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Girl Scout Cookies Lemon Pastry Cremes Reduced Fat copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Girl Scout Cookies Lemon Pastry Cremes Reduced Fat

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How can you resist the cute little girls in those adorable green outfits—and a change machine around their waists? If you can't, then a least it's good to know that less than one-third of the sales price of each box of Girl Scout Cookies goes to the manufacturer. That's much less than the wholesale price food retailers pay for similar products. Most of the money raised from each sale goes to support the Girl Scouts. 

But how do we get our Girl Scout Cookie fix during the off-season when the cookies aren't being sold? That's when you can turn to my Girl Scout Lemon Pastry Crèmes recipe below. You'll make a reduced-fat cookie with the lemony tang and learn the technique for making a delicious filling that's entirely fat-free.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size–3 cookies
Total servings–14
Calories per serving–150
Fat per serving–4.5g

Find more of your favorite Girl Scout cookie recipes here.

Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

Get This

_main
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk (1% fat)
  • 3 cups all-purpoase flour (plus about 1/4 cup reserved for rolling the dough)
Glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons water
Filling
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup very hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
Do This

1. To make the cookies, cream together the first 7 ingredients (shortening through baking soda) in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add the buttermilk and mix until incorporated.

2. Add the 3 cups of flour to the wet mixture, 1 cup at a time. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball, then cover it with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

4. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/16 inch thick. Punch out cookies with a 1 1/2-inch cutter and arrange them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until just turning light brown around the edges. Turn the pan around halfway through cooking time to help the cookies bake evenly.

5. As the cookies bake, prepare the glaze by combining powdered sugar and water in a small bowl. Mix until smooth. Cover and set aside.

6. When the cookies have cooled, dip a brush in the glaze, wipe off excess, and brush a very, very light coating of the glaze over the top of each cookie.

7. Prepare the filling by combining the granulated sugar, hot water, lemon extract, salt, and yellow food coloring in a microwave-safe medium bowl (glass or ceramic works the best). Stir the mixture for at least 30 seconds to begin dissolving the sugar.

8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and then microwave the mixture for 2 minutes at 50% power. Remove the mixture from the microwave and stir very gently to help dissolve the sugar crystals around the sides and bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl again, then microwave mixture at full power for 2 more minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave. Poke holes in the plastic wrap to let the steam escape. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes. Do not let mixture sit longer than this or a hardened skin may develop and new sugar crystals may form.

9. After the mixture has cooled for 15 minutes, stir it again very gently to dissolve any additional crystals that may have formed and then add 1 cup powdered sugar. Stir very gently to incorporate the sugar until the mixture is smooth. Cover mixture again and let it cool until it can be handled.

10. When the filling mixture has cooled roll out 1/2-inch balls and flatten them between two cookies, with the frosted sides facing out. Repeat for the remaining filling cookies.

Makes 42 sandwich cookies.

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    Annual TSR Club (Best Deal!)

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    Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!

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  • Score: 4.88 (votes: 8)
    Gordon Biersch Warm Apple Bread Pudding

    Menu Description: "With vanilla ice cream and sticky bun caramel sauce."

    I've been searching for the restaurant chain with the best bread pudding recipe, and I think I've found it here at Gordon Biersch. This small, yet growing, microbrewery chain serves great beer, awesome pizza, and a bread pudding that is downright amazing. It could be described as what would materialize out the other side if Jeff Goldblum threw an apple pie, some bread pudding and a cinnamon roll into his teleportation machine from "The Fly," and everything came out the other side combined into a single awesome dessert. The sautéed apples laid into the middle of the bread pudding make other bread puddings I eat now seem like they're missing something. And the homemade caramel sauce, with just a little brown sugar thrown into our clone version, adds a sticky bun flavor you'll have dreams about. No matter how big your dinner feast was, everyone will still somehow find room for this. 

