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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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    Score: 4.53. Votes: 36

    It was in the 1960s that deliveryman Vinnie Gruppuso got hooked on the pudding being made at one of the delis in Brooklyn where he delivered bread. Vinnie struck up a deal with that deli—called Cozy Shack—to sell the pudding to other customers on his route, and the product soon outsold his other delivery items. Eventually Vinnie scrapped up enough money to purchase the deli's pudding operation, he changed the "C" in the name to a "K," and today Kozy Shack is the number one manufacturer of rice pudding in North America. As with the original secret formula, six basic ingredients are all that go into this clone of the company's top-seller. But you'll also need a cooking thermometer and a large pot with at least a 10-inch diameter. A pot this wide helps the mixture to reduce faster. Keep your eye on the temperature and be sure to stir the pudding often. When the mixture begins to thicken, pop the pudding into your fridge for several hours where it will continue to thicken to the creamy consistency of the real thing as it cools.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.54. Votes: 48

    It would take quite a bit of real lemon juice to give this moist loaf clone the perfect lemony zip of the original. With too much liquid we wind up with thin batter, and ultimately a baked lemon loaf that lacks the dense and flavorful quality of the coffeehouse original.  So, to avoid producing a batter that's too runny, we must turn to lemon extract. It's over by the vanilla extract in the baking aisle. This concentrated lemon flavoring works well alongside real lemon juice to give us the perfectly intense lemon flavor we need for a killer Starbucks lemon loaf cake true copycat recipe. The lemon extract also works like a charm to flavor the icing that will top off your fauxed food.

    Re-create more of your favorite Starbucks drinks and treats here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The original version of these bite-size breakfast treats made with extra thick pancake batter and coated with cinnamon sugar are a big success at Denny's. So, chefs there have come up with another version with blueberries and white chocolate chips inside. Initially I thought I could use an instant blueberry pancake mix to clone the new flavor, such as the mix made by Krusteaz. But those "blueberries" in there aren't even real blueberries - they're fake blueberry flavored bits. Not good. I found that the best solution for the best clone is to add chopped up dried blueberries to an extra-thick batter, along with a little chopped up white chocolate chips. The batter is easy to portion out using a 1 3/4-inch cookie scoop that's been dipped in oil, but you could also use a tablespoon measure as long as you don't scoop up too much. Keep your batter balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter or they may not cook all the way through. Here are clones for the original Pancake Puppies as well as the new blueberry and white chocolate chip version.

    Denny's does pancakes right! Check out my other clone recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Look at what F. W. Rueckheim started. He was the guy who, back in the late 1800s, made candy-coated popcorn a national treasure with the invention of Cracker Jack. Now we've got Fiddle-Faddle, Screaming Yellow Zonkers, Crunch 'n Munch so many other candy-coated popcorns. Sure, these other varieties don't have the traditional prize inside the box, but let's face it, those prizes are pretty weak compared to what used to be found at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jack when I was a kid. And the old-fashioned molasses formula used on Cracker Jack just doesn't have the appeal of some of the other tantalizing candy coatings on popcorn today. Butter toffee is a good example, so that's what I've reverse-engineered for you here. It's a simple recipe that makes a finished product so tasty you'll have to beg someone to take it away from you before you finish the whole bowl by yourself. All you need is a candy thermometer, some microwave popcorn, and a few other basic ingredients to re-create a home version of popcorn heaven.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.80. Votes: 5

    A good coffee house will have good coffee cake, and Starbucks is no exception. The world's biggest coffee chain offers cake that is moist and buttery, with a perfect cinnamon streusel crumb topping and a strip of cinnamon sugar through the middle. You may find slight variations of the cake at different Starbucks locations. Sometimes the cake is topped with chopped pecans and some may be dusted on top with a little powdered sugar. The homemade coffee cake recipe below clones the basic recipe, and if you want nuts on top, mix 1/2 cup of chopped pecans into the streusel topping before adding it.

    What's coffee cake without coffee? Find your favorite Starbucks drink recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.62. Votes: 13

    One hot summer day in 1946 Dave Barham was inspired to dip a hot dog into his mother's cornbread batter, then deep fry it to a golden brown. Dave soon found a quaint Santa Monica, California location near the beach to sell his new creation with mustard on the side and a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade. Be sure you find the shorter turkey hot dogs, not "bun-length". In this case size does matter. Snag some of the disposable wood chopsticks from a local Chinese or Japanese restaurant next time you're there and start dipping.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 5/3/17: If your hot dogs are browning too fast, turn the temperature of the oil down to 350 degrees. And rather than using chopsticks, thick round skewer sticks (corn dog skewers) found in houseware stores and online will work much better.

