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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: 4.50. Votes: 6

    Menu Description: "Our melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese pie with a tangy lemon topping."

    Here's a great double-layered pie with lemon topping covering a creamy cheesecake filling. It's two great pies in one dessert. This creation has been huge seller for Marie Callender's, and I've heard nothing but raves from anyone who's tried it. Make the crust from scratch like the pros using this Marie Callender's lemon cream cheese pie recipe here, or take the easy route with a pre-made graham cracker crust found in the baking aisle. Either way it's pie heaven. 

    Banana Cream more your speed? Check out more of my Marie Callender's pie recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 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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    Score: 5.00. 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.

    Now you've got dessert covered, what's for dinner? Try my recipes for famous entrées here. 

    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: 5.00. Votes: 8

    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.

    Check out my popular recipe for Romano's Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.50. Votes: 6

    Menu Description: "This tart and tangy layer of graham cracker crumbs, key lime filling and whipped cream is a little taste of heaven."

    While working on this clone, I couldn't help thinking of Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters in The Jerk enjoying "the best pizza in a cup ever." Applebee's has taken a slice of key lime pie out of the pie pan and put it into a 6-ounce rocks glass. The key lime filling for this clone is thickened on your stovetop, and the topping is made by combining key lime juice and sweetened sour cream. Try to find key limes for this recipe, but any lime juice will work in a pinch if key limes or bottled key lime juice is hard to track down. Chill the filling for a few hours in your fridge before building these 4 servings with graham cracker crumbs on the bottom, and whipped cream on top. It's really good stuff. Probably the best key lime pie in a cup ever.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
     

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Three layers of light and airy sponge cake and strawberry mousse, drenched in strawberry sauce, topped with vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries and whipped cream"

    The Strawberry Tallcake is a signature, trademarked item for Ruby Tuesday. It's pretty big, so plan on sharing it. This recipe calls for baking the sponge cake in a large, shallow pan—I use a baking sheet that has a turned up edges to hold in the batter. The strawberry mousse made here to frost the cake is a great, simple-to-make dessert on its own.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    When Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield first met in their seventh-grade gym class, they quickly became good friends. After college the two decided they wanted to try their hand at selling ice cream. With $12,000 to invest, they moved from New York to Burlington, Vermont, where they purchased an abandoned gas station as the first location for their ice cream store.

    After passing a five-dollar correspondence course on ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University and spending their life savings on renovating the gas station, the two were officially in the ice cream business. Ben and Jerry opened the doors to their first ice cream parlor in 1978. The pair's ice cream was such a big hit that they soon moved to a much larger facility. Today, just fifteen years after opening day, they produce more that 500,000 gallons of ice cream each month.

    Heath Bar Crunch was one of the earliest flavors on the menu and is still the most popular of the thirty original chunky ice cream creations that made them famous. Try making this Ben and Jerry's favorite yourself with our Heath Bar ice cream recipe below!

    Source: Top Secret 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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