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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.

    Do you like dipping things in chocolate? Check out more of my clone recipes here

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    In the Bush’s Beans commercials, Duke, the family Golden Retriever, wants to sell the secret family recipe, but the Bush family always stops him. The dog is based on the Bush family’s real-life Golden Retriever, and the campaign, which began in 1995, made Bush’s the big dog of the canned baked beans market practically overnight, and their formula is now considered one of the top 10 biggest recipe secrets in the U.S.

    The Bush Brothers & Company had been canning a variety of fruits and vegetables for over 60 years when, in 1969, the company created canned baked beans using a cherished recipe from a family matriarch. Sales jumped from ten thousand cases in the first year to over one hundred thousand cases in 1970. And just one year later sales hit a million cases. Today Bush’s makes over 80 percent of the canned baked beans sold in the U.S., and the secret family recipe remains a secret. Despite Duke’s attempts. A replica of the original recipe book—without the original recipe in it (drats!)—is on display at the company's visitor center in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee.

    I chose to hack the “Country Style” version of Bush’s Beans because I don’t think the original flavor has enough, uh, flavor. Country Style is similar to Original, but richer, with more brown sugar. The recipe starts by soaking dry small white beans in a brine overnight. The salt in the water helps to soften the skins, but don’t go over 14 hours or the skins may begin to fall off.

    My first versions tasted great but lacked the deep brown color of the original created by the addition of caramel coloring, which can be hard to find. But a more common ingredient called Kitchen Bouquet did the trick here, adding a rich brown tone that perfectly matches the color of the real thing.

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    Hellmann’s—or Best Foods as the company is known west of the Rockies—recently debuted this new ketchup for customers looking to avoid high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, and artificial ingredients. The label lists only six ingredients: tomato puree, honey, white wine vinegar, salt, onion powder, and spices. It wasn’t immediately clear what the “spices” referred to until I wiped a wide smear of the ketchup across a white plate, making the blacks specks of fine grind pepper clearly stand out. After that it was just a matter of getting the ratios right.

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    Three things make Costco muffins special: they’re huge, they’re moist, and berries are bursting out of the top of each one. Now your home muffins can be just as special using a similar recipe and freshly unlocked tricks from our favorite big box store.

    Obviously, you get huge muffins by using a huge muffin pan, so you’ll need a jumbo or “Texas-size” muffin pan if you want your muffins the same size as the originals. You can certainly make standard muffins with this batter in a standard size muffin pan, but in this case, bigger is definitely better.

    To get muffins that are moist you’ll need oil. I noticed many muffin recipes use butter, but I found it made the muffins taste more like butter cake or pound cake than true muffins. Looking at the ingredients listed on the package of Kirkland muffins, you won’t find any butter in there. Just oil. For this hack, some of that oil comes from margarine (for a mild butter flavor and thicker batter), and the rest is vegetable oil.

    As for the blueberries, if you add them straight into the batter the juice frozen on the outside of the berries will streak your batter blue, so be sure to rinse the berries before you add them. And to make your muffins look as irresistible as those at Costco, we’ll use another one of their tasty tricks: press 4 blueberries into each cup of batter just before the pan goes into the oven so that every baked muffin is sure to have several tantalizing berries popping out of the top. 

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    A common recipe for marshmallows circulating on the internet and amongst popular Food Network chefs who claim it as their own makes a decent product, but the recipe won’t pass as a hack for America’s favorite marshmallows, Jet-Puffed. I know this for sure because my ten-year-old daughter says so, and she’s the house marshmallow expert (HME).

    According to our HME, the internet recipe makes marshmallows that are too sweet and they don't have the right flavor. Testing the sweetness for myself I decided she was right, so I reduced the sugar for my clone. I also adjusted the flavor to 1½ teaspoons of vanilla, and after another taste test, my batch of fresh marshmallows got the HME seal of approval.

    But the shape was still wrong.

    One thing you’ll notice about homemade marshmallow recipes is that they all make cubic marshmallows, which are hand-sliced from one sheet of marshmallow that has set in a square pan. But Jet-Puffed Marshmallows aren’t cubes, they’re cylindrical, and I wanted marshmallows like that. So, borrowing a technique for cornstarch molds used by candy manufacturers, I came up with a way you can make cylindrical marshmallows just like the big guys do. All you need is cornstarch and a muffin pan. You’ll find instructions for cylindrical marshmallows at the bottom of the recipe in the Tidbits if you want to give the more authentic shape a try.

