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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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    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: 4.94. Votes: 16

    A fork is no longer necessary to eat cake with this clone of Starbucks new portable pastry creation on a stick. The emerging trend of cake pops on blogs and at specialty bake shops caught the attention of the world’s largest coffee house chain. Starbucks research and development chefs figured out how to produce three different flavors for the large coffee chain: tiramisu, rocky road and the most popular flavor cloned here, birthday cake, which celebrates Starbucks’ 40th anniversary. The pops are each made by hand for the chain just as you will now create this delicious Starbucks birthday cake pop recipe.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Four scoops of vanilla ice cream between two giant chocolate chip cookies. Drizzled with hot fudge and sprinkled with powdered sugar."

    Bennigan's puts a twist on the traditional sundae with this sweet treat. Although this dessert was created for the Bennigan's menu, the original sundae has been with us since the turn of the century. Here's some cool history for you: this was a time when alternatives to alcohol were in high demand, so soda fountain proprietors began inventing new drinks. Ice cream sodas—scoops of ice cream combined with soda water and a squirt of flavored syrup—became so popular that Americans were enjoying them to the point of gluttony, especially on the Sabbath day. The treat was soon referred to as the "Sunday Soda Menace," and after Evanston, Illinois, became the first city to enact laws against selling ice cream sodas (shame!), the new prohibition was spreading nationwide. First alcohol, then sodas....you can bet a substitution was in order.

    One day soda fountain clerk, prohibited from selling sodas, served up a bowl of ice cream to a customer who requested a dribbling of chocolate syrup on the top. The fountain clerk, upon tasting the dish himself, found that he had discovered a new taste sensation, and soon the dessert was offered to everyone on Sundays only. Eventually that day of the week would be adopted as the name of the delicious ice-cream dish, with a bit of a spelling change to satisfy the scrutinizing clergy. The "soda-less soda" that we now call a sundae was born.

    This recipe makes enough giant chocolate chip cookies for six or seven sundaes, but you don't have to serve them all at once. Store the cookies in an airtight container and assemble the sundaes as you need them...on any day of the week.

    Try my recipe for Bennigan's Monte Cristo and more here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 7

    This charismatic cheesecake is a specialty at the world's largest Benihana restaurant located in the Hilton hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Check it out: The lightly orange-flavored, fluffed-up cream cheese sits on layer of soft white cake, the edge is frosted and coated with crunchy hazelnut crumbs, and the top is covered with wedges of mandarin oranges in an orange-flavored gelatin. Every element of this top secret kitchen clone is made from scratch, and the finished product is well worth the work you put in. For the cake layer, we whip up just enough of a simple white cake batter to fit into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. The cheese layer in our clone is created with a special custom combination of gelatin, Dream Whip and cream cheese so that no baking is required to firm it up. You could, of course, use a store-bought white frosting for the edge of the cake, but since you only need a small amount of frosting, the clone recipe here makes it cheaper. The hazelnuts are candied with sugar and reduced to crumbs in a food processor. You can find a 1/2-cup bag of chopped hazelnuts in most supermarkets that are perfect for this. And two 15-ounce cans of mandarin orange wedges is just the right amount for garnishing the top. Just be sure to save 1/2-cup of the liquid from the cans of orange wedges to create the gel that holds the topping in place.

    Complete the Benihana experience with my copycat recipes for their Japanese onion soupginger salad dressingfried rice, and hibachi chicken and steak with dipping sauces

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Abiding by this large Mexican food chain's "no cans in the kitchen" edict, we'll craft our clone of the delicious flan dessert with fresh whole milk, rather than canned sweetened condensed milk required by most flan recipes out there. The canned stuff has a bit of a funky taste to it anyway, plus it's much too sweet to be an accurate Chevys knockoff. When you're ready to clone this one, be sure to get some parchment paper. When laid over the top of the baking pan, the parchment paper helps the flan cook faster and more evenly than if left uncovered. Aluminum foil doesn't seem to work as well since it tends to reflect the heat away from the ramekins of sweet, creamy goodness.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 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: 4.90. Votes: 39

    Menu Description: "Delicate white cake and lemon cream filling with a vanilla crumb topping."

    To make this clone easy I've designed the recipe with white cake mix. I picked Betty Crocker brand, but any white cake mix you find will do. Just know that each brand (Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, etc.) requires slightly different measurements of additional ingredients (oil, eggs). Follow the directions on the box for mixing the batter, then pour it into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans and bake until done. The filling recipe is a no-brainer and the crumb topping is quick. When your Olive Garden lemon cream cake recipe is assembled, stick it in the fridge for a few hours, and soon you'll be ready to serve 12 slices of the hacked signature dessert.

    Now, what's for dinner?

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Fresh ripe bananas in our rich vanilla cream, topped with fresh whipped cream or fluffy meringue." 

    Bakers get to work by 5 a.m. at Marie Callender's to begin baking over 30 varieties of pies. Huge pies. Pies that weigh nearly three pounds apiece. The fresh, creamy, flaky delicious pies that have made Marie Callender's famous in the food biz. On those mornings about 250 pies will be made at each of the 147 restaurants. Modest, I suppose, when compared with Thanksgiving Day when the stores can make up to 3,500 pies each.

    For now though, we'll start with just one—banana cream pie with flaky crust, whipped cream, and slivered almonds on top. This recipe requires that you bake the crust unfilled, so you will have to use a pie weight or other oven-safe object to keep the crust from puffing up. Large pie weights are sold in many stores, or you can use small metal or ceramic weights (sold in packages). Or place dried beans on the crust which has first been lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

    Try more of my Marie Callender's copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Gerald Kingen is a man with a mission. In 1985 he sold his successful Red Robin chain of restaurants to Tokyo-based Skylark Co. Ltd. Unhappy with the changes the new owners were implementing, Jerry and a partner purchased a "substantial equity position" of the Irvine, California based Red Robin in March of 1996. Now Jerry is once again at the helm of the company, with a goal of reviving old menu items and living up to the old slogan: "The world's greatest gourmet burger maker & most masterful mixologists."

    A unique signature dessert item is the Mountain High Mudd Pie, which servers claim is one of the most ordered desserts on the menu. Save room for this giant-sized sundae made from chocolate and vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, caramel, and fudge sauce. There are several stages of freezing, so give yourself at least seven hours to allow for these steps. This dessert is big and serves at least a dozen, so it's good for a small party or gathering, or as a birthday cake. If there's only a few of you, leftovers can be frozen in a sealed container for several weeks.

    Check out my hacks for Red Robin's famous burgers and more here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.00. Votes: 2

    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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