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Snacks

Welcome. 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 snacks here. New recipes added every week.

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    You probably think the dark chocolaty stuff that looks like dark chocolate on a dark chocolate Kind nut bar is all chocolate, but it mostly isn’t. There is chocolate in there, but chicory root is listed third in the ingredients statement, right after peanuts and almonds and way before cocoa, so the dark chocolate is actually a chocolate-flavored coating made mostly with chicory root fiber. Curiously, older labels list “chocolate-flavored coating” as the second ingredient, but newer labels don’t.

    Chicory is the root of the endive plant and it’s beloved in New Orleans, where it’s combined with coffee drinks because its taste is so similar to coffee. Chicory also happens to taste a lot like chocolate, and it’s cheaper than chocolate, and that’s probably why it’s used here.

    But just because Kind uses chicory, doesn’t mean we have to. For our hack, we’ll use real chocolate in the form of melting wafers you can find in most stores. I used Ghirardelli brand because it tastes great, but any easy-to-melt, dippable dark chocolate will do.

    The bars are stuck together with honey and agave syrup heated to 260 degrees F, or the hard ball stage. The sticky mixture is pressed into a 10x5-inch loaf pan, cooled, and sliced into 8 bars. The bottoms are dipped in the pure chocolate, and more is drizzled over the top. About 30 minutes later, when the chocolate sets up, your bars are ready to eat.

    Do you like dipping things in chocolate? Check out more of my clone recipes here

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    Since the candy maker’s first milk chocolate bar debuted in 1900, just three other candy bars have carried the Hershey’s name. Hershey’s Special Dark came out in 1939 and Hershey’s Cookies and Crème was introduced in 1995. The third one—and the first to be made without any chocolate in it—is the new Hershey’s Gold Peanuts & Pretzels, which hit the shelves in late 2017.

    The base of the bar is “caramelized crème” that Hershey’s claims is made by browning the sugar in white crème. I recalled a recipe for caramelizing white chocolate by slowly cooking it in the oven, stirring often, until it becomes golden brown. By mixing in a little creamy peanut butter and salt with the white chocolate before it goes in the oven, I created a perfect golden base to which crushed peanuts and pretzels could be added.

    I poured the golden crème into candy bar molds and let them set in the fridge for 30 minutes. When I removed the candy from the molds it looked like it was made in a real candy bar factory, and it tasted like it too. I wrapped each in gold foil and felt like Willy Wonka.

    If you don’t have candy bar molds for your candy bars, you can make the candy in a more old-fashioned, homemade style by pouring the cooked candy onto parchment paper or wax paper on a baking sheet and allowing it to cool. When it’s firm, break up the candy and store it in a covered container or a resealable bag.

    Find more cool candy copycat recipes here

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    Score: 4.83. Votes: 6

    In 1871 a German immigrant named F. W. Rueckheim came to Chicago with $200 in his pocket. He used all of his money to open a small popcorn shop in the city and started selling a sweet caramel-and-molasses-coated popcorn confection. Rueckheim's big break came in 1893, when the treat was served at Chicago's first world's fair. From then on the popcorn's popularity grew enormously. In 1896 a salesman tasting the treat for the first time said, "That's a cracker jack," and the name stuck. Shortly after Cracker Jacks debut another customer commented, "The more you eat, the more you want," and that's still the slogan today.

    In 1912 the Cracker Jack Company started adding toy surprises, ranging from small books to miniature metal toy trains. To date they have given away more than 17 billion toy surprises. In 1964 Borden, Inc. bought the Cracker Jack Company, and today the Cracker Jack division is the largest user of popcorn in the world, popping more than twenty tons of corn a day. 

    Check out my clones for Fiddle Faddle, Poppycock, Screaming Yellow Zonkers, and Crunch N' Munch

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    The process by which Mars and other candy companies smoothly chocolate-coat their confections is called enrobing. Enrobing was created in 1900 to protect the interiors of the bars from drying out. The process begins when the uncoated centers pass through a curtain of liquid chocolate on a continuous stainless-steel belt. The top and sides of each bar are coated with a thin layer of chocolate. The process is repeated a second time, and then the fully coated bar is quickly cooled and wrapped.

    Enrobing is the least expensive way for manufacturers to coat their chocolates. At Mars, the enrobing machines run around the clock to meet the high demand for their products. Unfortunately, traditional kitchen appliances don't include among them an enrobing machine, so in our case, dipping will have to suffice.

    Check out more of my copycat recipes for famous candy here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    At one point Mars, Inc. chose to capitalize on the company's best-selling candy bar, and called this one Snickers Munch Bar. I think that may have been confusing to consumers who expected to open the wrapper and find something inside resembling a Snickers bar. Other than the abundance of peanuts in this butter toffee brittle, this candy bar is nothing like Snickers. It is, however, an awesome peanut brittle that's super-easy to clone. The original is made with only six ingredients: peanuts, sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt, and soy lecithin. The soy lecithin is an emulsifier used here for texture, but this ingredient is hard to find, and we really don't need it for a good clone. Use a candy thermometer to bring the mixture of sugar, butter, and corn syrup up to 300 degrees F, then stir in warmed, salted peanuts. When the candy has cooled, break it into chunks and you will have created the equivalent of 12 bars of the addicting original. 

