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Good job. You just found copycat recipes for all your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV Host Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. See if Todd hacked your favorite copycat recipes from K.C. Masterpiece to Orville Redenbacher's here. New recipes added every week.

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    Kraft Free Thousand Island Dressing

    Once upon a time we drenched our salads with generous portions of popular dressings such as this one and considered it a healthy pre-entree course. Just two tablespoons of the full-fat version of Thousand Island dressing packs about 10 grams of fat, and we normally use about 1/4 cup on a salad. That's 20 grams of fat in our bellies, before the main course has even started. Today we know better. You won't get even one gram of fat from a serving of this TSR formula that clones the most popular fat-free Thousand Island dressing on the supermarket shelves. 

    Nutrition facts 
    Serving size–2 tablespoons 
    Total servings–6 
    Calories per serving–40g
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Kraft Free Classic Caesar Salad Dressing

    Thanks to fat-free mayonnaise and low-fat buttermilk, we can make a homegrown version of this popular fat-free Kraft creation. You might say, “Wait a minute, how can this be fat-free when there’s buttermilk and two kinds of grated cheese in there?” Yes indeed, those products do contain fat. But, as long as a serving of the finished product contains less than ½ gram of fat—as it does here—it’s considered fat-free. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to allow this dressing to chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. 

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–2 tablespoons 
    Total servings–7 
    Calories per serving–35 
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Otis Spunkmeyer Banana Nut Muffins Reduced-Fat

    Founder Ken Rawlings opened his first baked cookie store in San Francisco in 1977, and over the next five years the chain had grown to 22 stores throughout California. In 1990, after much success, Rawlings' Otis Spunkmeyer Company started selling ready-to-bake cookie dough in grocery stores. That same year the company acquired a Modesto, California, muffin manufacturer, and Otis Spunkmeyer Muffins were born. Since then, the company has seen a 1,200 percent increase in muffins sales, and today this is America's best-selling brand of muffins.

    The banana-nut variety is my favorite, normally with 24 grams of fat per muffin, but many love the Otis Spunkmeyer blueberry muffins recipe. Real banana is a perfect substitute for much of the fat. Even with a small amount of oil in there, and the walnuts on top, these tasty Texas-size Otis Spunkmeyer banana nut muffins weigh in with less than half the fat of the original.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 muffin
    Total servings–16
    Calories per serving–147 (Original–240)
    Fat per serving–5g (Original–12g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats Fat-Free

    It wasn't long after the cereal's 1928 introduction that Kellogg Kitchens invented a way to mix Rice Krispies with melted marshmallows and butter to produce an alternative, non-breakfast use for the cereal. In the early forties, the Rice Krispies Treats recipe was printed on boxes of Rice Krispies cereal. The recipe was great for kids since it was very easy to make, required no baking and could be eaten almost immediately. The popularity of these treats inspired two additional cereals in the early nineties: Fruity Marshmallow Krispies, and Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. And at the same time, Kellogg's came out with individually packaged Rice Krispies Treats, for those who wanted instant satisfaction without having to spend time in the kitchen. But that product, just like the popular recipe printed on the cereal box, contained 2 gram of fat. And since the packaged treats are so small, it's tough to eat just one.

    By using Butter Buds Sprinkles and making some other important changes to the recipe, I have come up with a treat recipe for bars that taste like the packaged product, at considerably less cost (the recipe makes the equivalent of three boxes of the real thing), and with not a single gram of fat.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 bar
    Total servings–25
    Calories per serving–90 (Original–90)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–2g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Mars Almond Bar

    What started in Tacoma, Washington, in 1911 as a small home-based candy shop has now grown to be one of the largest privately held companies in the world. Mars products are found in more than 100 countries, and the Mars family pulls in revenues in the range of a sweet $11 billion each year.

    The Mars Almond Bar was first produced in 1936, when it was known as the Mars Toasted Almond Bar. It was reformulated in 1980 and the name was changed to Mars Bar. In 1990 it was renamed once again, becoming Mars Almond Bar.

    Do you have another favorite candy bar? See if I cloned it here

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Mars Milky Way

    The Mars Milky Way bar was the first chocolate-covered candy bar to find widespread popularity in the United States. It was developed in 1923 by the Mars family, and became so successful so quickly that the company had to build a new manufacturing plant in Chicago just to keep up with demand.

