Über Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t even recall how many failed attempts I’ve had in all my years of baking and searching for the “Ultimate Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.” I eventually—I am ashamed to admit this—bought store-bought baked cookies (always a great disappointment) or the Pillsbury or Tollhouse packages that you just pop in the oven. Folks, I am happy to say my search is over and this recipe is JUST.SO.DARN.DELISH. to not share it with the world…and *SHHH*, this stays between us “health nuts” and adults…I am using organic whole wheat flour! YES. Mwahahahahaha -insert purple smiley devil face emoji-.

INGREDIENTS

Makes about 12 large cookies.

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TSP sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (one 4oz stick) unsalted butter ~ soft, room temperature (iIMPORTANT: NOT hot or melted)
  • 1 large free range organic egg
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups organic whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 TSP baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup (12oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Leave the wrapped butter in a dish, at room temperature, for a few hours.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, and soft butter, until you get a smooth light yellow paste.
  3. Whisk in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Sift in the flour and baking soda, then very gently fold the mixture with a spatula. Do not overmix the dough, as this will result in cakey cookies. 
  5. Fold in the chips and gently distribute evenly with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Scoop out 12 cookie dough balls and place them on parchment, allowing about 4″ between each cookie and 2″ from the edges.
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the edges start to turn light golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving with a nice tall glass of cold milk OR a cup of hot tea. ENJOY!

Cassava Cake

What’s in a Name?
Cassava is a starchy root vegetable or tuber native to South America. It’s a flowering plant that belongs in the spurge family called Euphorbiaceae (or Euphorbia for short) and can grow to 10 feet tall. It’s a staple consumed by many in developing countries.
  • Cassava is also called
    • yuca (pronounced yoo-cah): it is not the same as yucca (note: two C’s / pronounced yuh-kah). Yucca is the spiky ornamental plant you see in arid landscapes and deserts.
    • manioc
    • macaxeira
    • mandioca
    • aipim
    • andagbeli
    • Brazilian arrowroot
    • tapioca plant
    • and sweet potato tree
  • Nigeria is the world’s largest produce of cassava.
  • Brazilian Farofa or Portugese Farinha de Mandioca: a traditional side dish made from cassava flour and is toasted
  • West African Garri: A light snack made from cassava flour and is fermented and then fried in oil.
  • It used to make tapioca flour and pearls

Filipino Dessert

All those FUN, educational facts aside, cassava, when grated, makes a gluten-free flour that can then be turned into delicious cake! This is a traditional Filipino recipe with a little added protein (by way of peeled split mung beans). I made cassava cake about 10+ years ago but cannot remember where I put the recipe, so off on an interwebs-expedition I went. I found three that I liked and blended the ingredients and quantities, because like Goldilocks, I need the texture, sweetness, etc. to be JUUUST RIGHT. 😉

—— ♥ ——

INGREDIENTS

  • Two 1 lb bags frozen grated cassava ~ thawed, strained of all liquid
  • One 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • One 14 oz can coconut cream
  • 6 oz dry peeled, split mung beans
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Thaw the cassava packets. Place contents in a mesh strainer and lightly rinse under running water. Strain cassava of all liquid and set aside.
  2. Wash and clean the mung beans until the water becomes clear. Strain. Soak in hot filtered water for about 30 minutes. Add beans and water to a pot and bring to rolling boil for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat and allow to simmer on medium-low for about 10 minutes or until beans are soft. Purée to smooth yellow paste.
  3. Preheat oven 350°F.
  4. Grease 9×13 glass baking dish with butter.
  5. Whisk ingredients together in a bowl ~ your batter should be runny. Pour batter into baking dish.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes on the center rack until the edges and top are a light golden brown. An inserted fork should come out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and serve chilled or room temp, drizzled with condensed milk.

Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake (NY Style)

One of my absolute favorite desserts ever since I discovered its existence in college (YES, can you believe my mom never baked cheesecake for us?!) is NEW YORK STYLE CHEESECAKE. Yum, yum, and YUM.  I remember my first few cheesecake flops years ago. The process seemed so daunting and foreign to me. Fast forward many moons and seasons…I now know why my cheesecake endeavors all tasted like “quichecakes” rather than cheesecake. Meh, live and learn. 🙂

