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Welcome. You just found copycat recipes for all of 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. Find all the best restaurant recipes from P..F.Chang's to Tony Roma's here. New recipes added every week.

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    Since Panera Bread makes all its ingredients known, it's not hard to find out that there’s no chicken broth in the original recipe, yet every copycat recipe I located online calls for chicken broth, as well as other ingredients clearly not found in Panera's version. Unlike other hacks, I’ve made this copycat using the same ingredients found listed on the company’s website.

    According to the ingredients info, there is yeast extract in the soup. This tasty ingredient provides the MSG-like savoriness in Panera’s soup, and we can duplicate it by using nutritional yeast—often called "nooch"—now found in many stores including Whole Foods. A little bit of nooch will provide the umami deliciousness that makes chicken broth unnecessary here.

    Panera keeps its soup gluten-free by thickening it with a combination of rice flour and cornstarch, rather than wheat flour. I’ve included those ingredients as well so that your clone is similarly gluten-free. Use the steps below and in about an hour you’ll have about 8 servings of a soup that is a culinary doppelganger for Panera Bread's all-time favorite soup, but at a mere fraction of the cost.

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    Panera’s turkey chili is a wholesome and flavorful mix of dark meat turkey, beans, tomatoes, chilies, carrots, onions and spices that’s easy to hack at home, once you know the secrets. I found that adding turkey in two forms—ground and sliced—resulted in the best copy. The sliced turkey should be dark meat, if possible, but if you can’t find uncooked, sliced dark meat, white meat is fine. It doesn’t finish quite as tender and flavorful as the dark meat, but it still works.

    To further improve flavor I’m slipping in some nutritional yeast, which acts like MSG. Panera uses a natural yeast extract similar to this in many of their soups to improve flavor, so we’ll do the same. You can find nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” at Whole Foods or another well-stocked food store. If you can’t track it down, add another ¼ teaspoon of salt to the pot.

    And take note that you won’t be adding the edamame until the latter half of the cooking process. We do it this way so that when the chili is ready, the edamame will still be green, rather than an unappetizing grey color that can curse overcooked soybeans.

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    After the success of Panera Bread’s Cinnamon Crunch Bagels, the popular sandwich chain went back into the development kitchen and created these incredible scones filled with even more of the crunchy cinnamon drops found in the bagels, and drizzled with cinnamon icing.

    When first released these scones were cut as triangles and frosted, but in 2018 the shape was changed to more “rustic”-shaped round blobs with drizzled or piped icing. I like to hack the latest recipe, so the newer version of this pastry is the version I’ve re-created here.

    These are cream scones, so cream is the main wet ingredient that holds the dough together—but keep the dough crumbly as you mix it, and don't compress it so that the final product isn’t too dense. The best way to form the scones is to use both hands and form the dough like you’re making a snowball. Then use one hand to position the dough onto the baking sheet and form it into a rough dome shape. The scones will flatten and spread out a little bit as they bake.

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    The weather’s cooler, the days are shorter, and pumpkin spice lattes are back in style. When Fall arrives, it brings with it the traditional edibles we have come to expect. Usually, that’s something warm and/or orange and/or with squash in it. Panera’s top Fall release soup is all of the above. And its great taste inspired this new hack.

    On Panera’s ingredients statement for this soup, there is no specification for which types of squash are used. The ingredients mention only “squash,” so it’s possible there is more than one type of squash in it. Butternut squash has a great taste and rich orange color, so that’s an obvious choice, but I am also adding another flavorful squash to our pot: acorn squash. Its flesh is golden in color and tastes like pumpkin, but it’s sweeter and more buttery. I found the blended color and flavor from the combination of both butternut squash and acorn squash worked perfectly here.

    The flavor of the soup is created with several spices including cinnamon, curry, and cardamom, plus ginger puree, honey, apple juice, and Neufchatel cheese. Just a little cream at the end gives the soup body and a smooth richness you will love.

    When the soup is thick, serve it hot with freshly toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, and taste the season.

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    The hottest of Taco Bell’s five hot sauces cranks up the heat meter with a special blend of peppers for true chili heads. Diablo Sauce was introduced on Cinco de Mayo in 2015 as a limited-time-only product and was soon discontinued. But demanding fans pleaded for the chain to bring the sauce back, and on May 5th of the following year, Diablo Sauce got a permanent spot in the Taco Bell hot sauce lineup.

    According to Taco Bell, the sauce contains aji panca, a sweet Peruvian red pepper, and chipotle, which is smoked red jalapeno. Since aji panca can be hard to find we'll use ground ancho instead, which has a similar taste. There are other peppers in Diablo Sauce which remain a mystery, but it's easy to tell that at least one of them comes packing big heat. I added habanero and cayenne and the sauce had a perfect kick.

    Puree all of it in a blender then cook it for 10 minutes. Once cooled you’ll have an easy home hot sauce, with great flavor, and heat that’ll turn your face red. Just like the real thing.

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    I’m not sure when it happened, but it appears Taco Bell changed its seasoned beef recipe. I hacked the recipe several years ago for the book TSR Step-by-Step, and I recall the recipe had much more oat filler, so that’s how I cloned it. Taco Bell came under fire in 2011 for the significant amount of oats in the recipe that the chain was listing as “spices.” And after that, Taco Bell was more transparent about ingredients. But somewhere along the way it appears the company tweaked the recipe to include less filler and more flavor, so a new Top Secret Recipe for the beef had to be created.