    You'll need a heavy duty mixer for this Milky Way candy bar recipe.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Nestle Crunch

    In 1867, infant mortality rates in Vevey, Switzerland, had been climbing and Henri Nestle was working hard on a concoction of concentrated milk, sugar, and cereal for babies who were refusing their mother's milk. Eventually he discovered a formula that helped infants stay strong and healthy. He called his new product Farine Lactee and merged with two American brothers, Charles and George Page, who came to Switzerland to capitalize on Swiss canned milk technology. Their new company was called Nestle and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, and quickly expanded into fifteen other countries. Seven years later, Nestle sold the company to three local businessmen for one million francs.

    The new company kept the Nestle name and started selling chocolate in 1904. In 1929, the company acquired Cailler, the first company to mass-produce chocolate bars, and Swiss General, the company credited with inventing milk chocolate. This company was the core of the chocolate business as we know it today. The Nestle Crunch bar was introduced in 1928 and is now the company's top-selling candy bar.

    Update 10/27/20: For chocolate that sets better, temper the chocolate by melting 2/3 of the chips (16 ounces) in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Be sure not to get any water in the chocolate or it will seize up. Gently stir occasionally.  When the chips are melted and smooth, remove the bowl from the hot water and place it on a bunched up dish towel. Add the remaining 8 ounces of chips and stir vigorously until they are melted. If you are having a tough time getting the chips to melt all the way, you can place the bowl over the simmering water again, but just for a couple seconds, then remove the bowl and stir again. You may also want to line your 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper, or make a sling so that the candy can be easily removed. 

    Think of all the famous candy you can make at home? Click here to see if I hacked your favorites.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Nestle 100 Grand Bar

    Nestle is the world's largest packaged food manufacturer, coffee roaster, and chocolate maker. It is the largest single company in Switzerland today, but Nestle derives only 2 percent of its revenue from its home country.

    The company is quite diverse. Nestle's product lines include beverages and drinks, chocolate and candy, dairy products, and frozen foods. The company also operates more than thirty Stouffer Hotels and owns 25 percent of the French cosmetics giant L'Oreal. In the United States, where the company is called Nestle USA, it ranks third behind Mars, Inc., and Hershey in chocolate sales.

    This candy bar was introduced in 1966 as the $100,000 Bar, then its name was changed to 100 Grand Bar in 1985.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Crackers

    The beginning of the graham cracker goes back to the early 1800s when Sylvester Graham thought his new invention was the secret to a lifetime of perfect health, even sexual prowess—certainly extraordinary claims for a cracker. But this came from the man thought to be quite a wacko in his time, since he had earlier claimed that eating ketchup could ruin your brain. So, while his crispy whole wheat creation was not the cure for every known ailment, the sweet crackers still became quite a fad, first in New England around the 1830s and then spreading across the country. Today, graham crackers remain popular as a low-fat, snack-time munchable, and, most notably, as the main ingredient in smores.

    You don't need to use graham flour for my honey graham cracker recipe, since that stuff is similar to the whole wheat flour you find in your local supermarket. 

    Try my recipes for cinnamon and chocolate graham crackers in my book: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–2 crackers
    Total servings–22
    Calories per serving–120
    Fat per serving–3g

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Nabisco SnackWells Banana Snack Bars

    In 1996, Nabisco built up its growing line of SnackWell's baked products with the introduction of low-fat snack bars in several varieties, including fudge brownie, golden cake, apple raisin, and the chewy banana variety cloned here. The secret ingredient that keeps the fat grams under 2 grams per serving is banana puree, which makes the cake moist while adding real banana flavor. The egg whites rather than whole eggs, molasses and just a little bit of shortening also help maintain flavor and moistness, without too much added fat. Whip it all up, pour it into a pan and bake. Soon you'll have 21 tasty little low-fat snack bars to get you through the week, guilt-free.

    Click here for more Nabisco copycat recipes.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size–1 bar
    Servings–21
    Calories per serving–118
    Fat per serving–1.8g

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

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  • Score: 4.93 (votes: 15)
    Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie

    To dispel the urban legend of the $250 recipe in the infamous chain letter, Neiman Marcus created an actual recipe for chocolate chip cookies and displayed it on the Neiman Marcus website. Since I get so many request for that formula, I'm posting the real Neiman Marcus recipe here. 

