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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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    Score: 4.33. Votes: 3

    Here's a clone recipe for a favorite East Coast treat that could even fool Rosie O'Donnell. The snack food-loving talk show hostess professed her love for these tasty Drake's goodies on her daytime show. And who could blame her? It's hard not to relish the smooth, fluffy filling between two tender devil's food cake fingers. I'll take a Devil Dog over a Twinkie any day of the week. For this clone recipe, we'll make the cakes from scratch. This will create a cake similar to the original. You may also use a devil's food cake mix rather than the scratch recipe here. Just make the filling with the recipe below and assemble your cakes the same way.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.88. Votes: 8

    Menu Description: "With vanilla ice cream and sticky bun caramel sauce." 

    I've been searching for the restaurant chain with the best bread pudding recipe, and I think I've found it here at Gordon Biersch. This small, yet growing, microbrewery chain serves great beer, awesome pizza, and a bread pudding that is downright amazing. It could be described as what would materialize out the other side if Jeff Goldblum threw an apple pie, some bread pudding and a cinnamon roll into his teleportation machine from "The Fly," and everything came out the other side combined into a single awesome dessert. The sauteed apples laid into the middle of the bread pudding make other bread puddings I eat now seem like they're missing something. And the homemade caramel sauce, with just a little brown sugar thrown into our clone version, adds a sticky bun flavor you'll have dreams about. No matter how big your dinner feast was, everyone will still somehow find room for this. The original at the restaurant is baked in a deep pan, and the pudding is sliced and served on its side, so you'll want to use the biggest loaf pan you can find. I used a 3-inch deep 10x5-inch loaf pan, and it was full. If your pan is smaller, you may have to leave a bit out. The pudding will swell up out of the pan as it cooks, but it will shrink back down as it cools. Fun to watch. You may want to make this the day before so that the bread pudding can set up in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, nuke a serving for 1 minute until warm, then add the sauce and ice cream and a handful of pecans. It appears the restaurant chain uses egg bread in the pudding, but Texas Toast thick-sliced white bread may be easier to find, and it works just as well.

    Click here for more of my Gordon Biersch copycat recipes. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.92. Votes: 12

    Menu Description: "A freshly baked, hot out-of-the oven, rich and delicious cookie topped with 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and served in its own deep dish. Your choice of chocolate chunk, white chocolate macadamia nut, peanut butter or oatmeal raisin walnut."

    Visit one of the 83 BJ's restaurants located in the West and Southwest and you'll likely find many giddy diners digging down into one of these deep-dish cookie desserts. Even though the restaurant is known for great Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas and a fantastic selection of custom-brewed beers, it's the Pizookie at the end of the meal that gets the most drools. There are four varieties to choose from on the menu, so I'm giving you the BJ's Pizookie recipe for all four below. Each formula makes enough dough for one giant cookie, and the Pizookie recipe is so easy that you could make more than one with just a little extra effort. You might think that the cooking temperature of 475 degrees is extreme for a cookie, but since BJ's is a pizza joint, these puppies get cooked in cranked-up pizza ovens, and it works great. Not only will you have your cookie done in only 5 to 7 minutes, but also it'll be nice and brown on top, and slightly gooey in the center—all good things for a cookie, right? The restaurants uses 6-inch deep-dish pizza pans, but you can bake your clones in any cake pan or pie pan with a bottom that is 6 to 7 inches across.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.56. Votes: 9

    Menu Description: "Citrus cake soaked in a sweet cream, topped with lemon mousse and finished off with our fresh Italian whipped cream and caramel."

    When creating this delicious dessert, chefs at Romano's must have been thinking about Tres Leches Cake that is popular throughout Latin America. The traditional Mexican recipe describes a dense vanilla cake soaked with three types of milk: whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. This creates a very moist and rich dessert that is an excellent finish to pretty much any meal. Romano's twist on the traditional favorite is the addition of citrus juices to the cake, a creamier soaking liquid, and a tangy lemon topping. I first tried re-creating the cake with boxed mixes, but they all produce cakes that are much too light and moist, and inevitably turn to mush when soaked in the sweet liquid. The final solution is a scratch cake recipe yielding denser, yet still moist citrus cake, that holds up to the eventual drenching. You will want to eat this dessert within a day or two of the soaking or it may start to fall apart. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    The Cheesecake Factory’s autumnal dessert offering is a clever mashup of pecan pie and pumpkin cheesecake in a traditional flakey pie crust. At first glance, I thought this would be an easy one to unlock, but I found the recipe to be a surprisingly tricky hack since all the components in the cheesecake follow different baking rules.

    The first step was to design a crust that could withstand being cooked three times. After a few tests, I came up with a recipe that produces a hardy dough that can be par-baked, then baked again two more times while maintaining flakiness.

    The next step was to thicken the pecan filling before adding it to the cheesecake pan. My first version skipped this step and pecan filling soaked through the crust and through the springform pan onto the bottom of the oven, where a charred, dark stain remains to this day.

