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Snacks

You lucky devil. You just found 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 for less money than eating out. Todd's recipes are easy to follow and fun to make! See if Todd has hacked your favorite snacks here. New recipes added every week.

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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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    Recently, Hostess released a new “limited-edition” mint chocolate version of the brand’s famous CupCakes, with mint creamy filling and mint frosting on top. I had already hacked the well-known chocolate CupCakes from Hostess for Step-by-Step, so the cake recipe and the white icing on top was already done. I reworked the filling and the frosting with delicious mint flavor and proper green hue, and put it all together in this new hack that’s a twist on an old favorite.

    As with the chocolate CupCakes clone, the frosting is designed to be runny so that you can dip the cupcakes in it. This will produce a smooth frosting that, when dry, looks just like the real thing. Most likely you’ll need a couple coats of frosting. The first coat is a crumb layer that locks in the chocolate cake crumbs so that the second layer finishes clean and smooth. If you find that you’re losing too many crumbs in the frosting bowl when dipping the cupcakes, you may want to spread on your first layer with a butter knife.   

    Before baking be sure to grease your muffin cups well so that cupcakes come out clean. And you'll need a piping bag or pastry gun with a medium tip to fill the cupcakes and a small tip to add the seven loops of white icing on top. No proper clone of this famous product would be right without that final step.

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    The famous hard caramel candy created in 1903 in the German town of Werther is easy to duplicate at home as long as you’ve got a candy thermometer and some rounded silicone candy molds. Realistically, you can make these candies any shape you want—I made some in a gummy bears mold!—but the best shape for hard candies is something smooth and rounded. That’s what works best for a candy designed to be sucked on, rather than chewed. Just be sure to get enough molds to hold 50 or more bite-size candies at once.      

    This hack calls for fresh cream and butter just like the original invented in Germany over 100 years ago, and now sold throughout Europe and North America. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    If you like Big Macs you'll love this snack wrap that tastes exactly like the world's most famous hamburger. The same basic ingredients found in a Big Mac are wrapped into a medium flour tortilla for a surprisingly tasty quick eat that's easy to copy at home. Inside each of these wraps is half of the hamburger patty that's used on the chain's Quarter Pounder, so by cooking up a quarter-pound of ground beef that's been formed into a patty you'll be able to whip up two cloned McDonald's Mac Snack Wraps in a snap. Say that three times fast.

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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.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    After baking the big 'ol muffins, Otis Spunkmeyer freezes them so that they stay fresh on the way to the stores. Vendors thaw out the tasty baked goodies before displaying them on their shelves. Even after the muffins reach room temperature, they still have a very impressive shelf life of twenty-one days.

    You can also freeze the muffins you make with this reduced-fat clone recipe. Just wait until they cool, then wrap the muffins in plastic wrap, and toss them in the freezer. And remember, the shelf life of your version without preservatives will be much less than that of the real McCoy, so dive into those muffins post haste.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 muffin
    Total servings–16
    Calories per serving–165 (Original–210)
    Fat per serving–4 g (Original–11g)

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    In Cayce, South Carolina, Otis Spunkmeyer muffins were manufactured with state-of-the-art robotic equipment that would make R2-D2 jealous. The amazing machines do everything from packaging 130 muffins per minute to sealing up the cartons for a quick shipment to stores across the country.

    This Top Secret Recipes reduced-fat clone version uses unsweetened applesauce to keep the muffins moist and to help replace fat.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 muffin
    Total servings–16
    Calories per serving–16 (Original–240)
    Fat per serving–5.5g (Original–13g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The health concerns regarding microwave popcorn are a result of the way it’s packaged. For the corn to pop, the kernels are submerged in boiling fat inside the bag until a buildup of steam in the kernels causes them to burst. To prevent the liquid fat from seeping through, the bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, which, unfortunately for microwave popcorn lovers, has been linked to cancer and other nasty things.

    I set out on a mission to make better homemade microwave popcorn with only natural ingredients, and without using costly popping gadgets. I also wanted to avoid using plastic, tape, or metal, such as staples. My solution, like many others I researched, utilizes paper lunch bags, but with a new method for prepping the kernels. I was dismayed to find some discussions about the potential for problems using brown paper bags in your microwave oven, such as fire, but I had absolutely no issues any of the many times I did it. No smoke, no sparks, nothing looking at all dangerous was going on inside my magic cooking box. The USDA states that using paper bags in your microwave, “may cause a fire, and may emit toxic fumes,” yet the internet is full of microwave popcorn recipes calling for paper bags. So, I decided I will still share my recipe and technique, but ultimately leave it up to you to determine if it’s a hack recipe you feel safe using. 

    My hack starts with clarifying butter so that it’s pure fat, without any milk solids or water. Butter is about 16 percent water and if any of that stays in the mix, your popcorn will be on a fast trip to Soggytown. Once the butter is clarified, we’ll combine it with popcorn and salt and freeze it into pucks that can be saved for weeks, until you are ready to make quick popcorn.

    When it’s popcorn time, a puck goes into a small bowl, which goes inside two interlocking paper bags. After a warming session, you hit the “popcorn” button on your microwave oven and the popcorn will pop just like the store product (you may have to add another 30 seconds or so of cooking time). The first bag will soak up the excess butter that splashes around inside as the popcorn pops, and the second bag will keep the butter from messing up your oven.

    To serve, pull the bags apart over a big bowl, and you’ll have a fresh batch of hot microwave popcorn coated perfectly with real butter and salt.             

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    At the 2018 Salvation Army National Doughnut Day World Doughnut Eating Contest, held every June 1st, competitive eater Joey Chestnut consumed 257 Hostess powdered Donettes in six minutes to take home the top prize. There was a big smile on Joey's powdered-sugar-and-crumb-coated face that day as he raised a trophy to celebrate another glorious gastronomic feat.  

    If you had to guess who makes the top-selling doughnuts in America, you’d probably say Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme, but you’d be wrong. According to Hostess, Donettes are the country’s most popular doughnuts—you rarely find a supermarket, corner market, or convenience store without at least a few packages on the shelf. Hostess Donettes come in several flavors, including chocolate, crumb and strawberry, but the one most people turn to, and the one I grew up on (they were called “Gems” back then), is coated with a thick layer of powdered sugar.    

    Cloning the Hostess powdered donuts recipe is not hard, once you know the secrets. You'll make a stiff cake dough, punch out 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter, pierce the dough with a straw or chopstick to make a hole, then fry the doughnuts for 2 minutes until golden brown. After you roll them in powdered sugar you'll have around 20 fresh home cloned miniature doughnuts that will make you feel like a kid again.

    And—just doing a little math here—it would take Joey Chestnut all of about 14 seconds to eat that entire plate of doughnuts you just made.

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