Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Top Secret Recipes Step-By-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home - Todd Wilbur

Summary: A knockout full-color cookbook from America's Clone Recipe King
For more than twenty-five years, Todd Wilbur has been obsessed with recreating America's most iconic brand-name foods at home. In his first cookbook with color photos, the New York Times bestselling author brings you 125 new clone recipes: 75 first-time hacks and 50 overhauled all-time favorites. Each recipe comes with easy-to-follow step-by-step photos so that even novice cooks can perfectly recreate their favorite famous foods with everyday ingredients. And your homemade versions cost just a fraction of what the restaurants charge! The result of years of careful research, trial-and-error, and a little creative reverse-engineering, Top Secret Recipes® Step-by-Step hacks: 

• KFC® Original Recipe® Fried Chicken and Cole Slaw 
• Cinnabon® Classic Cinnamon Roll 
• IKEA® Swedish Meatballs 
• Pinkberry® Original Frozen Yogurt 
• Raising Cane's® Chicken Fingers and Sauce 
• Arby's® Curly Fries 
• Lofthouse® Frosted Cookies 
• Wendy's® Chili 
• Panera Bread® Fuji Apple Chicken Salad 
• Starbucks® Cake Pops 
• Cafe Rio® Sweet Pork Barbacoa 
• McDonald's® McRib® Sandwich 
• The Melting Pot® Cheddar Cheese Fondue 
• P.F. Chang's® Chicken Lettuce Wraps 
• The Cheesecake Factory® Stuffed Mushrooms 
• Ben & Jerry's® Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream 
• Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich 
• Chili's® Baby Back Ribs 
• Chipotle Mexican Grill® Adobo-Marinated Grilled Chicken & Steak 
• Cracker Barrel® Hash Brown Casserole 
• Mrs. Fields® Chocolate Chip Cookies 
• Ruth's Chris Steakhouse® Sweet Potato Casserole 
And over 100 more delicious dishes, from snacks and appetizers to entrees and desserts!

(Summary and pic from

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: I thought this was a really fun recipe book. First of all, it had lots of recipes from places I really like. I must admit that I probably won’t be making a Burger King burger at home—just because I can easily go buy one for super cheap about five minutes from my house—but I did like making stuff from restaurants that are not as easily accessible for me. For instance, there’s a Cheesecake Factory about 45 minutes from my house, but getting there and then waiting in line (which can sometimes be hours!) is just not feasible all the time for me. I tried a couple really yummy recipes from Cheesecake Factory.

One of the coolest things about this book is the recipes that from restaurants that I don’t have access to here. For example, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. isn’t even located in my state, and one recipe in particular, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Shrimp New Orleans, was super fabulous and I was indeed dreaming about the sauce the next day, just as promised. I even made some apps from restaurants that I have here and it was fun to have them at our dinners. We even used the mozzarella cheesesticks from Applebee’s as part of our fun Christmas dinner.

Now—these recipes are not always easy. They’re not necessarily complicated, but some of them seem like a heckuva lot of work when you could just easily go buy them at a fast food joint, and for that reason I probably wouldn’t make all of the recipes listed. However, some of them are totally worth it, and I really liked the introduction that Wilbur had written about why copycat recipes are fun and relevant. I thought his points were great. He’s obviously been asked this before, and clearly states his points: cost, customization, discontinuation, scarcity, location, mixed-up menu, fun, and adulation. After reading his points, I totally got why he does what he does and it was even more fun to try the different recipes. I even looked at his website and I’ll probably buy some of his recipes (which are available for individual purchase at a nominal price). Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup, anyone?

As far as whether or not these recipes are exactly like the originals, I’m not totally sure. I think some are closer than others. He doesn’t recommend brands of ingredients, and I think we can all agree that in some situations that really makes the difference. Although the recipes I made were delicious, some I made were closer to the originals than others. That’s okay, though. They were still yummy regardless of their authenticity.

I think this is a really fun series of cookbooks and I recommend it for anyone who’s thought, “I should try to make this at home!” after eating something really yummy at a restaurant.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is clean, but certainly not clean eating.

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