    This recipe makes a duplicate of the beef currently served at Taco Bell. If you want to turn it into a Chalupa—which the restaurant makes by deep frying the flatbread used for Gorditas—the instructions are here. But you can also use this new, improved beef hack for anything you’re copying, whether it's tacos, burritos, Enchiritos, Mexican Pizzas, or a big pile of nachos.

    The secret ingredient in our hack is Knorr tomato bouillon. This flavor powder adds many ingredients found in the original recipe and provides the umami savoriness that’s required for a spot-on clone of the famous seasoned ground beef. To get the right flavor, you need to find "Knorr Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor" powder. Not the bouillon cubes.

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    The 729-unit chain did not start its life as Qdoba. When the Mexican food chain was first founded by Robert Miller and Anthony Hauser in Denver, Colorado in 1995 it was called Zuma Mexican Grill, named after a friend’s cat. As it turns out, a restaurant in Boston had that same name and threatened to sue, so the partners changed the name to Z-Teca. It wasn’t long before two different restaurants threatened to sue for that name—Z’Tejas in Arizona and Azteca in Washington—and the partners were forced to change the name yet again. This time they called their restaurant Qdoba, a completely made-up name that was unlikely to be used by anyone else.             

    A signature item and consistent top seller is this marinated adobo chicken, offered as a main ingredient in most of the chain’s selections. Make this chicken by marinating thigh meat for a couple of days in the secret adobo sauce (a worker there told me they let it soak for up to 8 days) then grill and chop. Use the flavorful chicken in burritos, tacos, bowls, on nachos, and in tortilla soup.

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    I like making fortune cookies because it means I get to write fortunes. My fortunes are sometimes ridiculous (“You will one day fight an evil robot and win.”), sometimes sarcastic (“Wow, you broke a cookie! Have you been working out?”), and sometimes paradoxical (“All of these cookies are filled with lies.”). But’s let’s face it, the fortune isn't the best part. What matters most is that the cookie tastes really good.

    Contrary to popular belief, fortune cookies are not from China. They don’t even serve them in China. Fortune cookies are an American invention, created either in San Francisco or Los Angeles in the early 1900’s—the exact origin is in dispute.  Originally I set out to clone the best-selling fortune cookie in the U.S., called Golden Bowl, made by Wonton Foods. But I think those cookies suck. They're thin and tasteless and have an unnatural orange tint to them. Instead, I chose to hack the thicker, tastier, golden brown fortune cookies you get at the largest Chinese take-out chain.

    Fortune cookies start their life looking like pancake batter. The batter is formed into 3-inch circles, that when baked, become thin cookies that are pliable when warm and crispy when cool—so you’ll need to work fast when forming them. Because they are so thin, it’s best to bake the cookies on a silicone pad or non-stick Release foil. You can also use parchment paper, but it tends to ripple from the moisture of the batter, and that ripple shows up on the surface of the cookies.

    I suggest baking just 3 or 4 of the cookies at a time so that they'll all be warm and pliable while you add the fortunes and shape them. And if you're very fortunate, you can find a helpful someone to assist you with that part so you'll be able to make more cookies faster.

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    In January of 2017, Starbucks perfected slow-cooked sous vide-style egg snacks that can be prepped and served quickly by the baristas at any location. To speed up the prep Starbucks makes the egg pucks ahead of time, then freezes and ships them to the coffee stores where they are defrosted and reheated in blazing hot convection ovens.

    Sous vide refers to the method of cooking food sealed in bags or jars at a low, consistent temperature for a long time. This technique creates food that’s softer in texture and less dried out than food cooked with other, faster methods. Cooks who use sous vide will often vacuum pack their food in bags and use special machines to regulate temperature. But you won’t need an expensive machine like that for this recipe—just some 8-ounce canning jars and a blender.

    The secret to duplicating the smooth texture starts with blending the cheeses very well until no lumps remain. Rub some between your fingers to make sure it’s smooth before you pour it into the jars. It’s also important to monitor the temperature of the water. Try to keep it in a range of between 170 and 180 degrees F. so that your eggs are neither too tough nor too soft. It’s best to use a cooking thermometer for this, but if you don’t have one, the right temperature is just below where you see tiny bubbles rising to the surface. Also, if you hear the jars jiggling in the water, it’s their way of telling you the water is a little too hot.

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    The same slow-cooking technique is used to copy this yolk-less companion to the Bacon & Gruyere Sous Vide Egg Bites, but instead of bacon, this version comes with roasted red pepper, green onion, and spinach.

    Because there is no yolk, a little rice flour is used to help hold everything together. I suspect Starbucks chose rice flour to keep the product gluten-free, even though most people really don’t mind a little gluten, and gluten does a much better job of binding. I include the rice flour here but you can substitute with all-purpose wheat flour if gluten isn't a concern, and if you don’t feel like buying a whole bag of rice flour just to use 2 teaspoons out of it.  

    To get the same smooth texture in your egg bites as Starbucks be sure to blend the mixture until no bits of cheese can be felt when you rub some between your fingers. The recipe tastes best with full-fat cottage cheese, but you can still use low-fat cottage cheese if you feel like trimming some of the fat.

    Check out my other clone recipes for your favorite Starbucks drinks and baked goods here.

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