    Cooking the pecan filling before it goes into the cheesecake will thicken it so it won't soak through the crust and wind up dirtying your oven. After the filling cools for 45 minutes, you can build a cheesecake on top of it.

    Add the cheesecake filling right up to the top of the crust. If you do a good job making the top edge of the crust even all the way around, the cheesecake filling will fit perfectly.

    I'm sharing two ways to make the delicious finishing caramel sauce that goes over the top. The easy way is to simply combine walnuts with your favorite caramel sauce and pour it over a slice. But the best way is to make the sauce from scratch using the recipe I've included here. It's only a few ingredients, it's not too hard, and you'll love the results.

    Pour the sauce over the top, add a dollop of whipped cream, and you'll have produced a finished slice of cheesecake that looks—and tastes—like it was made by a pro.

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    How would you like this job? Three times a day, each day, the chief bakers at Entenmann's gather in "scoring sessions," where they taste and rate products that come off the factory line. If a product they taste doesn't earn at least an 8 out of 10 rating, it never makes it onto a delivery truck. 

    In the last ten years, Entenmann's has become known as a company that makes delicious baked fat-free products that do not taste fat-free. Today the company boasts around 50 products that carry the low-fat and fat-free labels. One of those products is the delicious pound cake, called Golden Loaf, cloned with this recipe. It makes an excellent dessert or snack when sliced with strawberries and low-fat whipped topping, or beneath a big scoop of light ice cream. I've also included this recipe to use with one of my favorites: the reduced-fat tiramisu.

    However you decide to serve this versatile dessert, you will amaze your guests when you tell them it's fat-free fare. And, yes, I realize that the reduced-fat yellow cake mix contains fat, but we have stretched out the product with cake flour so that each slice of these cakes (the recipe makes two) contains less than 1/2 gram. 

    Nutrition Facts:
    Serving size–1.7 oz slice
    Total servings–26
    Calories per serving–106
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.83. Votes: 6

    International House of Pancakes Funnel Cake Carnival promotion brought the famous fairground food to the masses for a limited time. As you would expect from the name, the first thing you'll need to make proper funnel cakes is, of course, a funnel. The funnel is used to swirl batter into hot oil where it will fry to a happy golden brown in about a minute on each side. Find a funnel with an opening that is at least 1/2-inch wide so that your funnel cakes will have approximately the same thickness as the IHOP version. For the frying, shortening works the best since that's what IHOP uses, but you can also use vegetable or canola oil. I used a trans fat-free shortening from Smart Balance and it worked great. Load your oil or shortening into a small saucepan with about a 6-inch diameter. This way the batter won't spread out when you funnel it into the oil, and you'll get funnel cakes that are all about the same size. When it's time to serve the dish, arrange two funnel cakes on a plate, dust them with powdered sugar, top 'em off with fruit and whipped cream, and enjoy fairground-style funnel cakes without any scary carnies watching you eat. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.33. Votes: 6

    Menu Description: "A Cracker Barrel tradition. Our rich, chocolate cake made with real Coca-Cola is baked right in our own kitchen. It's served with premium vanilla bean ice cream and makes for a warm treat on a cool day."

    Cracker Barrel's signature dessert is moist and chocolaty, with just a hint of Coke flavor. Coca-Cola is added to the batter for our clone, and we'll double up on the chocolate by using melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and cocoa powder. A little more Coke goes into the creamy chocolate icing that's also made by melting chocolate chips. Be sure to slide on down to the "Tidbits" at the bottom of the recipe for a great way to easily get the cake out of your baking pan in one piece. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Weight Watchers was one of the first companies to introduce low-fat foods to supermarket freezer sections. The earlier items were mostly meals, such as dinners and lunch items. In 1980 the company began offering a selection of low-fat desserts, which gained in popularity because they didn’t taste low-fat. More recent favorites are these small chocolate-frosted, crème-filled éclairs, developed in 1993. They are sold frozen, and can be defrosted at room temperature in about an hour.

    The clone recipe here is designed so that you don’t need a special pastry bag to make the shells, or to fill them with the delicious, custard-like combination of fat-free vanilla pudding and Dream Whip. It’s an éclair recipe you won’t find anywhere else, and it’s guaranteed to satisfy your most fierce desserts craving. 

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–1 éclair 
    Total servings–9 
    Calories per serving–160 
    Fat per serving–4g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Hunt-Wesson first introduced a light variety of Swiss Miss Puddings in 1990, but three years later changed the formula to fat-free. This chocolaty clone of the rich pudding you find in the refrigerated section of the supermarket will satisfy your chocolate craving without any fat. The sweetened condensed milk helps to replace fat, and the cornstarch jumps in to keep the pudding thick and creamy. The two types of chocolate used here gives you an irresistible snack that tastes just like the original product. 

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–3/4 cups 
    Total servings–4 
    Calories per serving–170 
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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