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    The Twinkie company, otherwise known as Hostess, was one of the first to introduce reduced-fat baked goods to the masses. In 1990 the company took its most popular products and created lower-fat versions under the "Hostess Lights" label. Among the company's well-known low-fat offerings is this popular cupcake, with its seven loops of white icing on the top of frosted, creme-filled cake. Here's a way you can recreate these popular cupcakes at home, with applesauce in the cake to help replace the fat, and filling made with marshmallow creme.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 cupcake 
    Total servings–12 
    Calories per serving–220 
    Fat per serving–1.5g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.41. Votes: 17

    It is true that ranch dressing was invented at Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara, California, by a real salad-wranglin' rancher. In the 50s and 60s Steve Henson and his wife, Gayle, shared their 120-acre dude ranch with University of California at Santa Barbara students and other festive partiers for rousing weekend shindigs. The dozens of guests were served steak dinners and delicious salads topped with Steve's special blend of herbs, spices, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. As word got out about the fabulous dressing, more guests were showing up at the ranch and walking home with complimentary take-home jars filled with the stuff. Eventually Steve figured he could make a little cash on the side by packaging the dressing as a dry mix and selling it through the mail. At first he was filling envelopes himself, but within a few months Steve had to hire twelve more people to help with the packaging. Soon Steve had a multi-million dollar business on his hands with a product that for ten years he had been giving away for free. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.25. Votes: 4

    In December of 1996, Hershey Foods snagged the U.S. operations of Leaf Brands for a pretty penny. This added several well known candies to Hershey's already impressive roster, including Good & Plenty, Jolly Rancher, Milk Duds, Whoppers, Heath, and this delicious peanut roll, which we can finally clone at home. The center is sort of a white fudge that we can make by combining a few ingredients on the stove, then getting the mixture up to just the right temperature using a candy thermometer (you've got one, right?). Once cool, this candy center is coated with a thin layer of caramel, then quickly rolled over roasted peanuts. Looks just like the real thing! This recipe will make eight candy bars. But it's up to you to make the dental appointment.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    Americans' passion for yellow mustard began in St. Louis at the 1904 World's Fair when the tangy sauce was spread over the top of the classic American hot dog. Today, over 100 years later, French's mustard is the top brand found in restaurants, and 80 percent of U.S. households have a bottle of French's somewhere in the pantry or fridge. Those bottles will eventually run dry. And if that happens to you, you may need to whip up some of your own yellow mustard in a flash. If you've got dry ground mustard and turmeric in the spice rack, you can easily clone some yellow mustard sauce. This recipe yields just 1/4 cup of yellow mustard, but that should hold you over. At least until you can get to the store for more of the real thing.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.53. Votes: 43

    If those cute little cookie peddlers aren't posted outside the market, it may be tough to get your hands on these—the most popular cookies sold by the Girl Scouts every spring. One out of every four boxes of cookies sold by the girls is Thin Mints. This hack Girl Scout cookie thin mint recipe uses an improved version of the chocolate wafers created for the Oreo cookie clone in the second TSR book More Top Secret Recipes. That recipe creates 108 cookie wafers, so when you're done dipping, you'll have the equivalent of three boxes of the Girl Scout Cookies favorite. That's why you bought those extra cookie sheets, right? You could, of course, reduce the recipe by baking only one-third of the cookie dough for the wafers and then reducing the coating ingredients by one-third, giving you a total of 36 cookies. But that may not be enough to last you until next spring.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 11/16/17: You can make an even better clone using a chocolate product that wasn't available when I created this recipe. Rather than using the semi-sweet chocolate chips combined with shortening and peppermint for coating the cookies, use Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers. You will need 2 10-ounce bags of the chips, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract (and no shortening). Melt the chocolate the same way, and dip the cookies as instructed.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 21

    Recently I've had an opportunity to go back and improve the recipe for the Hostess Twinkie clone found on page 47 of the first book, Top Secret Recipes and here on the website. Specifically, I wanted to make the creme filling more stable, using non-dairy ingredients like the original product, so that it was shelf-stable and easier to make. Here now, is the much improved recipe, using fewer ingredients than the original clone, and with marshmallow creme as the new secret component. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    All you need to make this minty schnapps at home is four ingredients, including inexpensive vodka, and an empty bottle to store it in. This is a recipe that was created for More Top Secret Recipes many years ago but didn't make it into the final cut. Now it has a home.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    With just a few simple ingredients you can recreate the European-style coffees that come in rectangular tins at a fraction of the cost. Included here are clones for Cafe Vienna, French Vanilla Cafe, and Suisse Mocha. Since these famous instant coffee blends are created by Maxwell House, it's best to use Maxwell House instant coffee, although I've tried them with Folger's and Taster's Choice, and the recipes still work out fine. You'll also need a coffee bean grinder to grind the instant coffee into powder. When you're finished making the mix, you can store it for as long as you like in a sealed container, until you're ready for a hot coffee drink. When that time comes, measure some of the mix into a cup and add boiling water. Stir well and enjoy while watching shows about Europe on the Travel Channel to enhance the experience.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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