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 5)
    Nestle Baby Ruth Candy Bar

    Beneath the chocolate of Nestle's popular candy bar is a chewy, peanut-covered center that resembles Hershey's PayDay. To clone this one we'll only have to make a couple adjustments to the PayDay clone recipe, then add the milk chocolate coating. Even though the wrapper of this candy bar calls the center "nougat," it's more of a white or blonde fudge that you can make in a saucepan on your stovetop with a candy thermometer.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Kellogg's Low-Fat Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts

    Not even Tony the Tiger is a match for the world’s most beloved toaster pastries. Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes is the best-selling cereal in the U.S., but Pop-Tarts are an even bigger seller for the food manufacturer, with $330 million in sales in 1996. The two-to-a-pack rectangular snacks were born in 1964, when Kellogg’s followed a competitor’s idea for breakfast pastries that could be heated through in an ordinary toaster. With the company’s experience in cereals and grains it was able to create pastries in a variety of flavors. Pop-Tarts have always dominated the toaster pastry market, but in the first half of the 1990s Nabisco was coming on strong with its own toaster pastries called Toastettes. Toastettes became so appealing to consumers because the package held eight pastries, while Pop-Tarts had six to a box. In June of 1996, Kellogg’s added two more Pop-Tarts to each box without changing the price, and Toastettes sales quickly dropped by 45 percent.

    Another move against competitor Nabisco came that same year when Kellogg’s introduced its new line of low-fat Pop-Tarts. Nabisco had earlier introduced low-fat toaster-pastries in its SnackWell’s line, but Kellogg’s low-fat version of Pop-Tarts was a much better seller.

    This recipe makes eight clones, or a box’s worth of the toaster pastries. Be sure to roll the dough very flat when preparing the pastries, and toast them on the very lowest setting of your toaster. Watch the pastries closely and pop ‘em up if the frosting begins to turn brown. 

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 pastry 
    Total servings–8 
    Calories per serving–219 
    Fat per serving–3g

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 5)
    K.C. Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce

    Even though it's now owned and produced by the Clorox Company, Original K.C. Masterpiece barbecue sauce is the same as when it was first created in good ole Kansas City, USA. This is the sauce that steals awards from all the other popular sauces on the market. Now it's sold in a variety of flavors. 

    My K.C. Masterpiece barbecue sauce recipe below clones the original, and you'll find it very easy to make. Just throw all of the ingredients in a saucepan, crank it up to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. Done deal. And just like the original Masterpiece, this stuff will make a work of art out of any of your grilled meats, or burgers and sandwiches, and as a dipping sauce or marinade.

    Complete your meal with my KFC Cole Slaw recipe.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.70 (votes: 10)
    Kellogg's Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats

    Kellogg's reacted to spectacular sales of its Rice Krispies Treats with two new varieties of the popular and addictive snack, and TSR got on the case. Just about everyone has tasted the original Rice Krispies Treats. The homemade version is the first assignment in Cooking 101, after learning how to boil water. And the Kellogg's store-bought packaged version has been available for several years now. This variety, however, puts that whole Reese's "You got your peanut butter in my chocolate"  thing to work. But don't be fooled by that dark "chocolatey" coating on top. It's not actually chocolate, but rather a melt-resistant custom blend of cocoa and, uh, stuff, that tastes like chocolate but adds longer shelf-life. In the hack lab we don't use such ingredients. Instead we'll melt some real chocolate in the microwave to top our cinch of a crispy clone. Much better.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.00 (votes: 1)
    Screaming Yellow Zonkers Low Fat

    This oddly name popcorn confection gets its yellow color from the butter-flavored popcorn beneath the nearly clear candy coating. We'll use microwave popcorn for this low-fat version, and we'll throw in some real butter and butter flavoring for just the right touch. With this secret formula, we can duplicate the taste of the original with only half the fat.

    Check out some of our other clones for Fiddle FaddlePoppycockCracker Jack, and Crunch N' Munch

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 cup
    Total servings–12
    Calories per serving–107 (Original–140)
    Fat per serving–2g (Original–4g)

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

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    Otis Spunkmeyer Wild Blueberry Muffins Reduced-Fat

    After baking the big 'ol muffins, Otis Spunkmeyer freezes them so that they stay fresh on the way to the stores. Vendors thaw out the tasty baked goodies before displaying them on their shelves. Even after the muffins reach room temperature, they still have a very impressive shelf life of twenty-one days.

