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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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    While sharing a Bundt cake one day in 1997, amateur bakers and close friends Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz realized they could do better. After much experimentation, the duo discovered a batter that produced a moist, delicious cake, which was a huge improvement over the dense, dry cake usually associated with Bundts. But they weren’t done yet.

    The next step was to decide how to best frost their new Bundt cake. Traditionally, Bundt cakes are glazed by drizzling warm icing over the top, which drips down the sides and dries there. But the pair didn’t want to use glaze. They had a cream cheese icing they thought tasted better than any glaze, but it took some time to figure out how to apply it. They eventually settled on frosting their Bundts with large piped vertical ropes, so the icing looks like it’s dripping down the outside of the cake.

    To make a Bundt cake that matches the moistness and crumb of the real thing, it’s important to start with the right flour. The cake has more bite to it than one made with only cake flour, but it isn’t as tough as one made with all-purpose flour. That’s why I settled on pastry flour, like the one from Bob’s Red Mill. Pastry flour contains more protein than cake flour, but not as much as all-purpose flour, so it works perfectly here. If you can’t find pastry flour, no need to worry. I’ve got a way for you to hack it by combining cake flour with all-purpose flour in a 2-to-1 ratio.

    The raspberry puree is made from scratch using frozen raspberries and it’s swirled into the batter before the cake goes into the oven. While the cake cools you can make the cream cheese buttercream icing. Get a 1A tip, which is a wide, circular tip for a pastry bag or gun, to make ropes of icing over the top and down the sides of the cake all the way around, just like the original.

    Get this recipe in "Top Secret Recipes Unleashed" exclusively on Amazon.com.

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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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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: “An extra generous pecan brownie is crowned with rich vanilla ice cream, drizzled with our classic warm chocolate sauce and finished with chocolate shavings and whipped cream. A chocolate lover’s dream.”

    The gluten-free brownie under the ice cream and homemade whipped cream is a flourless chocolate pecan cake cut into squares. Once the brownie is baked, it is chilled and sliced, then each serving is nuked for about 45 seconds until gooey hot. The fun really starts when you load a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the hot brownie and then drizzle some warm fudge sauce over the top. Outback cooks make the sauce from scratch each day, but it tastes similar to Hershey’s Hot Fudge Topping that you can get in just about any market. The homemade whipped cream formula here is easy and better than anything that comes out of a can. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Roy’s chefs bake this signature “lava cake” dessert in parchment paper-lined metal cylindrical molds that are slipped off the soufflé when plating the dish. Fortunately we don’t have to locate a restaurant supply outlet to obtain similar molds when the tool we need is easily found in every supermarket. Save the 4-ounce cans that hold diced peppers or whatever you may find that comes in small cans with a 2 ½-inch diameter. Cut off the top and bottom, remove the labels, wash the cans, and you have the exact same size molds as those used at Roy’s. The recipe for the batter is simple with only 4 ingredients, but plan ahead for this dessert because the batter needs to chill in the molds before baking so that the centers stay gooey and uncooked like the original.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.50. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "We start with a warm, chewy bar layered with chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut. Topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with hot fudge and caramel."

    One thing that makes this dessert special is the way it comes to your table sizzling in a cast iron skillet—just like fajitas. The chocolate chip cookie and graham cracker crust "pie" sits in a hot skillet on top of bubbling cinnamon butter. It's topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and then finished with walnuts, chocolate and caramel syrup. If you're a cloning perfectionist and want to present this dessert exactly like they do at the restaurant, you'll need a small skillet for each serving. Small cast iron skillets are the best, but any 6- or 8-inch saute pan will do fine. Just be sure your pan is real hot to get that same Chili's "sizzle" when you lay in the goodies. If you've got a big crew to feed and don't have enough skillets for each serving, you can add the cinnamon butter to individual serving plates, microwave the plates until the butter melts, then build each serving on the warm plates. It may not have the sizzle of the real thing, but it'll still taste like paradise.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Layers of rich chocolate cake and sweet buttercream icing."

    The cake mix has cherry flavoring mixed in and the buttercream frosting between the layers is made from scratch, but the real secret to this Top Secret Recipe is how we put it all together. You've got to make two slices through the edge of the baked cake to create the three thin layers, so you'll want to use a long serrated knife. Lay down some wax paper under the cake to help you turn the cake while you slice. Slide the whole thing over near the edge of the counter so that you can more easily keep the knife parallel to the countertop. You can use your favorite chocolate cake mix for the recipe, but be sure not to use one with pudding in it or one that is "extra moist" (Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe is one such brand). These mixes make slicing and layering difficult because the baked cake falls apart so easily.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.38. Votes: 13

    Let's say you want to make some chocolate cake from one of the popular mixes that come in a box but you don't have much of a craving for propylene glycol, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, or cellulose gum. Well, if you're making cake from a box mix, that's probably what you'll be eating. Many of those additives are what give the cake you make with Duncan Hines cake mix its deluxe moistness. The good news is we can come very close to duplicating the store-bought cake mix with very simple dry ingredients and a little shortening. By combining the dry stuff, then thoroughly mixing in the shortening, you will have a mix that is shelf-stable until you add the same wet ingredients in the same amounts required by the real thing. It's a great way to make good, old-fashioned chocolate cake without the hard-to-pronounce additives.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "Decadent Oreo chunks, chocolate mousse and whipped cream make this a rich and creamy treat."

    After searching for an awesome chocolate mousse to clone, I've finally found inspiration in this new dessert shooter from Applebee's. This is a single serving of thick and rich chocolate mousse that is easy to replicate using half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips melted slowly in a double-boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of hot water. To make an authentic Applebee's chocolate mousse shooter copycat recipe, we don't want a mousse that's too fluffy, so we'll stir the egg whites into the melted chocolate rather than folding them in. We'll save the folding for the whipped cream. With a little Godiva chocolate liqueur and some chopped up bits of chocolate that go in there, you'll have a great mousse that is made even better when served in a 6-ounce rocks glass along with Oreo cookie crumbs, chocolate fudge topping, and whipped cream. Make this dessert shooter recipe today!

    Check out more of my Applebee's copycat recipes here. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 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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