorful blend of chuck, brisket, skirt steak, and short ribs. If you don't have a meat grinder at home, you can have your butcher grind these for you. At the restaurant, the ground beef blend is formed into 1/4-pound pucks that are smashed onto the grill with a metal press. Grab a strong spatula and heat up a heavy skillet.

    And third, you'll need some soft buttered-and-toasted potato buns to hold it all together. Shake Shack uses Martin's rolls which are not cut all the way through, allowing the buns to be hinged open for loading. If you can’t find Martin’s, any soft potato rolls will do.

    Follow the easy steps below and soon you’ll be biting into a perfect re-creation of the famous cheeseburger that helped this chain grow from a single food cart in New York City to over 70 stores in just 15 years.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    “Don’t call them fries,” says KFC about its popular side made with sliced, skin-on russet potatoes. What sets these potatoes apart from all the others is the secret breading made with a similar seasoning blend as the Colonel's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. To achieve the proper crispiness, the potatoes are par-fried, frozen, then fried again until golden brown.

    One important ingredient that completes the flavor is MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a food additive derived from glutamic acid, which is an important amino acid found in abundance in nature, food, and in you right now. Over the last 60 years of study and use, MSG has not only been found harmless in normal amounts, but tests have shown glutamate to be a chemical messenger that benefits gut health, immunity, and brain functions such as memory and learning. In addition to all of that, it imparts a unique savoriness that enhances flavors in other ingredients and makes your food taste amazing. Using MSG in your food is, literally, smart cooking.

    Another important ingredient is ground Tellicherry black pepper. Winston Shelton, a friend of Harland Sanders who sold him his first pressure fryers in Kentucky, is familiar with the Colonel's secret recipe. Shelton saw the ingredients many years ago when Sanders showed him the secret recipe he had scribbled on a piece of paper. While shooting the first episode of my TV Show, Top Secret Recipe, Winston pulled me aside and told me that Tellicherry pepper, a select black pepper from India, is crucial to creating the KFC aftertaste (we caught this moment on camera and you can see it in the show). I conducted a side-by-side taste test with common black pepper and Tellicherry black pepper and discovered he was right. If you want the best taste for your clone you'll need Tellicherry pepper, which you can find online and in some food stores. Be sure to grind it fine before using it.

    For this recipe, just two russet potatoes are all it takes to make the equivalent of a large serving of fried potato wedges, which will be enough for at least four people.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    When Popeyes debuted its new crispy chicken sandwich on August 12, 2019, the company was not prepared for the eruption of social media video posts comparing the new sandwich to Chick-fil-A’s classic chicken sandwich. As a result of the apparently unplanned instant viral campaign in which Popeyes almost always emerges as the winner, customers swarmed the stores and waited in long lines to try the now-famous sandwich. The buzz continued to build, day-by-day, and just two weeks after its debut the sandwich had sold out—an entire month ahead of schedule.

    But—sold out or not—you don’t need Popeyes to get the great taste combo of the crispy buttermilk breaded chicken breast, soft buttered brioche bun, mayo, and pickles. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands (and mouth!) on several of the sandwiches before they were gone, and cranked out a clone recipe so you can now re-create the hit sandwich any time you want. With these new tricks you’ll be able to make crispy chicken at home that’s flavorful, juicy, and tender, just like Popeyes, coated in a thick golden breading with the same light crunch.

    The secret to moist, tasty chicken is to brine it for several hours in a mixture of buttermilk, salt, and MSG. The buttermilk is slightly acidic, so it will help tenderize the chicken without making it too tough like harsher acids, while the salt adds flavor (as does the MSG) and keeps the chicken juicy. The MSG (monosodium glutamate) is an amino acid with a salt-like flavor that at one time was thought to be unhealthy but is now considered an important culinary additive. Popeyes uses it in their chicken because it provides an essential savory flavor to the chicken called “umami,” and you cannot make an accurate clone without it.

    To imitate the light, crispy breading, we’ll use baking powder in the flour. The baking powder forms bubbles in the flour when the chicken cooks so that the breading is tender and crispy, rather than crusty and dense. I found that self-rising flour works great since it conveniently has just the right amount of baking powder and salt already added. But don't use a low-protein self-rising flour like White Lily. That brand is awesome for biscuits, but its low gluten content makes it not stick well on chicken breasts. I used Gold Medal self-rising flour, and it worked great. If all-purpose flour is all you’ve got, that can work as well. I’ve put measurements for using A.P. flour, plus baking powder and salt, in the Tidbits below. 

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    Menu Description: "Grilled chicken breasts topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil pesto, and a lemon garlic sauce.”

    This Olive Garden signature dish hack starts with a quick 30-minute brine to bless the chicken with flavor and juiciness. While the chicken is marinating and then grilling, you’ll have plenty of time to make the basil pesto and lemon garlic sauce knock-offs.

    When the chicken comes off the grill, it gets topped with cheese and popped under the broiler for a nice melt. Once plated, the chicken is doused with sauce, topped with pesto, and sprinkled with grape tomato halves.

    I also worked up a clone for the side served with this entree at Olive Garden—the Parmesan zucchini. I've got that hack in the Tidbits below if you’d like to include this simple addition to your copycat plate.

    This recipe makes four servings, which is four lunch-size servings at Olive Garden, or two dinner portions. How hungry are you?