    You can also freeze the muffins you make with this reduced-fat clone recipe. Just wait until they cool, then wrap the muffins in plastic wrap, and toss them in the freezer. And remember, the shelf life of your version without preservatives will be much less than that of the real McCoy, so dive into those muffins post haste.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 muffin
    Total servings–16
    Calories per serving–165 (Original–210)
    Fat per serving–4 g (Original–11g)

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    Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Muffins Reduced-Fat

    In Cayce, South Carolina, Otis Spunkmeyer muffins were manufactured with state-of-the-art robotic equipment that would make R2-D2 jealous. The amazing machines do everything from packaging 130 muffins per minute to sealing up the cartons for a quick shipment to stores across the country.

    This Top Secret Recipes reduced-fat clone version uses unsweetened applesauce to keep the muffins moist and to help replace fat.

    Find more yummy copycat snack recipes here

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 muffin
    Total servings–16
    Calories per serving–160 (Original–240)
    Fat per serving–5.5g (Original–13g)

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

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    Keebler Pecan Sandies Reduced-Fat

    The full-fat version of these delicious discs are the top-selling shortbread cookies in the United States. It's no wonder the baked-goods giant elected to introduce a reduced-fat version in 1994. You'll find this clone as easy to make as any other cookie recipe, but with much less fat in the crispy finished product.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 cookie
    Total servings–30
    Calories per serving–80
    Fat per serving–3g

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

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    Little Debbie Little Debbie Oatmeal Lights

    These soft, creme-filled cookies are one of the most drooled-over snacks in the popular line of Little Debbie products. The secret to cloning the light version of these mouthwatering sandwich cookies is in re-creating the soft, chewy consistency of the oatmeal cookies. To duplicate the texture, the cookies are slightly underbaked. For the filling we'll use marshmallow creme straight out of the jar. Just be sure to eat these within a day or two of filling them, since the filling may begin to slowly creep out from between the cookies in warm weather. Also, keep these sandwich cookies wrapped in plastic or sealed in an airtight container so that they'll stay moist and chewy.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich cookie
    Total servings–20
    Calories per serving–146
    Fat per serving–2.5g

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

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    Nabisco Reduced-Fat Oreo Cookies

    There is no consensus on the origin of the name "Oreo." But one of the most interesting explanations I've heard is that the two o's from the word chocolate were placed on both sides of re from the word creme. This way the name seems to mimic the construction of the famed sandwich cookie.

    That may or may not be true, but I know this for sure: Nabisco introduced a reduced-fat version of its popular cookie in 1994. With only half the fat, it manages to taste just as good as the original version invented way back in 1912. We cut back on the fat for our clone here by re-creating the creme filling without any of the shortening you'd find in the original full-fat version. We do this with a special technique developed in the secret underground Top Secret Recipes test kitchen that allows you to create a delicious, fat-free filling in your microwave. If you want the cookies as dark as the original, include the optional brown paste food coloring in your recipe.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3 cookies
    Total servings–18
    Calories per serving–150
    Fat per serving–3.5g

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    Kraft Free Catalina Dressing

    In 1958, Kraft became one of the first companies to introduce low-calorie salad dressings, with diet versions of Italian, French, Bleu Cheese, and Thousand Island dressings. Then, in 1990, Kraft scored another series of hits with its line of fat-free dressings. Today, fat-free and low-fat dressings are just about as popular and diverse as the full-fat varieties. 

    Here’s a TSR clone to create a fat-free dressing like the popular Catalina variety from the innovative food conglomerate. Cornstarch and gelatin help thicken the dressing and give it a smooth texture so that you don’t miss the many fat grams of the traditional stuff. 

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–2 tablespoons 
    Total servings–8 
    Calories per serving–40
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Nabisco Cheese Nips

    Here's a clone recipe that gets one very important ingredient from another packaged product. The powdered cheese included in the Kraft instant macaroni & cheese kits flavors this homegrown version of the popular bright orange crackers. You'll need a can of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese cheese topping or two boxes of the most inexpensive instant variety of macaroni & cheese—you know, the kind with the cheese powder. Two boxes will give you enough cheese to make 300 crackers. As for the macaroni left over in the box, just use that for another recipe requiring elbow macaroni.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.50 (votes: 2)
    Minute Maid All Natural Lemonade

    Minute Maid is credited with creating the modern orange juice industry by marketing the first frozen concentrated orange juice in 1946. Today the company is owned by The Coca-Cola Company and sells juices, punches, and fruit drinks in countries all over the world. Minute Maid also sells one of the most recognized brands of lemonade, made from lemon concentrate. You can easily duplicate the taste of the drink at home, but since this TSR version is made with fresh lemons, it might just edge out the real thing in a side-by-side taste test.