    Regardless of what shape you decide to make, a stand mixer and a candy thermometer will help you turn out the best ever homemade marshmallows—which, by the way, make great s'mores.

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    My previously published recipe hack of America's most popular rice pudding was not picky about which kind of rice to use. That's a problem because all rice is not created equal. The recipe calls for medium grain rice but is not any more specific than that, which could lead to varying results in the consistency of the pudding since every rice has a different thickening ability.

    I recently re-worked this recipe with many types of rice, from short grain to long grain, using instant rice, converted rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, calrose rice, arborio rice, and even sushi rice. Most didn't contain the starch needed to properly thicken the pudding, especially the par-cooked rice such as instant rice and converted rice. On the other end of the spectrum, sushi rice contained too much starch and was much too small.

    The best of the bunch was jasmine rice, a long grain rice, which thickened the pudding nicely after 45 minutes or so of simmering and appeared to be comparable in size to what is in the real thing. Jasmine rice, plus five more ingredients is all it takes to make the best clone.

    And now there's no need for a cooking thermometer required by my previous recipe since you can just add the rice in when you see the milk beginning to steam and keep the pudding at a low simmer until it's done. After about an hour, you'll have a Kozy Shack rice pudding copycat recipe that's ready to pop into the fridge until cool and creamy.

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    Since the candy maker’s first milk chocolate bar debuted in 1900, just four candy bars have carried the Hershey name. Hershey’s Special Dark came out in 1939 and Hershey’s Cookies and Crème was introduced in 1995. But the only one made without any chocolate in it is the new Hershey’s Gold, which hit the shelves in late 2017. The base of the bar is “caramelized crème” that Hershey’s claims is made by browning the sugar in white crème. I recalled a recipe for caramelizing white chocolate by slowly cooking it in the oven, stirring often, until it becomes golden brown. By mixing in a little creamy peanut butter and salt I was able to create a perfectly caramelized base to which crushed peanuts and pretzels could be added. I poured the golden crème into candy bar molds and let them set up in the fridge for 30 minutes. When removed from the molds the bars looked like they were made in a real candy bar factory, and they tasted like it too. I wrapped each in gold foil and felt like Willy Wonka.

    If you don’t have candy bar molds, you can pour the candy onto parchment paper or wax paper on a baking sheet to set up, then just break up the candy to serve or store.

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    Recently, Hostess released a new “limited-edition” mint chocolate version of the brand’s famous CupCakes, with mint creamy filling and mint frosting on top. I had already hacked the well-known chocolate CupCakes from Hostess for Step-by-Step, so the cake recipe and the white icing on top was already done. I reworked the filling and the frosting with delicious mint flavor and proper green hue, and put it all together in this new hack that’s a twist on an old favorite.

    As with the chocolate CupCakes clone, the frosting is designed to be runny so that you can dip the cupcakes in it. This will produce a smooth frosting that, when dry, looks just like the real thing. Most likely you’ll need a couple coats of frosting. The first coat is a crumb layer that locks in the chocolate cake crumbs so that the second layer finishes clean and smooth. If you find that you’re losing too many crumbs in the frosting bowl when dipping the cupcakes, you may want to spread on your first layer with a butter knife.   

    Before baking be sure to grease your muffin cups well so that cupcakes come out clean. And you'll need a piping bag or pastry gun with a medium tip to fill the cupcakes and a small tip to add the seven loops of white icing on top. No proper clone of this famous product would be right without that final step.

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    The famous hard caramel candy created in 1903 in the German town of Werther is easy to duplicate at home as long as you’ve got a candy thermometer and some rounded silicone candy molds. Realistically, you can make these candies any shape you want—I made some in a gummy bears mold!—but the best shape for hard candies is something smooth and rounded. That’s what works best for a candy designed to be sucked on, rather than chewed. Just be sure to get enough molds to hold 50 or more bite-size candies at once.      

    This hack calls for fresh cream and butter just like the original invented in Germany over 100 years ago, and now sold throughout Europe and North America. 

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    The basic recipe of 2 parts mayonnaise to 1 part ketchup has been around for years in many parts of the world, served as a condiment with French fries and other fried tidbits. It’s commonly called “fry sauce,” but Heinz chefs added a few more ingredients to their version of the sauce, making it more sweet-and-sour than the common two-ingredient formula, and then they gave it a new name. Heinz debuted Mayochup in September of 2018 following a social media campaign that teased the heck out of it. 

    Now you can make your own mimicked Mayochup in a matter of minutes with these 5 common ingredients, a bowl, and a whisk. Use it on burgers, sandwiches or as a dip for French fries and other fried foods.

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