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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: 4.60. Votes: 10

    Rather than trying to beat the competitors—especially if they have an exceptional product—Mrs. Fields Famous Brands throws cash at 'em. With the acquisition of Great American Cookies in 1998 by the company that made chewy mall cookies big business, Mrs. Fields is now peddling her baked wares in more than 90 percent of the premier shopping malls in the United States. That's how you make some serious dough. One of the all-time favorite cookies you can grab at any of the 364 Great American Cookies outlets is the classic snickerdoodle. Rolled in cinnamon and sugar, it's soft and chewy and will seem to be undercooked when you take it out of the oven. When it cools it should be gooey, yet firm in the middle. Just a couple bites should make you wonder: "Got milk?!" 

    Check out my recipe for Great American White Chunk Macadamia cookies here

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.33. Votes: 3

    Here's a clone recipe for a favorite East Coast treat that could even fool Rosie O'Donnell. The snack food-loving talk show hostess professed her love for these tasty Drake's goodies on her daytime show. And who could blame her? It's hard not to relish the smooth, fluffy filling between two tender devil's food cake fingers. I'll take a Devil Dog over a Twinkie any day of the week. For this clone recipe, we'll make the cakes from scratch. This will create a cake similar to the original. You may also use a devil's food cake mix rather than the scratch recipe here. Just make the filling with the recipe below and assemble your cakes the same way.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 6

    These soft, creme-filled sandwich cookies were the first snacks produced by McKee Foods back in 1960. It was his 4-year-old granddaughter Debbie after whom founder O.D. McKee named his line of snack cakes. O.D. was inspired by a picture of the little girl in play clothes and a straw hat, and that's the image we still find today on every package. The secret to cloning these mouth-watering snacks is re-creating the soft, chewy consistency of the oatmeal cookies. To duplicate the texture, the cookies are slightly underbaked. Then you whip up some of the easy-to-make creme filling with marshmallow creme and spread it between two of the oatmeal cookies to complete the sandwich.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 11

    At his candy factory In York, Pennsylvania, in the late 1930s, Henry C. Kessler first concocted this minty confection. The York Cone Company was originally established to make ice cream cones, but by the end of World War II the peppermint patty had become so popular that the company discontinued all other products. In 1972 the company was sold to Peter Paul, manufacturers of Almond Joy and Mounds. Cadbury USA purchased the firm in 1978, and in 1988 the York Peppermint Pattie became the property of Hershey USA.

    Other chocolate-covered peppermints were manufactured before the York Peppermint Pattie came on the market, but Kessler's version was firm and crisp, while the competition was soft and gummy. One former employee and York resident remembered the final test the patty went through before it left the factory. "It was a snap test. If the candy didn't break clean in the middle, it was a second." For years, seconds were sold to visitors at the plant for fifty cents a pound.

    I've created a ton of famous candy recipes. See if I hacked your favorites here

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Fried sweet potato chips, dusted with our seasoning blend."

    The same company that runs Outback Steakhouse operates this 39-outlet chain inspired by the Jimmy Buffet song of the same name. As you would guess, the freshly-ground beef burgers here are great. But you'll also find many Caribbean island-inspired dishes on the menu such as BBQ Jerk Ribs, Tropical Talapia, St. Barts Citrus Chicken, and amazing island cocktail creations served at the Tiki Bar. One of the specialties of the house is the Sweet Potato Chips that are fried to a golden brown, sprinkled with a secret sweet/salty seasoning, and served alongside the joint's sandwich selections, or ordered as an appetizer. For a home version, sweet potatoes are sliced thin using a vegetable slicer that is set on 1/16th of an inch, and the slices are fried in canola oil. After a sprinkling with the special seasoning blend, you'll have a big bowl of sweet, crispy chips that will serve four or more people. And these go great as a side with the BBQ Jerk Ribs clone.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The brand that makes the most popular rice pudding in the country also makes a great tapioca pudding, with large tapioca pearls in delicious vanilla cream. I wanted to duplicate the pudding as easily as possible, and since large tapioca pearls are much harder to find and take longer to cook than Minute Tapioca made by Kraft, I opted to design the recipe using this more available ingredient.

    Minute Tapioca's small pearls of tapioca have been par-cooked so that it takes less time to prepare the pudding. Soaking large tapioca pearls until tender is a process that can take as long as 12 hours, and then you still have to make the pudding. This quick recipe, however, will take you just an hour from beginning to end.

    Give the pudding a nice chill once it's done and it will thicken up nicely. You can be spoon-deep in a bowl of homemade tapioca pudding the same day you make it.  

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    Since they only sell these once a year, in the spring, you're bound to crave them again sometime in the fall. Now you can have a fresh batch in the off-season made from this clone recipe for the first variety of cookies sold by the Girl Scouts back in 1917.

    Craving Thin Mints? Get more Girl Scout Cookies copycat recipes here.

    Source: Even 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.

    Check out my clone recipes for Hostess Twiinkies and Powdered Donettes

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    Ultra-sour liquid candy in a spray bottle was first introduced to puckering mouths in Taiwan in 1975, and eventually came to the U.S. in 1993. The liquid candy is a simple formulation of sugar, flavoring, acids (for the sour), and glycerin. Once you have these ingredients, a home version is easy—just measure and stir. For your own ultra-tart spray candy hack, you’ll need six ingredients and three reusable small spray bottles.

    The sourness in the real thing comes from citric acid and malic acid, both of which are natural ingredients found in fruits and vegetables. Malic acid is a more intense sour and can be found at Whole Foods or online, while citric acid can be found in many stores, including Walmart. If you can’t track down malic acid, you can still make the recipe with just citric acid (see Tidbits). The quality of the sour will be a little different, but I’m pretty sure no kids will be complaining about it.  

    The candy is flavored with unsweetened Kool-Aid mix, which is great because there are so many flavors to choose from. The real Warheads come in watermelon, green apple, sour cherry, and blue raspberry, but the blue raspberry Kool-Aid also has lemonade in it, so that one won’t taste quite the same as the real one. 

    To thicken your spray, you’ll need some glycerin. Glycerin—also a natural product—is developed from vegetable oil or animal fat and is often used in icing preparation. Glycerin helps thicken the liquid candy to make it more syrupy, and it also adds sweetness. You’ll find glycerin where cake decorating supplies are sold, or online. 

    While you’re online, also look for three 2.7-ounce reusable spray bottles. That’s where I found mine. This recipe will fill each bottle all the way up, with a little left over for a partial refill.

    Making candy is fun! Check out my recipe for Haribo Gummy Bears here.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Back in the 1870s, in the coastal city of Malmo, Sweden, a man named Anders Pahlsson baked the first of his soon-to-be famous gingersnaps in a bakery he named Pogen's. In 1970 Pogen's, Inc., opened in the United States, expanding the line of baked goods that Pahlsson developed in the nineteenth century.

    A legend that dates back many years says that if you place a gingersnap in the palm of your hand, press down in the middle, and it breaks into three pieces, good luck will follow. Today, more than 100 years later, good luck and hard work have made Pogen's the third-largest supplier of cookies to the growing vending business.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 1/26/17: Bump up the ginger flavor a little by adding another 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger to the recipe. Also, reduce the cinnamon, so that it doesn't dominate, by 1/2 teaspoon.

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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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