Our Happiest Recipes

The creamiest, beefiest, tangiest, funkiest, spiciest, and even booziest recipes we've ever cooked up.

The Beefiest

Photo: Levi Brown

Our Happiest Recipes Ever

It was a tough job, but we decided to find and taste our way through 25 years of archives to bring you these superlative recipes. First up, our Beefiest Recipe Ever.

The Beefiest

Beefy bliss comes when you start with a flavor-packed cut like brisket and grind the meat yourself. Yes, it’s absolutely worth doing this because the meat is simply more juicy. To keep the meat from drying out, don’t cook beyond medium. Show restraint with condiments and toppings, as we did, so you don’t cover up that meaty flavor: This is a burger for purists.

View Recipe: Simple, Perfect Fresh-Ground Brisket Burgers

The Chocolatiest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Chocolatiest

That catch-in-the-throat, that swoon-worthy meltiness—it’s what these chocolate bites deliver. Cane syrup and evaporated milk keep these truffles extra-creamy without relying on heavy cream. Our lighter recipe cuts half the fat and about two-thirds of the saturated fat from a classic truffle.

View Recipe: Bourbon-Caramel Truffles

The Spiciest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Spiciest

Thirteen firecracker-fierce Thai chiles blend into a sauce that is beautifully complex, with sweet, fragrant, and salty refrains along with serious heat. To tame the flame, you can use less of the Thai chiles and add extra mild bell pepper. Serve with crisp, cooling cucumber and an ice-cold beer.

View Recipe: Singapore Barbecue Squid (Sotong Bakar)

The Coziest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Coziest

Only five ingredients, not including salt and pepper. Low, slow, undisturbed time in a bubbling bath of wine and tomatoes cooks lamb to meltingly tender, fall-off-the-bone greatness. For more comforting joy, serve over basic creamy polenta: Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup uncooked polenta and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt; reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.

View Recipe: Lamb Shanks Braised in Tomato

The Funkiest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Funkiest

The earthy pleasures of mushrooms, fontina cheese, and truffle oil are all here, delivering a whiff of damp wood, nuts, and meat in a vegetarian dish. It’s one of the most savory pizzas you’ll ever try, with a crunchy bit of finishing salt sprinkled on at the end. The pizza dough, made with quick-rise yeast, takes just 30 minutes to rise and double in size, but you can also start with store-bought dough to speed things up.

View Recipe: Wild Mushroom Pizza with Truffle Oil

The Chickeniest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Chickeniest

Prepare to be amazed: This bird is so beautifully brown—almost as if lacquered—and so wonderfully moist and full of sweet bourbon depth that it will have you firing up the grill year-round. The best flavor, we’ve found, comes from chickens that have not been injected with salt brine; we like Bell & Evans air-chilled birds.

View Recipe: Fantastic Bourbon Smoked Chicken

The Creamiest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Creamiest

There’s something about the way plain old macaroni cooks to a soft, silky texture that enhances the creaminess of this dish. Each hollow noodle gets coated inside and out with luscious sauce. Although we rarely use processed cheese, here it’s the key to a supercreamy texture that does not rely on heavy cream. We tested lots of mac and cheese recipes, and none was as velvety as this one. It has half the fat and calories of traditional versions with no loss of richness.

View Recipe: Creamy Four-Cheese Macaroni

The Tangiest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Tangiest

We mean business with this ultratart tart. It’s intensely sour, drawing winks from folks after one bite (and, from those with a serious sweet tooth, winces). A lemon quadruple-threat creates this effect: juice, rind, sections, and slices. If you prefer a bit less tang, omit the lemon juice. Try to get the thinnest lemon slices you can for the top of the dessert; a mandoline or very sharp serrated knife will do the trick.

View Recipe: Seriously Lemon Tart

The Booziest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Booziest

Is it a drink or dessert? Who cares? It satisfies both cravings. Our garnet-colored slush has all the qualities of a delicious cocktail—a not-too-sweet combination of high-quality liquor and fruity tang. Make sure to steer clear of above-80-proof bourbon; it won’t freeze solid enough to become slushy. Garnish with any fresh herb.

View Recipe: Cranberry-Whiskey Sour Slush

The Cutest

Photo: Levi Brown

The Cutest

A darling dessert, guaranteed to make anyone smile. It captures the lovable flavors of a classic banana split between two crisp-chewy cookies. You can make the sandwiches through step 4 and stash in the freezer for up to a month. Let them sit out at room temperature to soften a bit before adding toppings.

View Recipe: Banana Split Ice-Cream Sandwiches

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