The Power of Secret Recipes

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coke Bottles (flickr user Lawrence Whittemore)

25 years ago, Coke switched its famous secret recipe to "New Coke." The change caused Coke fans everywhere to break out in hysteria until the soft-drink company brought back Classic-Coke a few months later. We look at how Coke has managed to keep its fans so devoted to its secret recipe over the years. We also take a look at why America’s great secret recipes remain compelling from one generation to the next.

Todd Wilbur, cookbook author, has carved out a niche by reverse-engineering popular foodstuffs into his own, cloned versions of highly secret recipes.  Coca-Cola?  He's got his version.  KFC coleslaw?  He's figured it out.  He's jotted down a few of his favorite stories and "cloned" foods for us — check it out!

We started the conversation about this yesterday: Kristie Ann Chauvin Etzel writes on our Facebook page: I make a Cajun Cake to die for! Everybody loves it! It has pinneapple in it and the topping is cooked on the stove like candy! It is soooo yummy!


Nancy Hockenberry and Todd Wilbur

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Comments [5]


Here's Todd Wilbur's version of the In-N-Out burger:

It taste just like the real thing!

May. 20 2010 03:52 PM
Anne Collins from Stillwater, OK

I don't have secret recipes, but I do have a recipe for Sand Tarts from my grandmother or other ancestor that we found in family papers. Maybe it is like John Hockenberry's grandmother's recipe.

Sand Tarts
(recipe from Grandmother, born 1879 and died 1934, in Georgia)

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs minus whites of one
3 cups flour

Roll thin and cut in squares. Thread white of egg on top, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Press almond or raisin in center.

Similar recipe from unknown cookbook, page 555-556

Sand Tarts
(60 cookies)

¼ pound (115 g) butter
1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
1 egg
2 cups (280 g) flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400˚F (205˚C). Beat the butter until softened, then slowly and 1 ¼ cups of sugar, continuing to beat until creamy and smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and salt and beat until well blended. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. Sprinkle a surface lightly with flour and roll out the dough very thin, then brush with beaten egg white. Mix the remaining ¼ cup of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough. Cut into desired cookie shapes and pace on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for about 6 minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn slightly golden. Remove from oven; let cool a minute or two before removing to racks to cool. Store in airtight container.

Apr. 23 2010 11:44 AM
Ben from Detroit

I want the recipie for In-N-Out Burger in California. I've been craving their burgers and fries for years since I moved back to Detroit. It was in fact the last thing I ate while in my fully packed car on my way out of Los Angeles.


Apr. 23 2010 10:17 AM
Evelyn C. from WA state

When complimented on it (happens frequently), I have a nefarious reason for keeping my Beefy Quiche recipe a secret. It embarrasses me how simple it is. ;^D

Apr. 23 2010 09:41 AM
PapaBob from America's Outback

I can't do this...if I tell it won't be a secret anymore. Nice try, though.

Apr. 23 2010 08:04 AM

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