I found a recipe on the side of a bulk cheesecake box purchased from Costco and thought I’d give it a try. I thought it was perfectly creamy and easy. The following recipe is the one I modified ~ making a crustless cheesecake, with a hint of lemon. If you’d like to try the original recipe found on the box, scroll all the way to the bottom. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 (8 ounce) packages full fat cream cheese ~ room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 2 TBSP+ orange zest ~ adding more is better!
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil to make it waterproof.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese. Add sugar and mix.
  3. Scrape down the bowl; add Greek yogurt, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Add eggs to mixer one at a time, mixing thoroughly on low speed.
  5. Scrape down the bowl add salt and lemon zest.
  6. Mix on low until well combined.
  7. Pour cheesecake batter into pan.
  8. Bake in a water bath at 325°F for 60-90 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Original “New York Style Cheesecake” Recipe

CRUST

  • 1 cup graham crackers crumbs
  • 2 1/2 TBSP unsalted butter. ~ melted
  • 1 1/2 TBSP sugar

FILLING

  • 6 (8 ounces) packages full fat cream cheese ~ room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 7 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 2 TBSP lemon zest

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil to make it waterproof.
  2. Butter the bottom of pan.
  3. In mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar and mix well. Press into bottom of pan.
  4. In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese. Add sugar and mix.
  5. Scrape down the bowl; add sour cream, mixing thoroughly.
  6. Add eggs to mixer one at a time, mixing thoroughly on low speed.
  7. Scrape down the bowl add rest of ingredients.
  8. Mix on low until well combined.
  9. Pour cheesecake batter into pan.
  10. Bake in a water bath at 325°F for 60-90 minutes until the cake sets.
  11. Remove from oven and chill completely before serving.

Butter to Oil Conversion Chart

Recently when I was formulating my own recipe for cornbread, it dawned on me that all these years, I have heard that you can simply replace oil for butter, on an equal 1:1 ratio. I did some more digging and was convinced by Bob Mills that is not actually the case at all! In fact, a 1:1 ratio in some case may end up with greasy and oil results. Of course, you are the Chef in your own kitchen, so you be the judge of what works best for your recipe!

Source 1

Source 2

BUTTER OIL
1 teaspoon 3/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon 2 1/4 teaspoons
2 tablespoons 1 1/2 tablespoons
1/4 cup 3 tablespoons
1/3 cup 1/4 cup
1/2cup 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
2/3cup 1/2 cup
3/4cup 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup 3/4 cup

Sour Cream Cornbread

F81279CE-19D1-444A-8378-2978015C55AF

I am extremely excited to share a NEW PROJECT I’ve been working on: Luluesque Recipe DigiCards!  You can save them right to your phone; no need to bookmark my recipe blog page or wait for glitchy internet to pull up this recipe post. One of the finished products is on this post — scroll all the way to the bottom for the recipe digicard. Simply save the recipe to your device in the “Luluesque” Folder…wait, what do you mean you don’t have a folder saved just for me??? 😉

PREP

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Lightly grease 9×13 baking dish with avocado oil

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups organic cornmeal (HEART HEALTH: supplement some with ground flaxseed)
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup organic rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups organic fine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon seasalt
  • 2 cups organic sour cream (HEART HEALTH: replace with non-fat plain Greek yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup avocado oil
  • 3 large organic eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold in sour cream, oil, and eggs with a spatula until the batter is evenly mixed (do not overmix). Our goal is to get out the clumps of ingredients.
  2. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Gently slide the dish from side to side on the counter, to even out the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted fork comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

Luluesque Recipe DigiCards_Sour Cream Cornbread-01

 

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

If you LOVE blueberries, blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, etc., then you’re in for a treat! This dense-but-moist bread is packed with mouthfuls of bursting blueberries! I tested out a few recipes and modified through trial and error, omitting, replacing, and adding as I went. This final recipe has the perfect balance of density, moisture, and sweetness. The grated zucchini provides moisture and you wouldn’t even know that someone had the nerve to sneak in…*gasp* zucchini!   🙂

So—why on earth would someone want to put zucchini in a sweet bread? It’s a vegetable. I’m not a food expert so I will share the information I learned from research. It’s because once upon a time successful farmers and home gardeners would have pounds upon pounds of zucchini and did not know what to do with them all…so they added them to baked goods. Zucchini is very prolific once it starts to thrive (assuming your zucchini crop was spared by the sesiid moths, Melittia Satyriniformis, that lay their eggs on the base of young zucchini plants, thus producing vine-boring larvae that destroy the entire plant, living and growing inside the tubular vines). Zucchini has a mild flavor and is high in water content, providing moisture to baked goods.  That’s the longer than necessary short answer. 🙂


NOTES

Always try to use organic ingredients when possible. The grocery bill can add up quickly and not all produce are covered in harmful pesticides. As a general rule, I follow the Dirty Dozen, Clean 15 list. I have been a loyal fan since 2004, when they first started. FYI, blueberries are listed as #15 and zucchini squash is #27. The lower the number, the higher the level of pesticides.


