Decadent foods Decadent foods There are some recipes you'll only make once in your life, or once in a very great while. (Photo: Shutterstock/Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Super-decadent recipes you just have to make once

These dishes may take time – and your entire calorie quotient for the week – but they’re worth a once-in-a-lifetime indulgence.

Does cooking feel more like a mundane chore for you than a fun activity? A means to an end, rather than an adventurous undertaking?

We think it's time that more people expand their perceptions of what they can accomplish in the kitchen. Some of the recipes we've compiled below will take a good portion of your day to complete. Others will probably derail your diet, so you'll probably only make them once, or as your go-to dish for special occasions. But you'll be so impressed with your culinary prowess, you'll proudly reward yourself as you entertain your equally wowed guests. Either way, with these super-decadent dishes created by our Israeli Kitchen staff and other top cooks, you might just fancy yourself the next Barefoot Contessa – minus the six-figure book deal, of course.

So start scrolling, click on the recipe links above those oh-so-appetizing photos, and get cooking!


Grilled mac & cheese

Mac and cheese grilled cheese sandwich Mac and cheese has expanded beyond its place in the buffet and has become a sandwich filling. (Photo: farbled/Shutterstock)

As the old saying goes, "You can never have enough cheese." Actually, that's not a saying. You actually can have enough cheese. The real saying is, "Everything in moderation." We agree with that one, but with a caveat – everything in moderation, starting right after you devour this incredible sandwich, which takes two things you love – macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese – and literally smushes them together. This warm, gooey, creamy, crispy lunch concoction is starting to pop up on menus around the world with the rise of the gourmet grilled cheese trend, and it's not showing signs of cooling. But you don't have to travel far – or anywhere outside of your own kitchen, really – to experience the wonder that is grilled mac & cheese. Simply follow the recipe above. No side dishes needed!


Peanut butter cheesecake

This peanut butter cheesecake is topped with a chocolate Magic Shell drizzle.This peanut butter cheesecake is topped with a chocolate Magic Shell drizzle. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

If bagels are simply a vehicle for cream cheese, then this moist, rich and oh-so-pretty peanut butter cheesecake is the perfect vehicle for Magic Shell chocolate topping. Yes, that's Magic Shell, that same childhood condiment you drizzled quite generously atop every scoop of ice cream and watched in awe as it hardened and formed tiny dots of condensation before your very (hungry) eyes. Now that you're a grown-up, you can call it what the pros call it – ganache. And your guests will be none the wiser.

Though it looks like it took days to create, it's really only 20 minutes of prep. The only relatively difficult part of this recipe is the water bath – and even that's not very hard. Just pour an inch of water into a pan that's larger than the springform pan you're using for the cheesecake. Wrap the cheesecake pan in foil to prevent sogginess, place it into the larger pan, and put it all in the oven. After a night of chilling, your cheesecake will practically be begging to be devoured.


Cheddar tailgating bread

cheddar tailgating breadCheddar tailgating bread is a simple recipe with surprisingly delicious results. (Photo: Ree Drummond/Flickr)

It's bread, butter and cheese. Simple, right? So why can't we stop eating it?

This is one of those recipes that is extremely easy to make and doesn't take a lot of time, and it's best eaten right out of the oven, when the cheese is at the height of stretchiness, and the bread is steaming and oh-so-comforting on the inside. So why is it called tailgating bread? We can only guess that the answer is in the shape – when you cut a grid pattern into a loaf of Italian bread, it kind of looks like a football. But we're pretty sure it tastes much better.

Go ahead. Get your hands greasy, pull out the cheesiest, butteriest piece on the loaf, and keep coming back for more.


Shepherd's pie

shepherd's pie.Shepherd's pie is an old favorite and a crowd pleaser for the meat-and-potatoes crowd. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

So you're stuck in that mealtime loop – chicken on Monday, meatballs on Tuesday, some workaday vegetable you might be able to bribe your kids into eating on Wednesday, whatever's in the freezer on Thursday – and you want out. Well, consider this your first detour – turn meat and potatoes into a one-pot specialty. Shepherd's pie, an age-old staple of Irish cooking, is the ultimate crowd- (or kid-) pleaser, and you can even use boxed mashed potatoes if you wish. Use any combination of ground meat that strikes your fancy. And don't skimp on any ingredients – this is meant to be meaty, hearty and filling. Heck, you might not even have room for dessert. But just in case you do ...


Mini cappuccino cheesecakes

Mini cappuccino cheesecakes.These mini cappuccino cheesecakes will have your guests asking for more – and for the recipe. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Two cheesecakes in one list? Isn't there a law against that?

Not when one's in cupcake form! And not when there's art involved!

This dreamy trio of cheese, chocolate and coffee combine to form a cupcake that's elegant, decadent and out-of-this-world delicious. And don't be scared off by the lengthy directions – it'll take time, but the reward will be well worth the effort. If you've never made chocolate garnishes before, this recipe is a great primer. Depending on the type of meal or party where these will be served, you can create chocolate music notes, hearts, squiggles or names written in chocolate to honor a birthday or anniversary celebrant. You can also get creative with the cream topping – once you fill a Ziploc bag with cream, you can snip the corner in several different ways to vary the way the cream will pipe onto the cupcake. If you make an M-shaped cut, you’ll get a cool cream swirl. Sure, this dish scores high on presentation – but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy eating it, too.


Bacon cheeseburger meatloaf

meatloafMeatloaf just got a makeover. (Photo: Timolina/Shutterstock)

This ain't your Grandma's meatloaf, that's for sure. But we're all for this fast-food-inspired variation. After all, you're about to stuff a sizeable hunk of ground meat down your gord. Why not make it something to remember?

This loaf starts with beef chuck and gets a supersized comfort-food makeover with bacon, cheddar cheese and crispy onions. If that doesn't quite fulfill your bacon fix, you can also wrap the entire loaf in bacon before baking. There are many ways to dress up this dish that will make the entire concept of eating meatloaf less of an obligation and more of an adventure. You can also use packets of Liption Onion Soup mix to add just the right amount of savory, oniony flavor to the loaf.


Chocolate babka muffins

A close-up of a chocolate babka muffin.A close-up of a chocolate babka muffin. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

You can't beat a babka – unless you turn it into a muffin.

At first glance, these muffins look pretty benign. But inside, you'll find gooey, rich chocolate swirling from every angle, corner, nook and cranny, cushioned by a flavorful, pastry-like cake. You might be familiar with the loaf form of this delicacy – babka was most famously depicted in a memorable "Seinfeld" episode – but in this recipe, we've compacted it into individual servings, so they'll be no last-minute bakery bickering. Full disclosure: this recipe is the roll-up-your-sleeves, flour-stains-on-your-jeans type. But, as Israeli kitchen blogger Sarah F. Berkowitz puts it, "It's worth every step."

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