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

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    Necco Candy Butttons

    The majority of paper that I ingested as a kid most likely came from eating these crunchy candy dots of flavored sugar. Peeling the buttons off the strips was never an entirely pure candy experience since there were always several buttons removed with haste that came with a bonus layer of paper stuck to the underside. And perhaps part of the candy’s charm was making a game out of attaining a clean, paper-free button removal.

    Candy Buttons or Candy Dots were created in the 1930s when an engineer at Cumberland Valley Company in New York created a machine to produce tiny dots of flavored sugar onto strips of paper. Necco bought Cumberland Valley in 1980 and became the sole manufacturer of the colorful candy strips until the company declared bankruptcy in 2018, and the famous candies, including Necco Wafers, Sweethearts, and Clark Bar, were sold off to the highest bidders. Candy buttons almost became a dead food, but fortunately, the product was resurrected when it was purchased by Cincinnati-based Doscher’s Candies, and today candy buttons are alive and well.

    A strip of the original pastel-colored candy buttons includes a combination of cherry, lemon, and lime flavors, but you can make your homemade Necco candy buttons any flavor or color you like with this recipe using the same ingredients as the real deal. For flavoring, find the popular LorAnn candy flavoring oils and add one bottle to the pan as the candy is cooling. Get some coated butcher paper and cut it into 11x2-inch strips (or any size you want, really), and use the back end of a skewer to place your dots on the paper. After a couple of days of drying the candy will be crunchy just like the original, and with coated paper, the sugar should make a clean release for a paperless burst of sweet nostalgia.

    The recipe will make at least 1000 candy buttons, but I’m not sure of the exact amount since I only got through about half of the pan of candy syrup to determine yield when my sanity came into question. Don’t feel obligated to use up the whole pan of candy for your buttons. For three different flavors of buttons on each strip like the original, you'll need to make three batches of candy.

    Click here for more of my copycat recipes of famous candy.

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    Lofthouse Frosted Cookies

    When the Lofthouse frosted cookies were first produced from a handed-down family recipe in a makeshift bakery in the back of a Utah garage in 1994, it's likely the ingredients were different than they are in the mass-produced product found in markets across the country today. To maintain a long shelf-life, it is common for baked goods to be manufactured with nondairy substitutes, so butter is often replaced with hydrogenated oil and butter flavoring (otherwise known as margarine), and various vegetable gums and preservatives are added to improve the texture and stabilize the product. 

    Rather than using ingredients such as artificial flavoring, lecithin, cellulose gum, or carrageenan in my Lofthouse cookie recipe, as you will see on the label of the store product, we will use real butter, fresh eggs, and vanilla extract in our clone - perhaps just as the family who created this recipe did back in the day. The big difference is that you have to be sure to eat the cookies within a few days to get that freshly baked taste and texture. Or you may want to freeze them. Cake flour is used here rather than all-purpose flour to duplicate the tender, cakey texture of the original, and sour cream is used to add in the dairy needed without overliquefying the dough (as milk would). An added benefit of sour cream is the high acidity, which activates the leavening power of the baking soda. The dough is still going to be much thinner and tackier that typical cookie dough, so chilling it for a couple of hours before portioning it out onto a baking sheet is a must to make it easier to shape. 

    Get the full recipe in Todd Wilbur's "Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step" cookbook. 

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Milo's Famous Sweet Tea

    Milo Carlton opened the first Milo’s Hamburger Shop in Brirmingham, Alabama in 1946 serving hamburgers, pies and freshly brewed iced tea which customers would sweeten from a bowl of sugar on each table. But because of a sugar ration caused by the war, Milo was forced to do something no one had tried before: he took all the sugar bowls off of the tables and pre-sweetened the tea. When customers realized the tea was better than they could make themselves Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea became as popular as the food.

    In the late 80’s, Milo’s began selling the Famous Sweet Tea in gallon jugs in grocery stores in the Birmingham area, and it has been a growing successful product ever since, recently becoming a national brand.

    To duplicate Milo's famous sweet tea, you absolutely must start with Southern tea bags, and that means Luzianne. This New Orleans tea company crafts its tea blend especially for iced tea. You will get the best clone of Southern-style sweet tea with this brand. If you can’t find Luzianne, you can still make great tea with Lipton Iced Tea Bags.

    Check out more of my recipes for famous drinks here. 

