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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: 4.83. 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. Make sure you have some milk on hand before you take a bite of out of this decadent Cracker Barrel Double Chocolate Fudge Coca Cola Cake recipe!

    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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    This cheesecake at T.G.I. Fridays tastes like a decadent, fat-filled dessert—creamy and delicious. It's hard to believe that there is not a single gram of fat in a serving. This clone recipe will solve the problems of other fat-free cheesecake recipes—too tough or too grainy— and produce a dessert that tastes amazing, just like the popular cheesecake you can order at one of America's most successful restaurant chains.

    You'll need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe, and be sure to let the cream cheese come to room temperature before you use it. Serve this one to your friends and watch the surprise when you tell them it's 100 percent fat-free. 

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–1 slices 
    Total servings–12 
    Calories per serving–223 
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 5

    While most restaurant chains attempt to keep their menus simple so as not to tax the kitchen, the Cheesecake Factory's menu contains more than 200 items on a 17-page menu. And at the end of the meal there are 40 cheesecakes to choose from for dessert, including the delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake hacked here for you. 

    Use an 8-inch springform pan for this recipe. If you don't have one, you should get one. They're indispensable for thick, gourmet cheesecake and several other scrumptious desserts. If you don't want to use a springform pan, this recipe will also work with two 9-inch pie plates. You'll just end up with two smaller cheesecakes. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.88. Votes: 8

    Here's a great one for the holidays, or anytime you want, really. It's a mint chocolate brownie with peppermint buttercream frosting on top and creamy chocolate frosting on top of that. And to simplify the cloning process, we start with a common fudge brownie mix. By changing the required ingredients listed on the brownie mix box and modifying some steps, we can improve on the finished product. Rather than oil, use a stick of melted butter in your brownies for a richer, better flavor. And cook the brownies at a slightly lower temperature so that they come out moist and chewy. Since this recipe is for peppermint brownies, add just a bit of peppermint extract to the batter. The peppermint brownies from Starbucks have red and white frosting drizzled lightly across the top. To duplicate this easily you can buy premade red and white colored frostings that come in little cans with tips included.

    Check out my other Starbucks copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 9

    Menu Description: "Our famous pumpkin pie has just the right amount of spice."

    The vittles from Marie Callender's have made an impression beyond the chain's West Coast roots with home-style packaged entrees and side dishes available in frozen food sections of supermarkets across the country. Pie making is where the chain excels. A fresh slice of a Marie Callender's pie is as close as you'll get to homemade heaven this side of Grandma's porch window. This clone is an obvious selection, since the restaurant sells more pumpkin pies than any other, even in non-holiday months. This clone is a perfect opportunity to improve on icky pumpkin pie recipes (like those found on cans of canned pumpkin, for example) in many ways. For one thing, there's no need to use canned evaporated milk when fresh whole milk and cream is so much better. And three eggs, versus two found in many recipes, will add to the richness and firmness of the cooked filling. After mixing the filling we'll let it sit for a bit while waiting for the oven to preheat. This way it can come closer to room temperature, and the pie filling will bake more evenly. The clone recipe included here for the crust uses a chilled combination of butter and shortening for the perfect mix of flavor and flakiness.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 10/12/17: I made a few changes to improve this recipe. I increased the pumpkin to 19 ounces (or 2 1/2 cups) to better fill the crust. Get a large can of pumpkin. Also, I took the egg yolk out of the crust for a flakier and more tender finished product. Also, because of the additional filling, I've increased the baking time by 10 minutes to 60 to 70 minutes. If you find your crust getting too dark on top, use a pie crust shield or mold some foil around the top of the crust to prevent it from over-browning.

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    Score: 4.62. Votes: 13

    The Olive Garden chain offers a very popular and delicious tiramisu that is produced outside the restaurants and then delivered fresh to each outlet. Fluffy mascarpone cheese is layered over ladyfingers soaked in a solution of espresso and coffee liqueur, and the dessert is topped with dusting of cocoa. But mascarpone cheese has 13 grams of fat per ounce, and there's nothing that tastes quite like it. However, there is one way to get very close, and its a special creamy combination of Dream Whip, gelatin, and fat-free cream cheese. You can make your own espresso, use extra strong coffee as a substitute, or order a quadruple shot of espresso on your next trip to Starbucks. If you love the traditional Italian dessert, but don't love the fat, you simply must check out this slightly tweaked version of the clone from Top Secret Recipes - Lite! that will create a guilt-free clone to satisfy any tiramisu craving.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 slice
    Total servings–9 slices
    Calories–268 (Original–475)
    Fat–2.9g (Original–38g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite! by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Gingerbread crispy crust, cranberry compote, spiced anglaise."

    Every year it's the same dessert at the thanksgiving table: a triangular portion of pumpkin pie with a giant dollop of Cool Whip piled up on top. Sure, it's tasty and traditional, but maybe you want to step it up this year? I've got just the thing. Spago makes a semi-deconstructed pumpkin cheesecake in the fall that is the perfect upscale clone for your homemade holiday dessert. All four components are made separately, then when it's dessert time, you pipe the filing onto the crispy gingerbread crusts with a pastry bag (or you can just spoon it on), pile on the garnish, and serve it up with a smile. You make everything the day before, or on the morning of your celebration, and then you build each plate just before serving. If you want an extra garnish for your plates as in the restaurant, grab some vanilla sauce at the store, or follow the quickie recipe found below in "Tidbits."

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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