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Desserts

You lucky devil. 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. See if Todd has hacked your favorite desserts here. New recipes added every week.

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    Just 15 minutes after the very first Cheesecake Factory opened in Beverly Hills back in 1978, the lines began forming. Here's their cheesecake twist on the delicious Key lime pie. Since Key limes and Key lime juice can be hard to find, this recipe uses standard lime juice which can be purchased bottled or squeezed fresh. If you can find Key lime juice, bear in mind that Key limes are more tart, so you'll need only half as much juice. This recipe also requires a springform pan. If you don't have one, you can use two 9-inch pie pans and make two smaller cheesecakes.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 8

    Menu Description: "Vanilla ice cream rolled in toasted coconut, covered in chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream."

    Here's an easy-to-make dessert that will give you a cool way to use the vanilla ice cream that's gathering ice crystals in the freezer. The key to this recipe is to plan ahead a bit by placing your serving plates into the freezer (give 'em at least 30 minutes). While the plates are chilling out, toast some coconut in the oven, then roll scoops of ice cream in it. Top your masterpiece with canned whipped cream or make your own from the simple recipe included here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.54. Votes: 48

    It would take quite a bit of real lemon juice to give this moist loaf clone the perfect lemony zip of the original. With too much liquid we wind up with thin batter, and ultimately a baked lemon loaf that lacks the dense and flavorful quality of the coffeehouse original.  So, to avoid producing a batter that's too runny, we must turn to lemon extract. It's over by the vanilla extract in the baking aisle. This concentrated lemon flavoring works well alongside real lemon juice to give us the perfectly intense lemon flavor we need for a killer Starbucks lemon loaf cake true copycat recipe. The lemon extract also works like a charm to flavor the icing that will top off your fauxed food.

    Re-create more of your favorite Starbucks drinks and treats here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 8

    Everyone knows the center of a cinnamon roll is the best part. With that in mind, McDonald's designed a cinnamon pastry where every bite is coated with the same deliciously gooey cinnamon and brown sugar filling that you discover only after working your way through the dry, doughy part of traditional cinnamon rolls. It's sort of like monkey bread, whereby chunks of dough are tossed in cinnamon sugar and then baked in a deep cake pan. The difference with this clone of the McDonald's version is that the filling is mixed with margarine and spooned onto the dough chunks in layers. And you bake this in small, single-serving portions. As it turns out, a Texas-size muffin tin, which has cups that are about twice the size of a standard muffin tin, is the perfect pan for this. You can also use disposable aluminum pot pie pans that many markets carry. Since this recipe makes a dozen servings, dig this: After the cinnamon melts have cooled, cover and freeze them. When you need a quick breakfast pastry or late-night snack, simply remove a melt from the pan, microwave for 35 seconds, or until hot (this is how McDonald's heats it, too), and you're instantly teleported to cinnamon roll paradise.

    Cinnamon Roll fans may also want to try my clone recipe for Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Served with vanilla bean and raspberry sauce."

    To produce these delicious flourless chocolate cakes P. F. Chang's contracts with local bakeries in each city where the Chinese bistros are located. The restaurants aren't built for baking, and this way the chain can ensure a fresh product every day. If you're a chocolate lover or you know one, this is the recipe to make. The torte is only 5 ingredients, and the versatile sauces create the perfect gourmet touch. Any leftover torte and sauce can be frozen, and thawed when a quick dessert is required.

     

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 5

    In 1995 pediatric nurse Lindsay Frucci discovered a way to make chewy, fudgy brownies without any of fat. Today you can find her brownie mix boxes in thousands of grocery stores and specialty markets throughout the country. All you have to do is add some nonfat vanilla yogurt to the dry mix and bake. The brownies that emerge from your oven are good, but the mix can be pricey. One box of No Pudge! Fat Free Fudge Brownie Mix will set you back around four bucks, which seems like a lot when you consider that boxes of regular brownie mix from larger brands such as Pillsbury or Duncan Hines contain similar ingredients but sell for roughly half that. So I spent a week burning through gobs of cocoa, sugar, and flour in hopes of discovering an easy way to re-create that tasty mix at a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest brownie mix on the market. After much trial and error I finally nailed it.