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  • Score: 4.91 (votes: 11)
    Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies (TV)

    I jumped at the chance to get another crack at hacking one of America's most famous chocolate chip cookies when I was faced with the challenge for my show, Top Secret Recipe. After all, this was the very first recipe I cloned over twenty-five years ago, and I've learned many new tricks for replicating the famous foodstuffs since then. Getting the chance to improve on my old secret recipes with new information was a golden opportunity to craft the best Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie clone recipe ever revealed. So I hopped on a plane and headed to Salt Lake City to meet with Tim Casey, president and CEO of Mrs. Fields Cookies.

    Tim showed me around the flavoring labs and test kitchens of Mrs. Fields HQ. I watched cookie dough being mixed, noting the oven temperature and length of time the cookies were baked. I was also able to discover one important trick I missed in my first recipe: after the dough was portioned out onto baking sheets, it was frozen. This way, when the cookies were baked, they came out crispy on the edges and soft and gooey in the middle. It made a huge difference!

    The company was understandably vague on the specifics of the proprietary vanilla and chocolate chips they use in the cookies, but I discovered through taste tests that Madagascar vanilla extract and high-quality chocolate chips such as those made by Guittard (or even Ghirardelli) are the way to go.

    Mission accomplished! What follows is my much-improved re-hack of the classic recipe that started it all, and perhaps one of the best chocolate chip cookies to ever come out of your oven. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step by Todd Wilbur.

     

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    King's Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

    A recipe for Portuguese sweet bread inspired the soft rolls that became a big hit at Robert Tiara's Bakery & Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1950s. It wasn’t long before Robert changed the name of his thriving business to King’s Hawaiian, and in 1977 the company opened its first bakery on the mainland, in Torrance, California, to make the now-famous island sweet rolls sold in stores across the U.S.

    King’s Hawaiian Rolls are similar to Texas Roadhouse Rolls in that they are both pillowy, sweet white rolls, so it made sense to dig out my Texas Roadhouse Rolls clone recipe and use it as a starting point. These new rolls had to be slightly softer and sweeter, so I made some adjustments and added a little egg for color. And by baking the dough in a high-rimmed baking pan with 24 dough balls placed snugly together, I ended up with beautiful rolls that rose nicely to the occasion, forming a tear-apart loaf just like the original King's Hawaiian Rolls, but with clean ingredients, and without the dough conditioners found in the packaged rolls.

    Use these fluffy sweet rolls for sandwiches, sliders, or simply warmed up and slathered with soft European butter.

    This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2020. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes for the year: Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce (#1), Olive Garden Lasagna Classico (#2), Pei Wei Better Orange Chicken (#4), Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas (#5).

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Nabisco Fig Newtons

    In 1891, a baker named Charles Rosen invented a machine that inserted fig paste into seamless pastry dough and was soon mass-producing one of the first commercially baked products in America. Rosen named his creation after the nearby town of Newton, Massachusetts, and eventually sold the recipe to the Kennedy Biscuit Company, which later became Nabisco. Today Nabisco sells over 1 billion Fig Newtons each year.

    It has long been my wish to create a satisfying clone of such an iconic snack, but I was never quite sure how to go about it. The fig filling needs to be sweet with a sour aftertaste, and thick like jam. The thin pastry would need to be tender, not tough, and should smoothly wrap around the figs without cracking. After a week or so of pureeing dry figs and testing pastry doughs, I finally created a Fig Newton recipe that tasted great and looked just like the original.

    Since you likely don’t have a fig bar extruder in your kitchen like Charles Rosen did, we’ll use a dough folding technique to make nicely shaped bars with smooth sides, no cracks, and no visible seam. The trick is to roll out the dough on wax paper, then wrap the dough around the fig filling by lifting the wax paper up and over the filling. You can cleanly manipulate very thin dough this way, and when you flip the bar over, the seam will be hidden.

    Re-hydrating the dried figs will help make them easier to puree, and the dry pectin in the mix will thicken the figs to a jammy consistency and give the filling additional tartness (citric acid is in pectin to help activate it). This clone recipe will make 48 cookies, or more than twice what you get in two 10-ounce packages of the real thing.

    Get this recipe in "Top Secret Recipes Unleashed" exclusively on Amazon.com.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Orville Redenbacher's Movie Theater Butter Popcorn

    The health concerns regarding microwave popcorn are a result of the way it’s packaged. For the corn to pop, the kernels are submerged in boiling fat inside the bag until a buildup of steam in the kernels causes them to burst. To prevent the liquid fat from seeping through, the bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, which, unfortunately for microwave popcorn lovers, has been linked to cancer and other nasty things.