    The original at the restaurant is baked in a deep pan, and the pudding is sliced and served on its side, so for my Gordon Biersch Warm Apple Bread Pudding recipe you'll want to use the biggest loaf pan you can find. I used a 3-inch deep 10x5-inch loaf pan, and it was full. If your pan is smaller, you may have to leave a bit out. The pudding will swell up out of the pan as it cooks, but it will shrink back down as it cools. Fun to watch. You may want to make this the day before so that the bread pudding can set up in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, nuke a serving for 1 minute until warm, then add the sauce and ice cream and a handful of pecans. It appears the restaurant chain uses egg bread in the pudding, but Texas Toast thick-sliced white bread may be easier to find, and it works just as well.

    Gordon Biersch also makes amazing garlic fries. Click here to try this recipe.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 9)
    Hard Rock Cafe Twisted Mac & Cheese

    Hard Rock Café Twisted Mac & Cheese Menu Description: "Twisted cavatappi pasta, tossed in a lightly spiced 3-cheese sauce with roasted red peppers and topped with Parmesan parsley breadcrumbs."

    The rock-and-roll theme chain peps up old-school macaroni and cheese with roasted red bell pepper, a breadcrumb topping, and a delicious sauce made from three cheeses. For a home clone of this hip appetizer, I found that it's best to shred your own Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, since the pre-shredded type sold in bags doesn't melt as well and you'll likely end up with grainy sauce. Grainy is not good for a sauce. You can use bottled roasted red bell pepper for convenience, or you can roast your own pepper with the tips provided in the Tidbits below. And don't worry about tracking down the hard-to-find cavatappi pasta twisted tubes. Any pasta shape will do here, including the ubiquitous mac & cheese standard: elbow macaroni.

    Find more of your favorite Hard Rock Cafe dishes here
     
    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
     

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  • Score: 4.67 (votes: 6)
    T.G.I. Friday's Potato Skins

    Menu Description: "Loaded with cheddar cheese and bacon. Served with sour cream and chives."

    Perfume salesman Alan Stillman was a single guy in New York City in 1965, looking for a way to meet women who lived in his neighborhood. He figured out a way to get their attention: buy a broken-down beer joint in the area, jazz it up, and call it "The T.G.I.F." to attract the career crowd. Within a week, police had barricaded the area to control crowds flocking to Alan's new restaurant. The restaurant made $1 million in its first year—a lot of dough back then. Soon restaurateurs across the country were imitating the concept.

    In 1974 T.G.I. Friday's invented an appetizer that would also be copied by many in the following years. Potato skins are still the most popular item on the T.G.I. Friday's menu, with nearly 4 million orders served every year. The recipe has the added benefit of providing you with leftover baked potato ready for mashing.

    T.G.I Friday's has several popular dishes. See if I cloned your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 14)
    Carrabba's Chicken Marsala

    Menu Description: "Fire-roasted chicken breast topped with mushrooms, prosciutto and our Florio Marsala wine sauce."

    To create my Carrabba's Chicken Marsala recipe, I ordered the dish to go, with the sauce on the side, so that I could separately analyze each component. After some trial and error in the underground lab, I found that re-creating the secret sauce from scratch is easy enough with a couple small cans of sliced mushrooms, a bit of prosciutto, some Marsala wine, shallots, garlic and a few other good things. 

    Cooking the chicken requires a very hot grill. The restaurant chain grills chicken breasts over a blazing real wood fire, so crank your grill up high enough to get the flames nipping at your cluckers (not a euphemism). If your grill has a lid, keep it open, so you can watch for nasty flare-ups.

    Click here for more of your favorite dishes from Carrabba's.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.50 (votes: 4)
    Kraft Stove Top Stuffing

    This copycat Kraft stove top stuffing recipe clones the common 6-ounce box of Stove Top stuffing mix you find in any grocery store. This secret formula duplicates the chicken variety, the brand's most popular version. It's nice to be able to make as much of this as you want prior to the holiday crunch, and just keep it sealed up in the pantry until you're ready to use it. You have enough to worry about deciding which fruits to use in the Jell-O mold. When it's time to cook, it's just a matter of adding some water and margarine, and in 10 easy minutes this stuff is all ready to go.

