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Candy

You lucky devil. You just found 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 for less money than eating out. Todd's recipes are easy to follow and fun to make! See if Todd has hacked your favorite candy here. New recipes added every week.

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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. 

    Check out some of our other clones for Fiddle Faddle, Poppycock, Screaming Yellow Zonkers, and Crunch N' Munch

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    You probably think the dark chocolatey 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 statement, 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 why it’s used here.

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

    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 it 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 bars are ready to eat.

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    A common recipe for marshmallows circulating on the internet and amongst popular Food Network chefs who claim it as their own makes a decent product, but the recipe won’t pass as a hack for America’s favorite marshmallows, Jet-Puffed. I know this for sure because my ten-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. Testing the sweetness for myself I decided she was right, so I reduced the sugar for my clone. I also adjusted the flavor to 1½ teaspoons of 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 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 guys 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 great s'mores.

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    Since the candy maker’s first milk chocolate bar debuted in 1900, just four candy bars have carried the Hershey name. Hershey’s Special Dark came out in 1939 and Hershey’s Cookies and Crème was introduced in 1995. But the only one made without any chocolate in it is the new Hershey’s Gold, which hit the shelves in late 2017. The base of the bar is “caramelized crème” that Hershey’s claims is made by browning the sugar in white crème. I recalled a recipe for caramelizing white chocolate by slowly cooking it in the oven, stirring often, until it becomes golden brown. By mixing in a little creamy peanut butter and salt I was able to create a perfectly caramelized base to which crushed peanuts and pretzels could be added. I poured the golden crème into candy bar molds and let them set up in the fridge for 30 minutes. When removed from the molds the bars looked like they were made in a real candy bar factory, and they tasted like it too. I wrapped each in gold foil and felt like Willy Wonka.

    If you don’t have candy bar molds, you can pour the candy onto parchment paper or wax paper on a baking sheet to set up, then just break up the candy to serve or store.

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    The famous hard caramel candy created in 1903 in the German town of Werther is easy to duplicate at home as long as you’ve got a candy thermometer and some rounded silicone candy molds. Realistically, you can make these candies any shape you want—I made some in a gummy bears mold!—but the best shape for hard candies is something smooth and rounded. That’s what works best for a candy designed to be sucked on, rather than chewed. Just be sure to get enough molds to hold 50 or more bite-size candies at once.      

    This hack calls for fresh cream and butter just like the original invented in Germany over 100 years ago, and now sold throughout Europe and North America. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Founded in 1914 by Harry Brown and J.C. Haley in Tacoma, Washington, the Brown and Haley Candy Company is one of the oldest confectioners in the country. In 1923 the company hit the jackpot when Harry Brown and the former cook from what would eventually become the M&M/Mars candy company, created a chocolate-coated butter toffee candy, sprinkled with California almonds. They took the sweet to Tacoma's head librarian, and she named it Almond Roca—roca means "rock" in Spanish. In 1927 the two men decided to wrap the little candies in imported gold foil and pack them into the now-familiar pink cans to extend their shelf life threefold. In fact, because of the way the candy was packaged, it was carried by troops in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.

    The Brown and Haley candy company is still housed in the former shoe factory that it has occupied since 1919. Almond Roca is so popular today that it can be found in sixty-four countries and is a market leader in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Japan. The company sells more that 5 million pounds of Almond Roca each year and is the United States leading exporter of packaged confections. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    The process by which M&M/Mars and other candy companies smoothly chocolate-coat their confections is called enrobing. Enrobing was created in 1900 to protect the interiors of the bars from drying out. The process begins when the uncoated centers pass through a curtain of liquid chocolate on a continuous stainless-steel belt. The top and sides of each bar are coated with a thin layer of chocolate. The process is repeated a second time, and then the fully coated bar is quickly cooled and wrapped.

    Enrobing is the least expensive way for manufacturers to coat their chocolates. At M&M/Mars, the enrobing machines run around the clock to meet the high demand for their products. Unfortunately, traditional kitchen appliances don't include among them an enrobing machine, so in our case, dipping will have to suffice.

    The caramel Twix was introduced in 1977, and peanut butter Twix came along in 1982. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    At one point Mars, Inc. chose to capitalize on the companys 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. 

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    Score: 3.00. Votes: 2

    At the train station in Naugatuck, Connecticut, candy and ice-cream shop owner Peter Paul Halajian used to meet the commuter trains carrying baskets full of fresh hand-made chocolates. The most popular of his candies was a blend of coconut, fruits, nuts, and chocolate that he called Konabar.

    In 1919, when demand for his confections grew, Halajian and five associates, all of Armenian heritage, opened a business in New Haven to produce and sell his chocolates on a larger scale. Because there were no refrigerators, they made the chocolate by hand at night, when the air was the coolest, and sold the candy during the day. In 1920 the first Mounds bar was introduced.

    Peter Paul merged with Cadbury U.S.A. in 1978, and in 1986 Cadbury U.S.A. merged with the Hershey Foods Corporation, now the world's largest candy conglomerate.

    Today the recipes for Mounds and Almond Joy are the same as they were in the roaring twenties.

    Source: 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 this Reese's Peanut Butter Cups recipe, 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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