Feb. 20, 2008 — -- Todd Wilbur, author of "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2," revealed his recipes for re-creating your favorite dishes at home.
He brought Chili's Molten Chocolate Cake, Panera Bread's Spinach Artichoke Baked Souffle, and Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang Shrimp, along with his versions of each. Then he asked the "Good Morning America" anchors to taste and try to tell the difference.
It's no surprise that they were stumped.
Here Wilbur shares his recipes with you:
Panera Bread's Baked Egg Souffles are delicious little gourmet Hot Pockets. Encased in buttery crescent dough is this top secret version of the egg, cheese, spinach and artichoke filling for a nice morning munchie that will impress everyone. And they're easier to make than they look, since we use pre-made Pillsbury Crescent dough.
Just make sure when you unroll the dough that you don't separate it into triangles. Instead you'll pinch the dough together along the diagonal perforations to make four rectangles. When the dough is rolled out, you can line four buttered ramekins with it, and then fill each one with the secret egg mixture.
This recipe clones the spinach artichoke souffle, but if you're a fan of the spinach and bacon version, check out the Tidbits below for that easy variation.
Tidbits: You can make the spinach and bacon version of this dish by substituting 4 pieces of cooked and crumbled bacon for the artichoke hearts. Simply leave the artichoke out of the recipe above, and then add the bacon to the egg mixture before you microwave it.
If you'd like to make bigger souffles, double up on all the filling ingredients, and bake the souffles in 6-inch ramekins. You will also have to extend the baking time by 5 minutes.
Menu Description: "Tender, crispy wild gulf shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce."
Bonefish Grill proudly refers to this appetizer as the "house specialty." And why not, it's an attractive dish with bang-up flavor, especially if you like your food on the spicy side. The heat comes from the secret sauce blend that's flavored with chili garlic sauce, also known as sambal. You can find this bright red sauce near the Asian foods in your market – and while you're there, pick up some rice vinegar.
Once the sauce is made, you coat the shrimp in a simple seasoned breading, fry them to a nice golden brown, toss them gently in the sauce, and then serve them up on a bed of mixed greens to hungry folks who, hopefully, have a cool drink nearby to mellow the sting.
*Serves 2 to 4 as an appetizer.
Tidbits: You can also make this dish several days ahead by following the directions up to the frying stage. But, instead of frying for 3 to 4 minutes, flash fry the shrimp for just 45 seconds, and then let them cool. Pop the shrimp into a zip top bag and into the freezer. When you want to make the dish, simply fry the shrimp for 3 minutes, or until brown, and then coat with the sauce and garnish as instructed in step #5.
Menu Description: "Warm chocolate cake w/chocolate fudge filling. Topped w/vanilla ice cream under a crunchy chocolate shell."
Get out your "easy" button for this one. While the clone recipe for this top-requested Chili's dessert is extremely simple to make — and can even be made days ahead of time — the resulting presentation is impressive.
A chocolate fudge cake mix is all you need for the cake part of the recipe (or you can use the scratch clone recipe here). The cake batter is poured into the large cups of a Texas-size muffin pan. When the cakes are done and cooled, invert them and cut a cylindrical chunk out of the bottom where the hot chocolate is loaded. Keep the cakes covered in the fridge until dessert time.
To serve, nuke each cake for 45 seconds, plop a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, thereby concealing the fudge compartment, and top it off with a little Smucker's Magic Shell (a chocolate topping that hardens on ice cream). When your diners dig into the cake, a delicious hot fudge center oozes out of the warm chocolate cake, and you're launched up to superhero status.
*Makes 8 desserts
Check out topsecretrecipes.com for more.