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    The hottest of Taco Bell’s five hot sauces cranks the heat meter way up with a special blend of peppers for true chili heads. Diablo Sauce was introduced on Cinco de Mayo in 2015 as a limited-time-only product and was discontinued after just a short time. Demanding fans pleaded for the chain to bring the sauce back, and on May 5th of the following year, Diablo Sauce got a permanent spot in the Taco Bell hot sauce lineup.

    According to Taco Bell, the sauce contains aji panca, a sweet pepper, and chipotle, which is smoked red jalapeno. Since aji panca, a sweet Peruvian red pepper, can be hard to find, we'll use ground ancho instead, which has a similar taste. There are other peppers in the original recipe which remain a mystery, but it's easy to tell that at least one of them comes packing serious heat. I settled on habanero and cayenne, and the sauce had a perfect pronounced kick.

    Puree all of it in a blender then cook it for 10 minutes. Once cooled you’ll have an easy home hot sauce, with great flavor, that will knock your socks off. Just like the real thing.

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    The 729-unit chain did not start its life as Qdoba. When the Mexican food chain was first founded by Robert Miller and Anthony Hauser in Denver, Colorado in 1995 it was called Zuma Mexican Grill, named after a friend’s cat. As it turns out, a restaurant in Boston had that same name and threatened to sue, so the partners changed the name to Z-Teca. It wasn’t long before two different restaurants threatened to sue for that name—Z’Tejas in Arizona and Azteca in Washington—and the partners were forced to change the name yet again. This time they called their restaurant  Qdoba, a completely made-up name that was unlikely to be used by anyone else.             

    A signature item and consistent top seller is this marinated adobo chicken, offered as a main ingredient in most of the chain’s selections. Make this chicken by marinating thigh meat for a couple of days in the secret adobo sauce (a worker there told me they let it soak for up to 8 days) then grill and chop. Use the flavorful chicken in burritos, tacos, bowls, on nachos, and in tortilla soup.

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    In-N-Out Burger's delicious shakes are made with real ice cream, and that's a good thing,  but this vanilla shake has a unique taste that's more than just straight vanilla—I sense a hint of buttery caramel. Riffing on that idea I came up with an easy hack for these tasty shakes using a blend of French vanilla ice cream and whole milk, along with a simple secret ingredient: caramel topping. Spooning just 1 tablespoon of Smucker’s caramel topping into the blender before mixing it all up produced a vanilla shake remarkably similar to the one that’s been served at In-N-Out Burger since 1975.

    Unfortunately, a milkshake produced with a home blender is thinner than a restaurant milkshake made with a milkshake machine. To fix that, after mixing your shake in the blender, place the blender in your freezer for a bit until the shake firms up, then mix it once again, spoon it into a tall glass, and serve it with a wide straw.

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    There’s one copycat recipe for these famous biscuits that’s posted and shared more than any other, and it’s downright awful. The dough is formulated with self-rising flour, baking powder, powdered sugar, shortening, and buttermilk, and many complain that the recipe creates dough that’s much too loose and the resulting biscuits are a complete disaster. Yet there the recipe remains on blogs and boards all over the interweb for unsuspecting home cloners such as yourself to waste time on. But that won’t happen anymore, because I have made a good recipe that works the way it should, guaranteeing you’ll get amazing golden buttermilk biscuits that look and taste just like a trained Bojangles’ pro made them.

    In addition to the obvious overuse of buttermilk, the recipe I found has many problems. The author gets it right when calling for self-rising flour, which is flour containing salt and a leavening agent (aka baking powder), but why would the Bojangles’ recipe be designed to use self-rising flour and then add additional leaving? Well, it wouldn’t. Biscuits are job #1 for self-rising flour, and the leavening in there is measured for that use, so there’s no need to add more. If you were planning to add your own leavening, you’d probably start with all-purpose flour. And let's just be clear: baking powder tastes gross, so you want to add as little as possible, not more than necessary.  

    It’s also important to handle the dough the same way that workers at Bojangles’ do. They make biscuits there every 20 minutes and there are plenty of YouTube videos showing the preparation technique. In a nutshell, the dough is mixed by hand (because their dough is so large, but for this recipe use a mixing spoon), then it’s folded over a few times on a floured countertop before it’s rolled out. This gentle handling of the dough prevents the gluten in the flour from toughening and adds layers, so your biscuits come out of the oven tender and flakey.

    For the best results, find White Lily flour. This self-rising flour is low in gluten and makes unbelievably fluffy biscuits. If you use another self-rising brand, you’ll still get great biscuits, but the gluten level will likely be higher, the biscuits will be tougher, and you’ll probably need more buttermilk. Head down to the Tidbits below for details on that.

    And I noticed another thing most biscuit recipes get wrong. For biscuits that are beautifully golden brown on the top and bottom, you’ll want to bake them on a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper) at 500 degrees F. Yes, 500 degrees. Seems hot, but this high temp works well with self-rising flour, and in 12 to 15 minutes the biscuits will be perfectly browned. Counterintuitively, it’s the lower temperatures that end up burning the biscuits, and the higher temperature cooks them just right. At lower temps the biscuits must stay in the oven longer to cook through, which exposes the surfaces to more heat, and they end up too dark on the outside, especially the bottom. For even better results, use the convection setting on your oven, if you have that. Set the temp to 475 degrees F. and your biscuits will look they came straight from the drive-thru.

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