    Check out my clone recipes for other Kraft favorites here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

     

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  • Score: 4.20 (votes: 5)
    KFC Macaroni & Cheese

    Here's a clone for another of KFC's famous side dishes. We'll use easy-to-melt Velveeta, with its very smooth texture, as the main ingredient for the cheese sauce. Then a bit of Cheddar cheese is added to give the sauce a perfect Cheddary sharpness like the original. This KFC mac and cheese recipe is an easy one that will take you only around 15 minutes to prepare.

    Check out my newest recipe for KFC Original Chicken and more here

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.91 (votes: 11)
    HoneyBaked Ham Glaze

    By sneaking around to the back of a HoneyBaked Ham store I witnessed the glazing process through an open door. The hams are delivered to each of the 300 HoneyBaked outlets already smoked, but without the glaze. It is only when the ham gets to your local HoneyBaked store that a special machine thin-slices the tender meat in a spiral fashion around the bone. Then, one at a time, each ham is then coated with the glaze—a blend that is similar to what might be used to make pumpkin pie. This sweet coating is then caramelized with a blowtorch by hand until the glaze bubbles and melts, turning golden brown. If needed, more of the coating is added to the HoneyBaked Glazed Ham, and the blowtorch is fired up until the glaze is just right. It's this careful process that turns the same size ham that costs 20 dollars in a supermarket into one that customers gladly shell out 3 to 4 times as much to share during the holiday season.

    For this HoneyBaked Ham glaze copycat recipe, we will re-create the glaze that you can apply to a smoked/cooked bone-in ham of your choice. Look for a ham that is pre-sliced. Otherwise you'll have to slice it yourself with a sharp knife, then the glaze will be applied. To get the coating just right you must use a blowtorch. Get the kind that is used for creme brulee from almost any kitchen supply store. They're usually pretty cheap. And don't worry—I didn't leave out an ingredient. No honey is necessary to re-create this flavorful glaze.

    Now, what's for dessert?

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Crunch 'N Munch Buttery Toffee Popcorn with Peanuts

    Look at what F. W. Rueckheim started. He was the guy who, back in the late 1800s, made candy-coated popcorn a national treasure with the invention of Cracker Jack. Now we've got Fiddle-Faddle, Screaming Yellow Zonkers, Crunch 'n Munch so many other candy-coated popcorns. Sure, these other varieties don't have the traditional prize inside the box, but let's face it, those prizes are pretty weak compared to what used to be found at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jack when I was a kid. 

    The old-fashioned molasses formula used on Cracker Jack just doesn't have the appeal of some of the other tantalizing candy coatings on popcorn today. Butter toffee is a good example, so that's what I've reverse-engineered for you here. My Crunch 'N Munch buttery toffee popcorn recipe below is simple and makes a finished product so tasty, you'll have to beg someone to take it away from you before you finish the whole bowl by yourself. All you need is a candy thermometer, some microwave popcorn, and a few other basic ingredients to re-create a home version of popcorn heaven.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.56 (votes: 9)
    Heinz Premium Chili Sauce

    The name of this tomato-based sauce belies its taste. There's not even a hint of spiciness here that someone might associate with "chili." Instead you get a sweet and sour sauce that's got more tang than ketchup, and more chunks. And what are those chunks? According to the label they're dehydrated onions, so that's exactly what we'll use in this formula. Be sure to get the kind that say dried "minced" onions, because dried "chopped" onions are too big. The recipe is a simple one since you just combine everything in a saucepan and simmer until done. And if you cruise down to the Tidbits at the bottom of this recipe, I'll show you a super-easy way to turn this saucy clone into a beautiful carbon copy of Heinz Seafood Cocktail Sauce.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Red Lobster Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Shrimp

    It's shrimp, it's bacon, it's cheese; what's not to like about this Red Lobster bacon-wrapped shrimp recipe? It's one of the groovy appetizers on the Red Lobster menu, and now you can re-create it at your crib. Find some large shrimp, a wooden skewer or toothpicks, and cook the bacon about halfway to done before you begin. Mix up clones of Red Lobster's top secret seasoning and cilantro-ranch dipping sauce, and you're minutes away from a great appetizer or party finger food dish. For other bacon-inspired dishes, try making Red Lobster's bacon-wrapped scallops recipe

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 17)
    Cheesecake Factory White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

    Menu Description: "Our creamy cheesecake with chunks of white chocolate and swirls of imported seedless raspberries throughout. Baked in a chocolate crust and finished with white chocolate shavings and whipped cream."

