happy birthday melt and pour soap recipes mini soap cake

Melt and Pour Soap Presentation

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

happy birthday melt and pour soap recipes mini soap cakeThere are several eBooks on melt and pour soap crafting available online. This is wonderful news for those of you who wish to learn this rewarding hobby because you’ll be able to glean many helpful tips and recipes. I’ve written 11 titles, mainly concentrating on the basics that you’ll need to know, along with lots of additives that can customize your sudsy creations in many ways. Soap crafting was once a business for me, but now it’s a necessary hobby. I can’t be without soap!

I test each recipe and include photos of the process, along with the finished soap. So far, I’ve concentrated on recipes that contain a variety of additives, rather than on fancier soaps such as: swirled, 3D, stained glass, multiple layers and/or embeds. I’ve made these soaps in the past, and intend to do so again, but to effectively show such examples, that requires lots of photos. As I’m working on book #4 of the Yolanda’s Yummery series, I unfortunately don’t have time to make AND photograph any intermediate or advanced soap recipes.

However, I’d like to share a very basic presentation tip for packaging your finished soap. Here’s a brief excerpt from my latest soap crafting eBook, Happy Birthday Melt and Pour Soap Recipes.

Be creative! The best part about your soapy gift is that once it’s properly wrapped in cling wrap, you can decide how to present it to the birthday guy or gal. Since it’s not for sale, you don’t have to concern yourself with INCI terms and labels. You technically don’t even have to label it unless you want to. It’s up to you to list the ingredients as a courtesy so that if someone may be allergic to an ingredient they can regift your soap. To give you some ideas, I’m including the same soap with three different labels in the next section.

One of the simplest ways of presenting your soapy gift is to add it to a gift bag. Gift bags are easy to find in any discount store and they’re inexpensive. They come in such a variety of colors and sizes.

Ribbons also help make a lovely handcrafted creation stand out, whether wrapping the soap or a gift bag or box. If giving a gift bag of soap, you can line it with colorful crinkle cut shred or tissue paper—also available in a wide array of colors.

Say Happy Birthday with hand crafted soap! This unique book contains eight original recipes for all budgets along with melt and pour information and birthday soap presentation tips. Includes 30+ color photos.

LINKS: 

AmazonAmazon UKB&N NOOKKobo, Scribd

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Are Laduree Macarons Really That Good?

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2015

I’d never tried a macaron until three years ago, just after I wrote the first draft of my novella, Sweet Dreams. As the cliché goes, it was love at first bite. As I’m working on part 4 of the Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Macarons of Love, I needed to reacquaint myself with the sweet delicacies. I looked forward to tasting the fragile, crispy and chewy cookies.

When one of my friends said he was going to Miami, I sent him some money along with the address of the Laduree shop in Miami Beach. I’d read about it online, learning it was only the third location in America to boast such a prestigious shop. New York City is blessed with two of these stores, but 1000 miles away, a tiny Laduree shop also sells these delectable sweets. I studied the menu and decided to get the 8-pack, enabling me to try a variety of the imported French cookies.

laduree seafoam green gift bag

From the seafoam green bag to the adorable cat and butterfly box, the presentation was perfect. 

laduree macarons cat box

Here are my opinions on the flavors I tasted.

Lemon [Citron]. Of course, the bright yellow is the visual clue that this is a lemon macaron. It had that sweet and tangy lemony aroma and taste. A must-have if you love anything citrusy, especially anything as bright as Laduree’s lemon. 

I have tried Vanilla [Vanille] macarons in the past when I bought a box of Trader Joe’s brand Trader Jacque’s a la Parissiene. This box contains 6 chocolate and 6 vanilla. Naturally, I liked them. I especially liked the fact that they cost about five bucks for a dozen – a lot less than Laduree. However, I prefer the richness of the vanilla bean-laden macaron from Laduree. It seemed fuller and richer in flavor.

Orange Blossom [Fleur d’Oranger] is succulent orange with a hint of floral. Not a brightly colored orange, it resembled the vanilla macaron. Very lovely and I could eat eight of them — just not at one time!

Salted Caramel [Caramel a la Fleur de Sel]. Smuckers makes a caramel topping that’s supposed to go on ice cream. Sometimes it goes onto a spoon and right into my mouth–bypassing the ice cream. This macaron had that sweetly scrumptious filling [third from bottom on the left in the photo]. It was hard not to consume it in just one big bite.

The Lemon Verbena [Verveine Citron] was exquisite. The green undertone separated it from its sister lemon macaron. Highly recommended.

laduree box 8 macarons

Rose Petal [Petale de Rose]. I had a sneaking suspicion that it would taste sugary and rosy and I was right. It was like eating something perfumed rather than flavored. There weren’t any rose petal bits on top. I’ve bathed in a rose Lush Tisty Tosty bath bomb and this was like eating it, minus the fizz. Honestly, I prefer to wear the scent of the rose petal; not consume it.

Raspberry [Framboise] a bit of the filling had seeped from between the shells. When I bit into it, the entire shell spread open and cracked into different sized pieces. Perhaps some moisture had gotten in the shells? Also, the jam innards were much heavier than the shell. The taste was a 10 out of 10.

Chocolate [Chocolat]. This macaron is dark chocolate with a lovely ganache filling. This lightweight macaron is fluffy but not overly so, filled with a generous amount of the finest ganache. It’s not a milk chocolate but a semi sweet chocolate. I’d peg it at the classic 70% cacao content. It’s like a truffle inside of a macaron. Is it worth $2.80 for a few bites? YES!

laduree macarons stacks

I can describe the macarons as succulent, delectable, luxurious, decadent and use even more exclamatory adjectives, but I won’t, because I think you get that I love macarons and enjoy sharing my feelings about them. If you’re a fan of sweets, I suggest that you try them. I’d recommend eating them at room temperature. They’ll last about 3 days unrefrigerated. Refrigeration can mask the taste. However, I’ve never had macarons around long enough to chill in the fridge!