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Snacks

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    Score: 4.95. Votes: 38

    During the holiday months you'd better get over to Starbucks bright and early if you want to sink your teeth into a delicious pumpkin scone. These orange triangles of happiness are made with real pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices, and they quickly vanish from the pastry case when fall rolls around. Each scone is generously coated with a plain glaze and then spiced icing is drizzled over the top. To get the crumbly texture cut cold butter into the dry ingredients, either with a pastry knife or by pulsing it in a food processor, until all the butter chunks have been worked in.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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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: 3.67. Votes: 15

    Before Wally Amos shared his soon-to-be-famous homemade chocolate chip cookies with the world, he landed a job in the mailroom at the William Morris talent agency and soon became the agency's first African-American talent agent. Wally's unique approach of sending performers boxes of homemade chocolate chip cookies that he developed from his aunt's secret recipe eventually helped him get Diana Ross & The Supremes as clients. After perfecting his cookie recipe in 1975, Wally launched his own cookie company and, solely from word of mouth, his baking business boomed. Today there are several flavors of Famous Amos Cookies, including oatmeal chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter, but it is the plain chocolate chip cookies that are the most popular. The clone here will give you 100 little chocolate chip cookies just like the originals that are crunchy and small enough to dunk into a cold glass of moo juice. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.33. Votes: 3

    As far as scones go, the maple oat nut scone at Starbucks is a superstar. At first I thought that we could use real maple syrup or even the maple-flavored syrups that are more commonly used on pancakes today (they are actually corn syrup-based and artificially-flavored). But I found that these syrups add too much moisture to the dough, creating something more like cake batter than the type of dough we want for a dense, chewy scone. I found that the caramel-colored imitation maple flavoring stocked near the vanilla extract in your supermarket gives this scone—and the icing—the strong maple taste and dark caramel color that perfectly matches the flavor and appearance of the real thing.

    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 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 clone. The lemon extract also works like a charm to flavor the icing that will top off your fauxed food.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.25. Votes: 4

    Little checkerboard squares of rice, corn, and wheat are worth big bucks! In 1996 General Mills paid $570 million to Ralston Purina for the entire brand of Chex cereals and snack mixes. As it turns out, developing these cereals into a convenient snack mix brand was a smart move. When I was a kid the only way to get Chex Mix was to make it myself from a recipe on the box of Chex Cereal. Today Chex Mix comes in nearly a dozen different flavors, including chocolate, cheddar, honey nut, and hot & spicy. But a home version using the recipe on the cereal box never tastes the same as the stuff in the bags. That's because the recipe leaves out a very important secret ingredient: MSG, or monosodium glutamate. This amino acid salt enhances the other flavors in the bag and gives the snack mix its addictive savory taste. You can find MSG in grocery stores near the salt (Accent Flavor Enhancer is one popular brand name). Add a little of that to your creative mix of Chex Cereal, pretzels, crackers, and bread sticks, along with some white cheddar popcorn seasoning, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a few other common ingredients, and you'll have quickly cloned one of the most popular Chex Mix flavors.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.88. Votes: 8

    This delicious fall offering arrives frozen to each Starbucks store and is thawed out just before opening in the morning. The pumpkin cream cheese muffins were especially popular in the fall of 2008. According to my local Starbucks manager, a memo fired off to all stores warned of a shortage in the product and that inventory in most states would be depleted before the holidays arrived. That was enough information to get me quickly working on a hack recipe, and here you go. First, sweeten some cream cheese and get it back in the fridge to firm up. It's much easier to work into the top of the muffins when it's cold. The pumpkin seeds that are sprinkled on top of each muffin get candied in a large skillet with brown sugar and cinnamon. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups, add the muffin batter and some cream cheese, top with the candied pumpkins seeds, and then bake. Soon you'll have a dozen fresh clones of the amazing muffins, and you'll always be prepared for the next pumpkin cream cheese muffin shortage.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Gerry Shreiber, a college dropout, wasn't happy with the metalworking business he had been operating for about seven years with a friend, so the two decided to sell out. Shreiber's take was about $60,000, but he needed a new job. One day he wandered into a Philadelphia waterbed store and struck up a conversation with a man who mentioned his investment in a troubled soft pretzel company called J & J soft Pretzels. Shreiber convinced the man to let him tour the rundown plant, and in 1971 he bought the company for $72,000. At the time J & J had at least ten competitors in the soft pretzel business, but over the years Shreiber devised a strategy that would eliminate this competition and help his company grow—he bought most of them out.

    Today J & J Super Pretzels are uncontested in the frozen soft pretzel market, and they currently constitute about 70 percent of the soft pretzels that are sold in the country's malls, convenience stores, amusement parks, stadiums, and movie theaters.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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