    Use my Cheesecake Factory White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake recipe below to make a home version of the cheesecake that many claim is the best they've ever had. Raspberry preserves are the secret ingredient that is swirled into the cream cheese that's poured into a crumbled chocolate cookie crust. Yum. No wonder this cheesecake is the number one pick from the chain's massive list of cheesecake choices.

    Love Cheesecake Factory? Find more of my recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.
     

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  • Score: 3.89 (votes: 18)
    Popeyes Red Beans and Rice

    I first created the clone for this Cajun-style recipe back in 1994 for the second TSR book, More Top Secret Recipes, but I've never been overjoyed with the results. After convincing a Popeyes manager to show me the ingredients written on the box of red bean mixture, I determined the only way to create an accurate recipe is to include an important ingredient omitted from the first version: pork fat. Emeril Lagasse—a Cajun food master—says, "pork fat rules," and it does. 

    We could get the delicious smoky fat from rendering smoked ham hocks, but that takes too long. The easiest way is to cook 4 or 5 pieces of bacon, save the cooked bacon for another recipe (or eat it!), then use 1/4 cup of the fat for my Popeyes Red Beans and rice recipe below. As for the beans, find red beans (they're smaller than kidney beans) in two 15-ounce cans. If you're having trouble tracking down red beans, red kidney beans will be a fine substitute.

    Can't get enough Popeyes? Find all of my recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.96 (votes: 24)
    Boston Market Meatloaf

    In the early 90's Boston Chicken was rockin' it. The home meal replacement chain's stock was soaring and the lines were filled with hungry customers waiting to sink their teeth into a serving of the chain's delicious rotisserie chicken. The chain was so successful with chicken, the company quickly decided it was time to introduce other entrée selections, the first of which was a delicious barbecue sauce-covered ground sirloin meatloaf. 

    Offering the other entrées presented the company with a dilemma: what to do about the name. The bigwigs decided it was time to change the name to Boston Market, to reflect a wider menu. That meant replacing signs on hundreds of units and retooling the marketing campaigns. That name change, plus rapid expansion of the chain and growth of other similar home-style meal concepts, sent the company into a tailspin. By 1988, Boston Market's goose was cooked, and the company filed for bankruptcy. Soon McDonald's stepped in to purchase the company, with the idea of closing many of the stores for good, and slapping Golden Arches on the rest. But that plan was scrapped when, after selling many of the under-performing Boston Markets, the chain began to fly once again.  Within a year of the acquisition Boston Market was profitable, and those meals with the home-cooked taste are still being served at over 700 Boston Market restaurants across the country.

    Use my Boston Market Meatloaf recipe below to copy the same flavor of that first non-chicken dish, a delicious barbecue sauce-covered ground sirloin meatloaf. You might also like to try my Boston Market side-dish recipes here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.94 (votes: 18)
    DoubleTree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

    When you check in at one of more than 250 hotels run by this U.S. chain, you are handed a bag from a warming oven that contains two soft and delicious chocolate chip cookies. This is a tradition that began in the early 80s using a recipe from a small bakery in Atlanta. All of the cookies are baked fresh every day on the hotel premises. The chain claims to give out about 29,000 cookies every day. 

    Raves for the cookies from customers convinced the hotel chain to start selling tins of the cookies online.  But if you've got an insatiable chocolate chip cookie urge that can't wait for a package to be delivered, you'll want to try my DoubleTree Hotel Chocolate Chip cookie recipe below. Just be sure to get the cookies out of the oven when they are barely turning brown so that they are soft and chewy in the middle when cool. 

