Easy Fudgy Mint Walnut Brownie Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

Here it is, a scrumptious fudgy brownie recipe that’s loaded with minty flavor and LOADS of walnuts. It’s easy to make, you don’t need a mixer, and it’s a wonderful dessert.

fudgymintwalnutbrownies3CU

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup [113 grams] unsalted butter, cut into pieces

4 ounces [120 grams] mint chocolate, coarsely chopped

11/4 cups [250 grams] granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste

2 large eggs, room temperature

½ cup cocoa powder [sift into flour]

1/2 cup [65 grams] all purpose flour [sift]

1/2 cup [65 grams] chopped raw walnuts

1 teaspoon peppermint extract OR approx. 20 drops of peppermint Essential Oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit [165 degrees Celsius] and place the rack in the center of the oven. The 8 or 9 inch square baking pan can be buttered [use the butter wrapper] or sprayed with a non stick cooking spray.

In a glass or stainless steel  bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and whisk in the bowl containing the sugar. Pour in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter will be smooth. Stir in the premixed and sifted cocoa powder and flour. Add the peppermint extract or essential oil. Lastly, add half the chopped walnuts. Pour the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan. Add the rest of the walnuts on top.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Rotate pan midway through baking. The brownies will be done when they start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies will come out with a few wet crumbs. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

TIPS:

I suggest sifting the flour and cocoa powder together first. Presifted flour also makes your brownies a bit smoother and easier to mix.

If using pure peppermint essential oil, make sure it only contains mentha piperita. That’s the Latin name for the plant. Genuine peppermint essential oil is very concentrated that’s why you measure by drops, not grams or teaspoons. The brand I used in this video is the real deal and I bought it on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V5C97LK

To watch my video, just go here:

The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing ~ Now in Paperback!

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

optimized-the_soapmakers_guide_to_online_marketing_kindleThe Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing was first published in 2013. I’ve taken the time to update and expand this helpful book for those of you who are selling [or thinking about selling] bath and body products online. Back in 2004, I opened up my store, EverythingShea.com. I started off knowing very little about how to get people to visit my little website. I’m sharing what I’ve learned with anyone who wishes to get more customers. 

Best of all, this book is still the same low price it was when it first was published in June 2013. However, one thing’s changed — there finally is a paperback edition!

Much of the information in this book is also helpful for those creative people who sell other types of arts and crafts online.

♦♦♦

Soapmakers and crafters, learn how to grow your online presence! “The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing is packed with detailed information on designing, building, and promoting your website. Learn how to write a press release. Get loads of free and low cost promotional ideas. Attract customers by blogging, making videos, and showing off enticing photos of your soaps and/or other bath and body products. Written by the author of “The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting” and more than a dozen other soap crafting books.

You’ll get:

♦ Successful SEO tips
♦ Free online and offline website promotion tips
♦ Helpful photo guidelines
♦ Video ideas
♦ 100+ updated links
♦ Getting product reviews
♦ Set up your work/crafting area
♦ Wholesaling and labeling guidelines
♦ Avoiding online fraud
♦ Tips on creating your product line
♦ Basic soap recipes
♦ More than 30 resources

Check out my new book trailer!

the_soapmakers_guide_to_online_marketing

Where to buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Soapmakers-Guide-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00D5YX9IS
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Soapmakers-Guide-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00D5YX9IS
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-soapmakers-guide-to-online-marketing-lisa-maliga/1115476903?ean=9781540862976
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id804457652
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-soapmaker-s-guide-to-online-marketing-3
Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/230453462/The-Soapmaker-s-Guide-to-Online-Marketing
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/322570

 

French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 9: Chocolate Mint Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

Before the release of my new eBook, I mentioned I’d be writing about a spring surprise. I was definitely surprised! I envisioned a beautiful spring green color macaron shell and a rich minty chocolate ganache filling. Well, I ended up learning more about gel colors, natural colors and essential oils.

At first, all was great with the meringue. It had the standard stiff peaks and to get that lovely minty color, I added 7 drops of gel food coloring. And that was followed with one drop of pure peppermint essential oil. So it looked and smelled like chocolate mint chip ice cream.

chocolatemint1drying
Nice mint green color

Everything mixed up well; the piping was adequate, the shells dried within 30 minutes. Midway through the first batch, I switched on the oven light and saw nice little feet forming. I set about making the ganache and when it was time to remove the macarons I saw that all the shells had a golden brown crust! My goal was green not brown. After removing them, I lowered the oven rack [it was one below the center] and lowered the temperature from 320 to 300. But as seen below, it didn’t help…

chocolatemint1brown
Too much gel colorant & wrong oven temperature 

I baked the other two trays at varying temperatures and oven rack positions. All of them were well done, even though twenty minutes was the longest time spent in the oven. Most were so hollow either the tops came off or you could easily see through the feet from one side to the other.

chocolatemint1half
The overbaked shell cracked in half!

