Sunday, February 7, 2010

Review: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked

Summary: The kitchen clone recipe king is back with a new Top bestselling Top Secret Restaurant Recipes collection—the first book since his bestselling Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2. Wilbur takes readers behind the scenes, revealing the key ingredients in some of our favorite foods such as Starbucks’ Peppermint Brownie, Krispy Kreme’s original glazed donuts, Panera Bread’s cranberry walnut bagel and Wendy’s Garden Sensations Mandarin Chicken Salad. The book will feature 115 new recipes, including 40 previously unpublished recipes such as:

Panera Bread French Onion Soup
•Burger King Onion Rings
•Chick-Fil-A Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce
•McDonald’s Cinnamon Melts
Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese
Chipotle Mexican Grill Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette
•Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuits.

Forget takeout—with these fun recipes and blueprints, all using ingredients you can buy at your local supermarket, you can re-create your favorite restaurant signature dishes right in your own kitchen for a lot less! -- Plume

With over 4 million copies of Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Recipes Cookbooks sold, I am obviously not alone in my curiosity about these books. I actually bought two of these cookbooks and gave them to my husband as gifts a few years ago. The latest Top Secret Recipe collection is TOP SECRET RECIPES UNLOCKED: ALL NEW HOME CLONES OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE BRAND-NAME FOODS. I was very excited about checking out this one because I knew it featured some Starbucks' recipes -- namely their Lemon Loaf.

I enjoyed looking through this cookbook and there were a few recipes that I definitely marked to try. While I usually try to make healthy recipes, this cookbook probably isn't the healthiest; but every once in awhile you have to make an exception! The first recipe I made was the Orange Julius Banana Julius -- which actually was a fairly healthy one. I haven't had the real deal for a long time, but I will say that this version was very good. My fussy-nut daughter even drank one, and that's really saying something.

The next recipe I tried was the Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese. I love their frozen macaroni and cheese plus it's so convenient, so I couldn't wait to try this one. I was surprised how easy the recipe was! There were only a six ingredients needed and ones I usually have on hand. I like that this recipe didn't make a lot and that I can just freeze it and pull it out when I need it. It was really good and did taste a lot like Stouffer's!

Finally, I made the Starbucks' Lemon Loaf. It wasn't hard and it did taste good (a lot like Starbucks'), but I definitely couldn't have served it to company -- my husband wouldn't even take it into work. (Needless to say -- no photo of this one!) The center of the loaf fell while it was cooking so it was really ugly! It also crumbled a teensy bit when I cut it, but I think I might have done something wrong. I would be willing to try the recipe again to see if I had better luck!

The only thing that disappointed me about this cookbook was how many condiment-type recipes are included. Our family doesn't eat condiments so I kind of just skipped through those pages, but others might like them. In addition, most of the condiments are free at restaurants -- right?; so I can't see actually going to the effort to make them. But that's just me!

When I sat down to write this review, I decided to look at the Top Secret Recipes website. Oh my! There are a lot of free clone recipes on this site. While I couldn't find the three recipes that I tried, there were some recipes from TOP SECRET RECIPES UNLOCKED. The closest I could find to anything that I made was the recipe for an Orange Julius Orange Julius. There are also a few free Starbucks' recipes, but sadly not the Lemon Loaf. While you are there, you can sign up for new weekly recipe reminders.

If you enjoy "knock-off" style cookbooks, then you might want to check out TOP SECRET RECIPES UNLOCKED. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this cookbook.

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Mary (Bookfan) said...

Sounds like an interesting cookbook. Sorry the lemon loaf didn't "hold up" but at least it tasted good. My favorite lemon bread recipe is in The Barefoot Contessa's cookbook. LOVE IT. Yes, it's that good!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Since I am all healthy and everything now, after Game On, that would be my first concern. I have started looking up calories of things on the menus of restaurants, and it is positively HORRIFYING. My daughter had a salad last night at The Elephant Bar that was over 1,000 calories without the dressing! So you figure alot of these recipes would not be something you would eat on a regular basis. I'm going to check out the website though!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I also love the lemon loaf at Starbucks! Too bad it didn't look very pretty when you made it - my cakes rarely do, but as you say, it's okay as long as it's not for company! :--)

bermudaonion said...

I really want to try that Starbucks lemon pound cake recipe. As long as it tastes good, I wouldn't care if it fell in the middle.

Beth F said...

I generally try not to bake to many sweets, but it's fun to try to make restaurant favorites at home.

S. Krishna said...

This sounds interesting, though I think I'd prefer to just go the finished product from the store! I've been curious about this cookbook though, so thanks for the review.

Heather said...

I'm sure I heard of the earlier book by this author. Nice to read your comments about the book and the recipes your tried. Will be checking their website. Thanks.

cindysloveofbooks said...

Julie here in Montreal they have this take out place (which is the shape of a huge orange) called the Orange juliep and they make the best Orange Julius drinks ever.

Okay off to find the recipe because I am craving it LOL

Great review

Jill said...

I love these books...I'm going to have to check out the latest!

Lisa said...

To paraphrase "Jerry MacGuire," you had me at Panera Bread French Onion Soup!

Bonnie said...

I love the Lemon Pound cake at Starbucks and would love to try the recipe. Mary is right, the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for lemon bread is to die for. She gave me the recipe and it has become a family favorite and a book club favorite. I'd like to give this cookbook a try as there are several recipes that sound good.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Funny/weird fact: Howard Johnson's frozen mac & cheese was always my favorite when I was a kid; I wonder if they still sell it?!

That lemon cake sounds delish, even if it wasn't too nice to look at.

Mo's Mom said...

Well, you don't have to convince me! I've been following this guy for years! I have all 9 of the cookbooks plus a couple special ones I bought from him on QVC. These are my Go To Books for almost everything.

jutawan jenal said...

i have some collections of famous restaurant secret recipes...

just go here for some of them.. absolutely free for view. lol.

Superb Top Secret Recipes