    I tried many batches with Hershey's and Nestle's cocoa, but eventually decided the best widely available unsweetened cocoa powder for the task is the stuff made by Ghirardelli. Before you assemble this clone recipe, you'll also want to track down baker's sugar, which is a superfine sugar, and some powdered egg whites (health foods stores or cake decorating suppliers carry this). Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, and when you're ready to make the brownies, simply mix in 2/3 cup of nonfat vanilla yogurt, just like with the real thing. In 34 baking minutes (same as regular minutes, but they seem much longer) you'll have one plate of amazing fat-free chocolate brownies ready to eat.

    Click here for more famous cookie and brownie copycat recipes.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Our specialty! French Vanilla ice cream with a crunchy, crispy cinnamon coating. Served with your choice of honey, chocolate or strawberry topping."

    Cooks at Chi-Chi's chain of Mexican restaurants are instructed to not memorize recipes for the dishes they make. Management says each chef is required to consult the company cookbooks every time they whip up a meal, so that each dish tastes exactly the same in every Chi-Chi's any time of the day. Perhaps it's that practice that has made Chi-Chi's the largest Mexican restaurant chain in the country. 

    This crispy-coated ice cream sundae is not exactly fried as you may expect by the name. The scoop of vanilla ice cream is actually rolled in cornflake crumbs that have been flavored with sugar and cinnamon, giving it the appearance and texture of being fried. It's a simple idea that tastes just great, and is well worth the try. Chi-Chi's calls this their "specialty" and claims it's the most requested dessert item on the menu.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Chocolate & vanilla marbled cheesecake on a chocolate cookie crust, topped w/fudge & Reese's Peanut Butter Cup pieces."

    A great dessert for anyone who likes cheesecake...and peanut butter cups. Use an 8-inch springform pan for this recipe if you have one. If not, you can also use two 9-inch pie pans and make two smaller cheesecakes. For the Oreo cookie crumbs, you can crumble three Oreo cookies (after removing the filling) or you can find packaged Oreo crumbs in the baking section of your supermarket near the graham cracker crumbs.

    Get more great Chili's copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Graham crackers, milk chocolate and toasted marshmallows, streaked with chocolate sauce."

    Large screens inside each Dive! display videos of underwater scenes filmed in the waters of Micronesia, Bermuda, San Salvador, and Florida. Diners eat gourmet submarine sandwiches as giant sea turtles and sharks swim by coral reefs and underwater caves. When the alarm sounds and lights flash, it's time for the restaurant to take its simulated hourly dive. Video in the portholes and on the giant projection screens change to comedy footage from vintage movies and clips of unlikely locales for a huge submarine such as a backyard swimming pool. 

    Along with two dozen or so gourmet sandwiches and other tasty entrees, Dive! features a delectable selection of desserts. One of them is Dive! S'mores, a creation inspired by the traditional treat that's prepared around campfires with marshmallows toasted on sticks. This version assembled with graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows is broiled in a hot oven just long enough to brown the tops of the marshmallows. If you've got a craving for S'mores and are nowhere near a campfire and/or don't have sticks, here's your quick fix.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Vanilla ice cream between two pieces of devil's food cake. Served with hot fudge, creamy topping and a cherry."

    One of Shoney's signature dessert items is this Hot Fudge Cake, an ice cream fudge cake dessert worshipped by all who taste it. To make construction of this treat simple, the recipe calls for a prepackaged devil's food cake mix found in any supermarket baking aisle. Try to find vanilla ice cream in a box, so that the ice cream can be more easily sliced to fit on the cake. Leftovers can be frozen and served up to several weeks later.

    You've got dessert down, how about Shoney's pot roast, or country fried steak as the main dish?

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 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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