    I set out on a mission to make better homemade microwave popcorn with only natural ingredients, and without using costly popping gadgets. I also wanted to avoid using plastic, tape, or metal, such as staples. My solution is a new method of prepping the kernels, but like many other techniques I researched, it requires paper lunch bags. I was dismayed to find some discussions about the potential for problems using brown paper bags in your microwave oven, such as fire, but I had absolutely no issues any of the many times I did it. No smoke, no sparks, nothing looking at all dangerous was going on inside my cooking box. The USDA states that using paper bags in your microwave, “may cause a fire, and may emit toxic fumes,” yet the internet is full of microwave popcorn recipes calling for paper bags. I chose to still share my recipe and technique, but ultimately leave it up to you to decide if it’s a hack recipe you feel safe using. If you’d rather stay on the safe side, see the Tidbits for an alternate technique. 

    My Orville Redenbacher's Movie Theater Butter Popcorn recipe starts with clarifying butter so that it’s pure fat, without any milk solids or water. Butter is about 16 percent water and if any of that stays in the mix, your popcorn will be on a fast trip to Soggytown. Once the butter is clarified, we’ll combine it with popcorn and salt and freeze it into pucks that can be saved for weeks until you are ready to make quick popcorn.

    When it’s popcorn time, a puck goes into a small bowl, which goes inside two interlocking paper bags. After a warming session, you hit the “popcorn” button on your microwave oven and the popcorn will pop just like the store product (you may have to add another 30 seconds or so of cooking time). The first bag will soak up the excess butter that splashes around inside as the popcorn pops, and the second bag will keep the butter from messing up your oven.

    To serve, pull the bags apart over a big bowl, and you’ll have a fresh batch of hot microwave popcorn coated perfectly with real butter and salt. 

    If you're like me and you like things spicy, try sprinkling your copycat Orville Redenbacher Movie Theatre Popcorn with my original Hell Flakes to create what we like to call "Hell Corn".

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Kozy Shack Rice Pudding (Improved)

    My previously published recipe hack of America's most popular rice pudding was not clear about which kind of rice to use. That's a problem because not all rice is 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 reworked my Kozy Shack Rice Pudding recipe using many different types of rice, including 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 are all it takes to make this new, improved clone.

    And now there's no need for a cooking thermometer as required in my previous recipe, since you can just add the rice 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 it’s cool, creamy, and ready to eat.

    Also, check out my copycat recipe for Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding.

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  • Not rated yet
    Nothing Bundt Cakes White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

    While sharing a Bundt cake one day in 1997, amateur bakers and close friends Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz realized they could do better. After much experimentation, the duo discovered a batter that produced a moist, delicious cake, which was a huge improvement over the dense, dry cake usually associated with Bundts. But they weren’t done yet.

    The next step was to decide how to best frost their new Bundt cake. Traditionally, Bundt cakes are glazed by drizzling warm icing over the top, which drips down the sides and dries there. But the pair didn’t want to use glaze. They had a cream cheese icing they thought tasted better than any glaze, but it took some time to figure out how to apply it. They eventually settled on frosting their Bundts with large piped vertical ropes, so the icing looks like it’s dripping down the outside of the cake.

    To make a Bundt cake that matches the moistness and crumb of the real Nothing Bundt Cake, it’s important to start with the right flour. The cake has more bite to it than one made with only cake flour, but it isn’t as tough as one made with all-purpose flour. That’s why I settled on pastry flour, like the one from Bob’s Red Mill. Pastry flour contains more protein than cake flour, but not as much as all-purpose flour, so it works perfectly here. If you can’t find pastry flour, no need to worry. I’ve got a way for you to hack it by combining cake flour with all-purpose flour in a 2-to-1 ratio.

    The raspberry puree is made from scratch using frozen raspberries and it’s swirled into the batter before the cake goes into the oven. While the cake cools you can make the cream cheese buttercream icing. Get a 1A tip, which is a wide, circular tip for a pastry bag or gun, to make ropes of icing over the top and down the sides of the cake all the way around, just like the original.

    Get this recipe in "Top Secret Recipes Unleashed" exclusively on Amazon.com.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Kahlua Coffee Liqueur (Improved)

    The redesigned Kahlua Coffee Liqueur labels now says "Rum and Coffee Liqueur," which is a helpful description when creating a clone version of the famous cordial. This text was not on the bottle 30 years ago when I made my first version of this liqueur using vodka—not rum. So, back into the lab went I, to create an improved version of the drink with rum, just like the label says.

