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Candy

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    Score: 4.83. Votes: 6

    In 1871 a German immigrant named F. W. Rueckheim came to Chicago with $200 in his pocket. He used all of his money to open a small popcorn shop in the city and started selling a sweet caramel-and-molasses-coated popcorn confection. Rueckheim's big break came in 1893, when the treat was served at Chicago's first world's fair. From then on the popcorn's popularity grew enormously. In 1896 a salesman tasting the treat for the first time said, "That's a cracker jack," and the name stuck. Shortly after Cracker Jacks debut another customer commented, "The more you eat, the more you want," and that's still the slogan today.

    In 1912 the Cracker Jack Company started adding toy surprises, ranging from small books to miniature metal toy trains. To date they have given away more than 17 billion toy surprises. In 1964 Borden, Inc. bought the Cracker Jack Company, and today the Cracker Jack division is the largest user of popcorn in the world, popping more than twenty tons of corn a day. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.25. Votes: 4

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

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    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: 4.58. Votes: 66

    The first Top Secret Recipes book features a version of this clone recipe for America's most beloved candy creation, and the recipe is posted all over the place. But since 1993, I've learned a few things about Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cloning. Now, when you make your Reese's clones, it's better to use reduced-fat peanut butter for a texture that's drier and crumblier like the original. Also, use scissors to trim paper muffin cups so that they are shallower—and a better mold for your clone.  

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Here's how to clone a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in 3 minutes.

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    Score: 4.17. Votes: 12

    Each spring Cadbury candy machines whip out 66,000 of these cool candies every hour. And now, because of the success of these chocolates with the orange, yolk-colored center, other candy companies have come out with their own milk chocolate eggs. Some are filled with Snickers or Milky Way centers, while others contain peanut butter, coconut, caramel, or the same type of fondant center as the original—right down to the colors. Still, nothing compares to these original eggs that are sold only once a year, for the Easter holiday. And now you can enjoy your own version at home anytime you like. The final shape of your clones will be more like half eggs, but the flavor will be full-on Cadbury. 

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

    Update 4/11/17: I recently discovered that freezing the very sticky fondant center—rather than refrigerating it—makes it easier to work with. I made the adjustments in the recipe below. 

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    Score: 4.73. Votes: 11

    At his candy factory In York, Pennsylvania, in the late 1930s, Henry C. Kessler first concocted this minty confection. The York Cone Company was originally established to make ice cream cones, but by the end of World War II the peppermint patty had become so popular that the company discontinued all other products. In 1972 the company was sold to Peter Paul, manufacturers of Almond Joy and Mounds. Cadbury USA purchased the firm in 1978, and in 1988 the York Peppermint Pattie became the property of Hershey USA.

    Other chocolate-covered peppermints were manufactured before the York Peppermint Pattie came on the market, but Kessler's version was firm and crisp, while the competition was soft and gummy. One former employee and York resident remembered the final test the patty went through before it left the factory. "It was a snap test. If the candy didn't break clean in the middle, it was a second." For years, seconds were sold to visitors at the plant for fifty cents a pound.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.56. Votes: 25

    Even though this clone recipe duplicates the tiny bite-size versions of the candy, you're free to make yours any size you like. The technique here is a tweaking of the previous secret formula that was featured in Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes, and it includes several upgrades. I found that more cocoa, plus the addition of salt and butter to the mix improved the flavor. I also found that bringing your sweet bubbling mixture to the firm ball stage 250 degrees F (you do have a candy thermometer, right?), and then stretching and pulling the candy like taffy (fun!) as it cools, will give you a finished product more like the real deal.

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    Score: 4.60. Votes: 15

    In 1992 Fortune magazine estimated the Mars family's personal worth at somewhere around $12.5 billion. This solid foundation of wealth, built on the country's undying passion for chocolate and other sweets, has made this clan the richest family in America—and the most reclusive. A family rule prohibits photographs to be taken of the Mars family and corporate executives. According to Fortune, a photographer who once tried to get a shot of Forrest Mars, Sr., found himself enveloped in a cloth that was thrown as he was about to snap the picture. 

    The empire started in 1902, when nineteen-year-old Franklin C. Mars began selling homemade candy. In 1910 he started a wholesale candy business in Tacoma, Washington. Ten years later Frank moved to Minneapolis, where he used the family kitchen to make buttercreams, which were personally delivered to retailers in the city by his wife, Ethel. Business grew steadily, and in 1940 Frank's son Forrest established M&M Limited in Newark, New Jersey. 

    By 1967 the family's confectionery business in the United States had been consolidated into M&M/Mars. The fortune grew steadily larger as the corporation routinely kept four brands in the top-ten-selling chocolates in the country: Milky Way, M&M's Plain and Peanut, and, in the number-one spot, Snickers.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    For a live demonstration of this classic clone recipe, check out this video.

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