The chocolate ganache tasted good but not great as I didn’t add enough heavy cream and discovered that the teaspoon of virgin coconut oil clogged the metal piping tip. I reversed the piping bag and adding the ganache that way! What a mess I was making. I also lost several of the shells due to the tops being so crisp they just flipped off. Maybe I could’ve added filling to the other layers, but I just decided to send them to the compost heap outside.

Later, I learned the reason my shells browned – too much gel food colorant and the oven temperature was too high. Okay, next batch I was changing the color to something all natural: matcha green tea.

chocolatemint1macs
Hollow macarons with brownish shells — but they tasted good!

Batch #13 was either going to be lucky or unlucky. Turned out it was a bit of both. My eggs sat on the counter overnight and I noticed they’d aged so well they whipped up to fill the 2-quart bowl up more than halfway. That was a first!

However, I’m going to pass along this tip: don’t mix the powdered sugar and almond flour together a week before you make macarons. I thought it’d save time but in reality I had to resift the remaining half because it got a little clumpy. That wasn’t much of a problem nor was having to move the batter into the five quart bowl because there wasn’t enough room.

Even though I only added 1.5 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder [which I sifted before adding to the sugar/almond flour combo] I found it more difficult to mix. However, it definitely turned the batter green and the resulting macarons look natural, tho’ not lime green or mint green. This was also the first time I used extra fine granulated sugar.

chocolatemint2matcha
Matcha green tea added to almond flour/powdered sugar mix

I added peppermint essential oil to the batter just before mixing it rather than to the meringue. There wasn’t a hint of the matcha green tea aroma.

chocolatemint2cracks
Cracked and deflated macaron shells

The first batch ended up cracking and went into the compost pile. The other two batches came out okay—there were feet, they puffed up but deflated a bit—and they were as hollow as heck but they resembled macaron shells. They’re on the rustic side. The chocolate ganache was made with dark chocolate with mint extract and I added a few drops of pure peppermint essential oil. This time the heavy cream was the right amount and I only added a teaspoon of real butter and no virgin coconut oil.

chocolatemint2shells
Second batch of macaron shells

While the resulting macarons don’t look like they’re from Lauduree, they tasted good and I ended up with 20 of them.

chocolatemint2stack
Natural green color

Next week I’m going to make a fruity combination to celebrate spring. Wish me luck!

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An Excerpt from “Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair”

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

ABSliquidafricanblacksoaprecipes3DMy newest eBook, Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair has just been released this month and is free on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble NOOK, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords and on other online stores. 

For the record, I’d like to state why an author of books on soap crafting and shampoo bars is actually writing about liquefying soap!

Why Liquid African Black Soap?

As I’ve written about shampoo bars and soap, it may seem unusual for me to write about liquefying soap. However, African black soap isn’t your ordinary bar soap. It’s the softest soap I’ve ever used. In fact, I’ve formed it into soap balls. However, by liquefying it you’ll find that it’s simpler to use as either a shampoo and/or a facial/body soap. You can apply the soap with a washcloth, bath pouf, sponge, sock, soap bag or loofah, depending on how much of a scrubby surface you want. I’ve found that a simple $1 bath pouf increases the lather of the liquefied soap and doubles as an effective skin exfoliator. While solid African black soap can work in a bath pouf, it’s easier and more economical to use it in liquid form. In the following recipes, I give approximate amounts for each 2-ounce size. The more African black soap you add, the less water, the thicker the resulting liquid soap.

I also like to change my shampoo bars for liquid African black soap every few weeks.

Here’s the official blurb:

Make your own liquid African black soap in minutes! Includes five easy recipes using natural ingredients. You also receive information about essential oils and where to buy links for African black soap and other healthy additives. “Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair” makes a great companion book to “Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1” and “How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars.”

Available at the following online stores. This eBook is FREE.

Amazon: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
Amazon UK: Liquid African  Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair 
Barnes & Noble NOOK: Liquid African  Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
iTunes: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
Kobo: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
Scribd: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair
Smashwords: Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair

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 Win free books and a box of macarons!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9 

 

FREE Nilotica eBook 1/9 – 1/10/16

nilo3dBy Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015-2016

You can download this unique eBook FREE today and tomorrow! “Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1” introduces you to shea butter that is incredibly soft and easy to apply. Nilotica shea butter is good for all skin types. As with my soap crafting books, I have made and tested each recipe and included several photos.

Amazon reader review excerpt“She states in the introduction how many years she’s been working with nut butters and it shows. Good information that is presented in clear language. She provides factual information on the properties of Nilotica Shea Butter.”

Learn the quickest and easiest way to whip Nilotica shea butter. Each recipe is easy to follow and includes the time it takes and amount it yields. Find out the secret to getting that incredibly light and airy texture. Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1 is written by the author of Nuts About Shea Butter and How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars.