    I used light rum for my Kahlua recipe because it is more of a neutral taste like the vodka called for in my first version, but since it doesn't include the caramel color added to Kahlua, your drink will come out a lighter shade of brown than the real stuff. However, you can also use dark rum in this recipe, which will add other flavor notes to your finished product, plus caramel color to deepen the shade of your liqueur.  

    There are many other famous drinks you can make at home! See if I cloned your favorites here

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  • Not rated yet
    Nabisco Reduced-Fat Oreo Cookies

    There is no consensus on the origin of the name "Oreo." But one of the most interesting explanations I've heard is that the two o's from the word chocolate were placed on both sides of re from the word creme. This way the name seems to mimic the construction of the famed sandwich cookie.

    That may or may not be true, but I know this for sure: Nabisco introduced a reduced-fat version of its popular cookie in 1994. With only half the fat, it manages to taste just as good as the original version invented way back in 1912. We cut back on the fat for our clone here by re-creating the creme filling without any of the shortening you'd find in the original full-fat version. We do this with a special technique developed in the secret underground Top Secret Recipes test kitchen that allows you to create a delicious, fat-free filling in your microwave. If you want the cookies as dark as the original, include the optional brown paste food coloring in your recipe.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3 cookies
    Total servings–18
    Calories per serving–150
    Fat per serving–3.5g

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  • Not rated yet
    Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows

    The most popular recipe circulating on the internet and among Food Network chefs who claim it as their own makes decent marshmallows, but the ubiquitous formula won’t pass as a hack for America’s favorite marshmallows, Jet-Puffed. I know this for sure because my eleven-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. After testing the sweetness for myself I decided she was right, so I reduced the sugar for my Jet-Puffed Marshmallow recipe. I also adjusted the flavor by adding more 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 up 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 boys 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 fantastic s'mores.

     

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  • Not rated yet
    Knott's Berry Farm Shortbread Cookies

    It’s been nearly 100 years since Walter and Cordelia Knott first started selling berries, preserves, and pies from their roadside produce stand in Buena Park, California. Walter Knott’s berry stand and farm was a popular stop throughout the 1920s for travelers heading to the Southern California beaches.

    But Walter’s big claim to fame came in 1932 when he cultivated and sold the world’s first boysenberries—a hybrid of raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, and dewberry. This new berry brought so many people to the farm that they added a restaurant, featuring Cordelia’s secret fried chicken recipe, and the Knotts struck gold again.

    The fried chicken was a huge hit, and the restaurant got so crowded the Knotts added rides and attractions to the farm to keep customers occupied while they waited for a table. Over the years the real berry farm transformed into an amusement park called Knott’s Berry Farm—one of my favorites as a kid—which is now ranked as the tenth most visited theme park in North America.

    Knott’s Berry Farm is also a brand of delicious preserves, jams, and other foods, including these fantastic little jam-filled shortbread thumbprint cookies that everyone seems to love. The shortbread dough is piped into closed “c” shapes with a pastry bag onto baking sheets, then a little bit of jam is spooned into the center. You’ll need a pastry bag and a 1M open star tip, plus your favorite seedless jam. Once you’ve got all that, making Knott's Berry Farm Shortbread cookies is pretty easy.

    Follow this link for more copycat cookies, brownies and treats.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Bar

    You probably think the dark chocolaty 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 list, 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 probably why it’s used here.

    But just because Kind uses chicory, doesn’t mean we have to. For our Kind Bar recipe, 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.

    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 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 homemade Kind bars are ready to eat.

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Mars Munch Bar

    At one point Mars, Inc. chose to capitalize on the company's best-selling candy bar, and called this one Snickers Munch Bar. I think that may have been confusing to consumers who expected to open the wrapper and find something inside resembling a Snickers bar. Other than the abundance of peanuts in this butter toffee brittle, this candy bar is nothing like Snickers. It is, however, an awesome peanut brittle that's super-easy to clone. The original is made with only six ingredients: peanuts, sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt, and soy lecithin. The soy lecithin is an emulsifier used here for texture, but this ingredient is hard to find, and we really don't need it for a good clone. Use a candy thermometer to bring the mixture of sugar, butter, and corn syrup up to 300 degrees F, then stir in warmed, salted peanuts. When the candy has cooled, break it into chunks and you will have created the equivalent of 12 bars of the addicting original. 

    Satisfy your candy craving with more of my copycat candy recipes here

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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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