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar ~ can substitute with granulated white sugar 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups finely grated or shredded zucchini ~ about 3 medium zucchini; I like to use an old-fashioned mandolin
  • 2 pints fresh blueberries

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Lightly grease 2 large loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, oil, yogurt, vanilla, and sugar. Whisk in flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Do not overmix the batter.
  3. Gently fold in zucchini and blueberries with a spatula. Pour into the prepared loaf pans.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool about 20 minutes on cooling racks. Serve warm with butter and a hot cup of tea. ENJOY! 🙂

Leeks and Cremini Quiche

I cannot believe how easy it is to make quiche! 🙂 Quiche is one of my favorite dishes; I can have it for any meal or snack. Add a side salad or fresh fruit medley of nature’s seasonal goodies, and I am good to go!

Though this was an overall easy dish to make, I was still overwhelmed by all the recipes (apparently quiche is a popular dish!) and was a little nervous about my quiche coming out with a soggy bottom. Better Homes and Gardens has a pretty good page on how to prevent this from happening. My recipe is a combination of about five different recipes that inspired me. One of which looks amazing!

Serve your amazing quiche with a side salad, such as curly kale tossed with julienned carrots and paper-thin beet slices. Enjoy! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 9-inch premade pie crust
  • organic butter
  • 2 large leeks ~ white and light green parts only, chopped
  • 6-8 cremini mushrooms ~ chopped
  • 1 cup organic half-and-half
  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 1 cup organic shredded cheese of choice
  • 1 tbs Mrs. Dash seasoning of choice
  • paprika~ to taste
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper ~ to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place premade pie crust in the oven, on the middle rack. Bake for 8-10 minutes. (The goal is to harden the shell, not bake it to a golden finish. This helps keep the bottom from becoming soggy once fillings are added.)
  3. While the crust is baking, sauté the leeks and cremini with butter, until the mixture is aromatic and cooked. Make sure any liquid has evaporated. Remove from stove.
  4. When the pie crust has lightly baked, remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, half and half, and seasonings of choice.
  6. Fill about 40% of the pie crust with the cooked veggies. Sprinkle on shredded cheese. Reserve some cheese for the top.
  7. Pour the custard filling all over the veggie and cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes. (The quiche is cooked through when an inserted fork comes out clean. You should also have a nice browning on the pie crust.)
  9. Remove quiche from oven and allow to cool for about 40 minutes before slicing.

Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookies

luluesque_lemon lavender shortbread cookies

Lavandula, more commonly known as “lavender,” is a flowering plant that belongs in the mint family.  The exceptionally fragrant and versatile flowers are used in medicines, aromatherapy, bath and home products, and food. When used as an essential oil, it has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties and has a calming, soothing effect. 

The sight and smell of lavender always make me daydream about running through a field of lavender in the south of France, on a warm, lazy summer day. 🙂

This super easy recipe comes from the Food and Wine website. Since I am a huge fan of lemons, I increased the lemon zest from 1 teaspoon to 2.

I also found other amazing recipes that contain lavender for future culinary endeavors! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic lavender blossoms ~ chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated organic lemon zest
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted organic butter ~ softened
  • 1 cup organic, unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the chopped lavender and grated lemon zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in the butter at moderate speed. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Form the dough into a 4-inch log and chill for at least 45 minutes longer.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Slice the shortbread dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and place the rounds on ungreased baking sheets. Freeze the rounds for 10 minutes.
  3. Bake the shortbread for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer the baked shortbread to a wire rack to cool completely.

MAKE AHEAD
The cookie-dough log can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw slightly before slicing. The baked shortbread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Lavender Culinary Recipes

Lemon-Lavender Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 T butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp dried lavender buds. Ground
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/3 cup confectioners sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix cheese, butter and sugar in a food processor or mixer. Add other ingredients until smooth. Can be spread or piped onto cupcakes or cakes.

*recipe source*


Lemon Lavender Greek Yogurt Pound Cake

A recipe for incredibly moist Greek yogurt pound cake with tart lemon and flowery lavender.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces, weight) 2% Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. dried lavender

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease one 9×5 (or two 5.75×3 mini) loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each until fully incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the Greek yogurt, to the creamed butter and sugar and mix just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat on low just until blended. Gently stir in the lavender.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the loaf pans for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

*recipe source*


Lavender Honey Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp lavender honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp coarse Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a jar. Cap, tighten the lid and shake well. Serve at room temperature.

*recipe source*