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    Score: 4.69. Votes: 13

    As the holidays come around, so too does this incredible latte from Starbucks. Into the coffee house's basic latte recipe go a few pumps of special gingerbread-flavored syrup, and we soon experience the combined sensation of munching on a gingerbread cookie while sipping hot, milky java. Nice. To re-create the experience at home for the holidays at mere fraction of the cost of the real thing, all we have to do is make our own gingerbread syrup with a few common ingredients. When the syrup is done, simply brew some espresso in your espresso machine, steam some hot milk, and throw it all in a cup. Top off your latte with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg as they do at the store, and you'll fool anyone with this hot little clone. By the way, this recipe is for a single grande-size latte but you'll have enough syrup for as many as seven drinks.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.00. Votes: 1

    These awesome shakes are unique—the graham cracker crumbs in the mix make them taste like a creamy chilled pie, crust and all. Delicious. You can either crumble up your own graham crackers or use the already ground stuff in a box that's often used to make graham cracker pie crusts. 

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

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    Score: 4.88. Votes: 8

    Here's a great one for the holidays, or anytime you want, really. It's a mint chocolate brownie with peppermint buttercream frosting on top and creamy chocolate frosting on top of that. And to simplify the cloning process, we start with a common fudge brownie mix. By changing the required ingredients listed on the brownie mix box and modifying some steps, we can improve on the finished product. Rather than oil, use a stick of melted butter in your brownies for a richer, better flavor. And cook the brownies at a slightly lower temperature so that they come out moist and chewy. Since this recipe is for peppermint brownies, add just a bit of peppermint extract to the batter. The peppermint brownies from Starbucks have red and white frosting drizzled lightly across the top. To duplicate this easily you can buy premade red and white colored frostings that come in little cans with tips included.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.25. Votes: 8

    Menu Description: "Grilled chicken breast with Portobello mushrooms, smoked mozzarella and demi glace, with a spinach orzo pasta."

    Fire up the grill for this take on one of Romano's most popular entrees. After you grill a couple portobello caps, slice them thinly at an extreme angle to make wide slices that fit perfectly on top of grilled chicken breasts that have been rubbed with stone ground mustard (the kind with the whole mustard seeds in it). Romano's delicious demi glace is made from reduced veal stock, but a nice substitute can be made from a combination of canned beef broth and chicken broth. With plenty of garlic, rosemary and thyme in there, the aroma of sauce simmering on the stove will make everyone in the house drool.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 1/25/17: If your demi glace is too thin add an additional tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken. 

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    Menu Description: "Breast of chicken basted with BBQ sauce & topped with Cheddar cheese, tomato, fresh avocado, and black beans. Served with Ranch dressing & garlic cheese bread."

    In 1969, Gerald Kingen bought a beat-up 30-year old bar called Red Robin in Seattle across the road from the University of Washington. The pub did a booming business with the college and local crowd, but in 1973 building officials gave their opinion of the bar: either fix it up or shut it down. Jerry not only fixed up the 1200-square-foot building, but also expanded it to three times its old size, and added a kitchen to start making food. Red Robin soon became popular for its wide selection of gourmet burgers in addition to the designer cocktails. Jerry says wanted to create a chain of restaurants that would be recoginized as "the adult McDonald's and poor man's Trader Vic's."

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 5

    Menu Description: "It's our signature recipe."

    Bring the tropical spirit of this drink to your house with a clone of this potent cocktail from the growing Chinese bistro chain. Mai tai is Tahitian for "out of this world," and P.F. Chang's recipe is one of the best and most authentic. The secret to a true mai tai is found in the original recipe developed by Trader Vic in 1944: almond-flavored syrup, called "orgeat." You can find the sweet stuff in stores that sell coffee flavorings (Torani is one very popular brand), or from bar supply outlets. If you can't find orgeat, there's a clone recipe included in the Tidbits below.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.50. Votes: 8

    Menu Description: "Stir-fried with garlic."

    This is a standard side dish at the country's biggest Chinese dinner chain, and it'll take you just a couple minutes to duplicate at home as a good veggie side for any meal, Chinese or otherwise. It's especially good when you're pressed to slam together a last minute vegetable for tonight's dinner. You can use a wok for this, but I always just use a medium-size saute pan. The trick is to saute the snap peas quickly over high heat, tossing often, until they're hot, yet still crispy and bright green. You get the garlic in right at the end, and then quickly pull the pan off the heat so the garlic doesn't scorch. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Wok-seared with Chang's barbecue sauce."

    One of the most popular eats on P. F. Chang's appetizer menu is the Chinese spare ribs that arrive slathered with Asian-style barbecue sauce. The Asian flavor comes from the addition of sweet hoisin sauce to a fairly rudimentary barbecue sauce formula. Chang's menu says these ribs are spare ribs although they appear to be much smaller, more like baby backs. You can certainly use either for this recipe, just be sure to trim the ribs first, since the restaurant version is lean, clean ribs with no extra meat or fat hanging off. There are several ways to cook pork ribs—P. F. Chang's boils theirs first, then fries them. After that, the ribs are tossed with the sauce in wok and served piping hot. A serving of these ribs at the restaurant is 6 individual ribs, but since a full rack is as many as 12 ribs, this recipe will make twice what you get in a serving at the bustling bistro chain.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "A smaller, but equally tender filet...the tenderest corn-fed Mid-western beef. So tender it practically melts in your mouth."

     

    This is the signature item for the Ruth's Chris chain. It's a delicious filet mignon that comes to your table sizzling hot and so tender you can cut it with a fork. If you want to prepare filets the Ruth's Chris way you first need some prime corn-fed filets, which can be found in specialty meat markets or through mail-order outlets such as Omaha Steaks. Prime is your best choice, but the technique will still work with other grades of beef. 

    This recipe duplicates the petite filet on the Ruth's Chris menu, since the larger filet is so big—about 14 ounces. Ruth's Chris uses a special broiler which reaches temperatures as high as 1800 degrees F. It's likely you don't have such an oven, so you can use a conventional oven set on high broil, with the rack inches away from the heat source. If you have a gas oven, watch for flame-ups from spattering. If you begin to get flames, move the rack to a lower level. Also, you will need ceramic oven-safe plates to serve the sizzling steak on. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 8

    "Ruth's Chris Steak House" is such a difficult name to spit out that a restaurant critic suggested it be used as a sobriety test. Surely anyone who could say the name three times fast couldn't possibly be intoxicated. But the hard-to-say name has worked well for the steakhouse chain—it's memorable. The name came from the first restaurant that Ruth purchased in 1965 called Chris Steak House. When she opened a second restaurant with that same name, the previous owner, Chris Matulich, tried to sue her. She won the case, but to avoid future law suits, she put her name in front of the original and it became the tongue twister we know today.

    The delicious creamed spinach served at Ruth's Chris inspired this recipe that has just a hint of cayenne pepper in it for that Louisiana zing. The recipe requires a package of frozen spinach to make it convenient, but you can use the same amount of fresh spinach if you prefer.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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