This ebook also contains:

  • Original, tested step-by-step recipes
  • Aromatherapy and your skin
  • Recommended equipment
  • Supplier resources
  • Color photos
  • Special care and storage tips
  • A Kindle Unlimited Exclusive

Nilotica whipped shea butter is so lightweight it almost floats!

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Nilotica-East-African-Butter-Whipped-ebook/dp/B017WJCRT8

Amazon UK link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nilotica-East-African-Butter-Whipped-ebook/dp/B017WJCRT8

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Activated Charcoal Soap Benefits

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

Activated charcoal is the type of coal you want to use any time of the year! Here’s an excerpt from my eBook, Organic and Sulfate Free Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap Crafting Recipes

Nope, it’s not found in your outdoor gardening section in lumps of coal that’s coated with lighter fluid. Charcoal is very porous and is known for purifying water. Activated charcoal has been used as an antidote for poisons. It’s often used in hospitals to help with drug overdoses. There are various types of activated charcoal that you can buy for only a few dollars per ounce. The main types are: activated bamboo charcoal, activated coconut shell charcoal that has a neutral pH, and activated hardwood or willow bark charcoal.

Activated charcoal from coconut shells is a natural body deodorizer that also has cleansing and exfoliating properties. As it’s highly absorbent, it may help draw dirt from the pores, so this is a handy soap for very active/athletic people or those who live in urban areas.

Storage Tips: Activated charcoal should be stored in a container [NOT a bag] with a securely closed lid. By keeping it airtight, charcoal will not attract pollutants. Well-stored charcoal has an indefinite shelf life.

Also, when opening the container of charcoal, do so slowly and carefully due to the fineness of this ingredient. If you open it too quickly, you might spill some. If so, clean the surface right away!

charcoalcherry
Activated Charcoal Soap

As you can see, the color is jet black yet the suds are nice and white. Using any type of clear melt and pour glycerin soap base is recommended if you want this dramatic color. Another advantage to this type of soap is that you don’t have to be concerned about a fragrance or essential oil changing the color.

In my eBook I include two [2] different recipes for soap that contains activated charcoal. Yes, I love the stuff!

Read more about activated charcoal and other wonderful additives in this one of a kind eBook! Organic and Sulfate Free Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap Crafting Recipes

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fragrances

Looking for a Soap Crafting Supplier?

By Lisa Maliga copyright 2015

soap base
Soap Bases

This is an excerpt from Chapter 8 of my latest eBook, Organic and Sulfate Free Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap Crafting Recipes.

I used to buy my herbs, soap bases, molds and oils from suppliers in buildings rather than online. Nowadays, I order online because I make soap part time and don’t sell it. Over the years, I’ve learned what makes a good supplier — one that you will order from repeatedly.

Website:

It helps if the site is visually appealing, showing photos of their supplies. How well laid out is the site? Does it have a prominently placed search feature? Can you find the type of soap base you need? Are the soap base’s ingredients listed? What other products are available from fragrances to molds to packaging?

Prices:

fragrances
Fragrances & Essential Oils

This is where you’ll want to shop around to compare where you can get the best value. Do they sell their soap by the pound, two-pound container, or only in larger quantities? Keep a list either on a computer document or on a pad of paper and write down the amounts that a given supplier charges. Do they have a sale page; a closeout section/discontinued products area? Perhaps they have a customer rewards program that will help if you plan to purchase a lot of soap. Do they offer coupons, discounts or free shipping? Is there an order minimum? By scrutinizing the site, you may end up saving money. If you’re a newbie to soap crafting, it’s practical to order the smallest sizes available so that you don’t end up with products that you never use or have to sell/give away.

Variety of Products:

Large suppliers like Brambleberry.com carry an array of products. This is the ultimate convenience in one-stop-shopping. If you’re just starting out and have to buy most of your soap bases, scents, molds, colorants, etc. you can also fill your shopping cart with way more than originally anticipated, so be careful.

Types of Payment:

Do they accept PayPal, major credit cards, eChecks, money orders, cashier’s checks, C.O.D. or other payment options? Can you snail mail them a check? Do they accept international orders? Do you need to register to make a purchase or can you bypass registration? Can you order online, via phone, fax, snail mail or email?

About the Company:

How long have they been in business? Are they online only or do they have a storefront? Do they provide free soap making/soap crafting resources? Does the owner or owners make soap and have an extensive background in soap/bath and body products crafting? Do they have a blog? If so, how frequently is it updated? Are they on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc? Do they offer discounts or coupons? Are there free video tutorials, and/or recipes? Do they sell eBooks and books?

Organic and Sulfate Free Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap Crafting Recipes lisa maligaFind out more about suppliers and soap crafting here: Organic and Sulfate Free Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap Crafting Recipes

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