    Now that you're in the swing of things, try baking more famous cookies from my recipes here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 4/10/20: In April, Hilton Hotels released the actual recipe for the DoubleTree Hotels Signature Cookie for the first time. You can view that recipe and compare it to this clone recipe I created in 2002. I got pretty close!

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  • Score: 4.39 (votes: 31)
    Outback Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bushman Bread

    Along with your meal at this huge national steakhouse chain, comes a freshly baked loaf of dark, sweet bread, served on its own cutting board with soft whipped butter. One distinctive feature of the bread is its color. How does the bread get so dark? Even though my Outback Honey Wheat Bushman bread recipe includes molasses and cocoa, these ingredients alone will not give the bread its dark chocolate brown color. Commercially produced breads that are this dark—such as pumpernickel or dark bran muffins–often contain caramel color, an ingredient used to darken foods. Since your local supermarket will not likely have this mostly commercial ingredient, we'll create the brown coloring from a mixture of three easy-to-find food colorings—red, yellow and blue. If you decide to leave the color out, just add an additional 1 tablespoon of warm water to the recipe. If you have a bread machine, you can use it for kneading the bread (you'll find the order in which to add the ingredients to your machine in "Tidbits"). Then, to finish the bread, divide and roll the dough in cornmeal, and bake.

    Check out more of my copycat Outback Steakhouse recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.18 (votes: 28)
    Benihana Japanese Fried Rice

    The talented chefs at Benihana cook food on hibachi grills with flair and charisma, treating the preparation like a tiny stage show. They juggle salt and pepper shakers, trim food with lightning speed, and flip the shrimp and mushrooms perfectly onto serving plates or into their tall chef's hat.

    One of the side dishes that everyone seems to love is the fried rice. At Benihana this dish is prepared by chefs with precooked rice on open hibachi grills, and is ordered a la cart to complement any Benihana entrée, including Hibachi Steak and Chicken. I like when the rice is thrown onto the hot hibachi grill and seems to come alive as it sizzles and dances around like a bunch of little jumping beans. Okay, so I'm easily amused.

    My Benihana Japanese fried rice recipe will go well with just about any Japanese entrée, and can be partially prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until the rest of the meal is close to done.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Dream Bars

    In 1987 the Mrs. Fields Corporation devised a rather clever treat called the Peanut Butter Dream bar, a delicious combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and a cookie-crumb crust. It was not only a tasty product, but an economical one. Mrs. Fields has always had the policy of removing cookies that are more than two hours old from outlet display cases. Now, instead of being thrown away, the chocolate chip cookies are crumbled up and mixed with melted butter to form the Dream Bar crust. 

    If you can't talk your local Mrs. Field's outlet into giving you old cookies for this Peanut Butter Dream Bar recipe, make your own Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies using my recipe here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Olive Garden Stuffed Chicken Marsala

    Menu Description: “Creamy marsala wine sauce with mushrooms over grilled chicken breasts, stuffed with Italian cheeses and sundried tomatoes. Served with garlic mashed potatoes.”

    My Olive Garden Stuffed Chicken Marsala recipe includes a marsala sauce that even marsala sauce haters will like. My wife is one of those haters, but when she tried this sauce, her eyes lit up, and she begged for more. That’s great, now I won’t have to eat alone.

    Not only is Olive Garden's delicious marsala sauce hacked here (and it’s easy to make), you’ll also get the copycat recipe for the chain's awesome Italian cheese stuffing that goes between the two pan-cooked chicken fillets. Build it, sauce it, serve it. The presentation is awesome, and the flavor will soothe your soul.

    Try this dish paired with my recent clone of Olive Garden’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes for the complete Olive Garden Stuffed Chicken Marsala experience.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Famous Dave's Wilbur Beans

    Menu Description: "Baked beans loaded with smoked pork, brisket, hot link and jalapeno peppers."