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    Score: 4.88. Votes: 16

    This McDonald's yogurt parfait recipe is super easy to make, plus it's low fat and delicious. The yogurt in the original is very sweet and creamy like Yoplait. So that's the brand that you should use, although any brand of a vanilla yogurt will work fine (see update in "Tidbits"). If you use Yoplait, you'll need two 6-ounce containers of the stuff per serving. For the granola, just look for one that contains mostly oats. It should be crunchy and sweet, and can also include puffed rice bits. You can make these McDonald's yogurt parfaits a day or two ahead of time. Keep the fruit and yogurt parfairt covered in the fridge, and hold off on the granola topping until just before you serve them or it'll get soggy. Also, try our McDonald's strawberry banana smoothie recipe.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.42. Votes: 26

    The Twinkie was invented in 1930 by the late James A. Dewar, then the Chicago-area regional manager of Continental Baking Company, the parent corporation behind the Hostess trademark. At the time, Continental made "Little Short Cake Fingers" only during the six-week strawberry season, and Dewar realized that the aluminum pans in which the cakes were baked sat idle the rest of the year. He came up with the idea of injecting the little cakes with a creamy filling to make them a year-round product and decided to charge a nickel for a package of two.

    But Dewar couldn't come up with a catchy name for the snack cake—that is, until he set out on a business trip to St. Louis. Along the road he saw a sign for Twinkle Toe Shoes, and the name Twinkies evolved. Sales took off, and Dewar reportedly ate two Twinkies every day for much of his life. He died in 1985.

    The spongy treat has evolved into an American phenomenon. Today the Twinkie is Continental's top Hostess-line seller, with the injection machines filling as many as 52,000 every hour.

    You will need a spice bottle, approximately the size of a Twinkie, ten 12x14 -inch pieces of aluminum foil, a cake decorator or pastry bag, and a chopstick.

    Watch Todd's video demonstration of this classic hack.

    If you're a fan of Hostess powdered Donettes, or cupcakes, check out these recipes

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.60. Votes: 15

    In 1992 Fortune magazine estimated the Mars family's personal worth at somewhere around $12.5 billion. This solid foundation of wealth, built on the country's undying passion for chocolate and other sweets, has made this clan the richest family in America—and the most reclusive. A family rule prohibits photographs to be taken of the Mars family and corporate executives. According to Fortune, a photographer who once tried to get a shot of Forrest Mars, Sr., found himself enveloped in a cloth that was thrown as he was about to snap the picture. 

    The fortune grew steadily larger as the corporation routinely kept four brands in the top-ten-selling chocolates in the country: Milky Way, M&M's Plain and Peanut, and, in the number-one spot, Snickers.

    For a live demonstration of this classic clone recipe, check out this video.

    Check out my other clone recipes for famous candy bars here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    My previously published recipe hack of America's most popular rice pudding was not clear about which kind of rice to use. That's a problem because not all rice is created equal. The recipe calls for medium-grain rice but is not any more specific than that, which could lead to varying results in the consistency of the pudding since every rice has a different thickening ability.

    I recently reworked this recipe using many different types of rice, including instant rice, converted rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, calrose rice, arborio rice, and even sushi rice. Most didn't contain the starch needed to properly thicken the pudding, especially the par-cooked rice such as instant rice and converted rice. On the other end of the spectrum, sushi rice contained too much starch and was much too small.

    The best of the bunch was jasmine rice, a long-grain rice, which thickened the pudding nicely after 45 minutes or so of simmering and appeared to be comparable in size to what is in the real thing. Jasmine rice plus five more ingredients are all it takes to make this new, improved clone.

    And now there's no need for a cooking thermometer as required in my previous recipe, since you can just add the rice when you see the milk beginning to steam and keep the pudding at a low simmer until it's done. After about an hour, you'll have a Kozy Shack rice pudding copycat recipe that's ready to pop into the fridge until it’s cool, creamy, and ready to eat.

    Also, check out my copycat recipe for Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding.

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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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