    Satisfy your candy craving with more of my copycat candy recipes here

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    Score: 4.50. Votes: 12

    I made several discoveries on episode 2 of my CMT Show "Top Secret Recipe" that helped me improve significantly on the recipe for my first clone of Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls that I first hacked many years ago in my book "More Top Secret Recipes". After interviewing the creator of the Cinnabon roll, Jerilyn Brusseau (aka "Cinnamom"), at her home in Seattle and visiting Cinnabon headquarters in Atlanta, I was able to sleuth out some important clues that make this recipe the closest formula you'll find. I learned about the unique gooey properties of a specific cinnamon found in Indonesia called Korintje cinnamon, which Cinnabon calls "Makara") and how to give the rolls their signature golden color (buttermilk and baking soda). I also discovered that the dough must rise in your refrigerator for at least 5 hours and that adding some xanthan gum to the filling will keep the filling from leaking down into the pan as the rolls bake.

    Cinnabon master chefs allowed me to step into the development kitchen at Cinnabon headquarters for an up-close demonstration of the rolling and slicing techniques, so the instructions I have laid out for here come straight from the inside, and will give you beautiful rolls that look and taste just like those you get at the mall. In fact, if you follow these instructions carefully being sure to weigh the ingredients rather than measuring by volume, everyone will be shocked that the delicious finished product came out of your very own kitchen. 

    Source: "Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step" by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.67. Votes: 3

    At the train station in Naugatuck, Connecticut, candy and ice-cream shop owner Peter Paul Halajian used to meet the commuter trains carrying baskets full of fresh hand-made chocolates. The most popular of his candies was a blend of coconut, fruits, nuts, and chocolate that he called Konabar.

    In 1919, when demand for his confections grew, Halajian and five associates, all of Armenian heritage, opened a business in New Haven to produce and sell his chocolates on a larger scale. Because there were no refrigerators, they made the chocolate by hand at night, when the air was the coolest, and sold the candy during the day. In 1920 the first Mounds bar was introduced.

    Peter Paul merged with Cadbury U.S.A. in 1978, and in 1986 Cadbury U.S.A. merged with the Hershey Foods Corporation, now the world's largest candy conglomerate.

    Today the recipes for Peter Paul's Mounds and Almond Joy are the same as they were in the roaring twenties.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    In 1914 Pittsburgh baker Philip J. Baur and Boston egg salesman Herbert T. Morris decided there was a need for prewrapped, fresh cakes in local grocery stores. The two men coined the name Tastykake for their new treats and used only the finest ingredients, delivered fresh daily to their bakery.

    The founders standards of freshness are maintained to this day. Tastykakes baked tonight are on the shelves tomorrow. That philosophy has contributed to substantial growth for the Tasty Baking Company. On its first day the firm's sales receipts totaled $28.32, and today the company boasts yearly sales of more that $200 million.

    Among the top-selling Tastykake treats are the Butterscotch Krimpets, first created in 1927. Today, approximately 6 million Butterscotch Krimpets are baked every week.

    Try my Peanut Butter Kandy Kake recipe here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur

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    Former U.S. President James Madison's wife did not create this baking company, despite the fact that her name is on every carrot cake, crumb cake, and Zinger that comes off the production line. It was instead company founder Roy Nafziger's brainstorm to use the former first lady's name since she was notorious for throwing huge shindigs featuring a fine selection of desserts and baked goods. Nafziger said his company would create cakes "fine enough to serve at the White House." While I don't expect anyone is served Zingers during their stay in the Lincoln Bedroom, I will agree that these little snack cakes are a tasty way to appease a sweet tooth.

    The cake batter is easy since you just use any instant devil's food cake mix. I like Duncan Hines. As for the frosting, it may not come out as dark brown as the original since the recipe here doesn't include brown food coloring (caramel coloring). But the taste will be right on.

    The fun doesn't stop here! Learn how to make more of your favorite snacks like Hostess Twinkie, Drakes Devil Dogs, and Hostess Mint Chocolate Cupcakes.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    This company was founded as the United Biscuit Company of America back in 1927. It was made up of sixteen bakeries from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City, marketing cookies and crackers under a variety of brand names. That system lasted for twenty-two years, and eventually the name Keebler was adopted for the entire conglomerate. Keebler was linked with the United Biscuit name once again after it was bought in 1974 by a British company of that name.

    Today the company makes 50 billion cookies and crackers each year; among them are the popular Pecan Sandies, first sold in 1955. The Toffee variety came thirty-eight years later.

    Source: More 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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