    David Anderson published a recipe for Wilbur Beans in his cookbook, Famous Dave's Backroads & Sidestreets, but the recipe isn't a perfect clone for the beans that are now served as a side dish in each of the 170 restaurants across the country. For example, the recipe in the book (the same recipe is also found abundantly across the Internet) requires strip steak which is an ingredient not found in the restaurant dish. The barbecue pork and brisket have been left out, and the book recipe requires that you use Famous Dave's barbecue sauce but is not specific about which variety of Dave's sauce to use, nor does it offer a nearly identical alternative if you can't find that particular brand. After several visits to my local Famous Dave's and chatting with the store manager, I gathered enough information to create this recipe with more accurate and specific ingredients, plus alternatives to help you whip up a spot-on clone for a dish that not only do I love to eat, but also that I felt destined to replicate once I saw the name.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.47 (votes: 15)
    Sabra Classic Hummus

    Every brand of hummus I've tried over the years has been just so-so in taste and texture, until I discovered Sabra. Now this ultra-smooth hummus—which has been rated number one in a blind taste test—is the only hummus in my fridge, unless I've made this clone. Hummus is an awesome snack as a dip for vegetables or pita chips, since it's rich in protein, soluble fiber, potassium, and Vitamin E. The secret to duplicating Sabra's smooth and creamy quality is to let your food processor work the stuff over for a solid 10 minutes. Also, when getting your Sabra hummus ingredients ready, don't use all of the liquid from the can of garbanzo beans or the hummus will end up too runny. Strain off the liquid first, then measure only 1/2 cup back into the food processor. Sabra uses canola and/or soybean oil, but you may think olive oil tastes better. Look for a jar of sesame tahini in the aisle where all the international foods are parked, and while you're there find the citric acid, which may also go by the name "sour salt." The clone below will not have the proper acidic bite without this secret ingredient, and citric acid also works as a preservative to help the leftover hummus stay fresh and tasty.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.14 (votes: 14)
    Max & Erma's Tortilla Soup

    After years of fielding requests to clone the delicious signature soup from this 100-unit chain, I was finally able to secure a couple carry-out samples from Max & Erma's at the Cleveland airport while I was there on a biz trip. Wrapped in a bundle of napkins and tucked into a carry-on bag, my samples arrived home in Vegas still warm and ready for analysis. 

    For my Max & Erma's Tortilla Soup recipe, you'll need some white and dark fillets of chicken and a half pound hunk of cheese to shred. It's all that Cheddar cheese that makes this tortilla soup so good. And you'll definitely want to shred your own, since the pre-shredded stuff—while also more expensive—just doesn't melt as well in the chicken broth as cheese that's been shredded just before it goes into the pot. 

    Update 2/8/17: This recipe may work better if you first make a sauce with the cheese before adding it to the soup. After step #2, combine 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup of milk until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese until it's melted. Keep the cheese sauce warm over low heat until you need it. Reduce the cornstarch to 1 tablespoon and dissolve it into the chicken broth in a large saucepan. Add the chicken, sautéed vegetables, and remaining ingredients for the soup (except the cheese sauce) and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese sauce and simmer the soup for another 10 minutes while you bounce to step #4.

    Find more of your favorite famous soup recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.83 (votes: 6)
    IHOP Funnel Cakes

    International House of Pancakes Funnel Cake Carnival promotion brought the famous fairground food to the masses for a limited time. As you would expect from the name, the first thing you'll need to make proper funnel cakes is, of course, a funnel. The funnel is used to swirl batter into hot oil where it will fry to a happy golden brown in about a minute on each side. Find a funnel with an opening that is at least 1/2-inch wide so that your funnel cakes will have approximately the same thickness as the IHOP version. For the frying, shortening works the best since that's what IHOP uses, but you can also use vegetable or canola oil. I used a trans fat-free shortening from Smart Balance and it worked great. Load your oil or shortening into a small saucepan with about a 6-inch diameter. This way the batter won't spread out when you funnel it into the oil, and you'll get funnel cakes that are all about the same size. When it's time to serve the dish, arrange two funnel cakes on a plate, dust them with powdered sugar, top 'em off with fruit and whipped cream, and enjoy fairground-style funnel cakes without any scary carnies watching you eat. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For over 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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