Friday, February 15, 2013

About copycat recipes...

I run a copycat recipe site: CopyCat Recipe Guide.  There are lots of websites, as well as offline resources, that say they have copycat recipes.  I am very proud of the product the CopyCat Recipe Guide writers produce - even more so after I compared one of our recipes to one produced by a prominent copycat recipe developer.

Todd Wilbur, the author of  "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes" was featured on Good Morning America where he explained his clone of Olive Garden's breadstick recipe.  You can read the article and watch the episode here.  While these may be very good breadsticks, they are not the same those served at Olive Garden. 

Here's the nutrition information from Olive Garden.
As you can see, each breadstick is 140 calories, with no saturated fat, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.

This tells us right away that Wilbur's recipe can't be a clone- because he uses butter, which would add saturated fat.  I input his recipe into a nutrition calculator, and got the following results:

His recipe is higher in calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, and sodium; and lower in fiber and protein.  Since restaurant food is already fairly high in fat, sugar, and salt, why should the "at-home" version be even higher?  That doesn't make sense.

Compare this to our recipe for copycat Olive Garden breadsticks at CopyCat Recipe Guide:

It's much closer to what Olive Garden reports for their breadsticks!

Our writers check their results against published nutrition information and ingredient lists wherever possible, as part of the process we use to get as close as possible to the actual dish.  We know our readers are trying to duplicate the restaurant version at home - not just to make something similar.  Sometimes, as with this recipe, it may take some creativity.  Olive Garden probably uses a specific blend of flour that is not available to home cooks to get a higher protein and fiber content than you'd expect with regular bread flour.  Adjusting all purpose flour with bran and vital wheat gluten produces the same results, with ingredients available in most supermarkets.

If there are recipes you'd like us to duplicate for you, please leave us a note on our Facebook page

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