Dessert Cookbook Series: A Beginner’s Guide ~ New Boxed Set

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2020

 

Includes 3 full-length dessert cookbooks and more than 50 recipes.

Dessert Cookbook Series TransparentLearn how to make many different desserts, no matter what your level of baking experience.

It’s easier than ever to bake decadent chocolate cupcakes and brownies. Get helpful tips about decorating and coloring cupcakes, recommended equipment, and loads of resources. Original and tested step-by-step recipes include Blueberry Brownies, Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes, Blue Velvet Cupcakes, Peppermint Swirl Cupcakes, and many more tantalizing treats.

The book was written by someone who went from baking box mix brownies and cupcakes to discovering the joy of baking from scratch. With a photograph of each finished treat, the reader will be inspired to try baking these delicious recipes.

Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide contains 50+ color photos.

Bake beautiful and delicious French macarons in your own kitchen. This collection of tried-and-tested recipes allows bakers to create these tasty and colorful confections.

The author details what equipment and ingredients you need, offers numerous helpful tips, resources, and shares more than 30 recipes for you to whip up an array of elegant French delicacies.

Full of inspiring color photos, Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide, offers everything you need to bake stunning macarons that will impress anyone who tastes them.

Some of the flavors include Cinnamon Caramel, Tangy Orange, Key Lime, and Acai macarons.

Ruby Chocolate: A Beginner’s Guide includes ten original and tested recipes using authentic ruby chocolate. From healthy granola bars to tasty ruby chocolate chip cookies to decadent fudge, chocolate lovers will be inspired to create their own desserts. The reader also receives gift packaging ideas, and many resources.

Available exclusively at Amazon.

U.S. link: Dessert Cookbook Series: A Beginner’s Guide

U.K. link: Dessert Cookbook Series: A Beginner’s Guide

CA link: Dessert Cookbook Series: A Beginner’s Guide

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orange spice cupcakes by lisa maliga

Chocolate Orange Spice Cupcakes Recipe & Video Tutorial

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2017-2018

This type of cupcake is appealing to those who love a strong citrusy spicy combination. If you’re looking for an autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas treat, here’s a winning flavor. 

chocolate orange spice cupcake baked by lisa maliga
Chocolate Orange Spice Cupcake

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped [Green & Black’s Maya Gold] [3 oz.]
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil [3 oz]
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons [fresh] lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 12 cupcakes

Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius

DIRECTIONS:

Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot water over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. The rack should be in the center. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly.

Whisk the virgin coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate. Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. DON’T OVERMIX!

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 – 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely.

ORANGE SPICE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup [6 oz.] unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar [confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar]
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend*
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons orange extract
12 drops orange color

FROSTING DIRECTIONS: 

Beat softened butter on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and spices with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate has a spicy orange flavor that pairs beautifully with this frosting. I used it once before as I’d run out of regular dark chocolate and was impressed with the way the flavor came out in the cupcakes even a day after they’d been baked. If you can’t use this particular brand/type of chocolate, that’s okay, use whatever’s available to you. However, if you want it to have an orange spice flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon orange extract and about 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin or apple spice blend to your cupcake batter.

* make your own pumpkin spice blend

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Amazon Kindle link: Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide

3dBakingCupcakes3

VIDEO

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Green Velvet Cupcakes Recipe Tutorial + Video

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017-2018

Get ready for St. Patrick’s Day with these delectable green cupcakes topped with yummy cream cheese frosting.

greenvelvet

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

2 large eggs [room temperature]
1 cup sunflower oil OR vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1.5 Tablespoons green gel food coloring
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Makes 24 cupcakes

Oven temperature: 350 Fahrenheit/177 Celsius

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk, vinegar, and vanilla. Then stir in food coloring.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Slowly whisk in the dry ingredients to the egg mixture until completely combined.
Pour batter evenly into cupcake liners. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. After about 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This cream cheese frosting is easy to make and tastes different from vanilla buttercream. As cream cheese is softer than butter, you might want to take it out of the refrigerator a few minutes before making the frosting – especially if the weather and/or your kitchen is quite warm.

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Dash of fresh lemon juice

FROSTING DIRECTIONS: 

Beat softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and beat until thick and creamy.

Video link: 

baking chocolate cupcakes and brownies a beginner's guide by lisa maligaAmazon link: Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginners Guide

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eBook Cover Design Tips

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2013

I don’t usually write about creating an eBook cover because it’s a different process for each title. It’s not just the initial canvas–what color is the background? Will I use a photo? Another important consideration is the font. And what color will that font be, what size, etc. Creating my first romance novella’s cover was simple: I wanted something to reflect the title and that was a cupcake with sprinkles. I thought it emphasized the title along with the fact that bakeries and baked goods are featured in the storyline. I bought a six-pack of cupcakes from the supermarket and took a few photos. They looked good. They looked better after I enhanced the cupcakes with extra multicolored sugar sprinkles. Cupcake photo ready to go, I thought I’d try Amazon’s Cover Creator. Here’s the result after ten minutes of fiddling about with it: [NOTE: click to enlarge image]

sweetdreamsmockup

I wasn’t too crazy about the vertical lettering but I like the Cinzel Decorative font.

There were two issues. The Cover Creator is designed for eBooks sold on Amazon, not those sold at other online stores like B&N Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, or elsewhere. Also, while cupcakes played a part in the story, so did a fancier French pastry: the macaron. That idea for a book cover popped into my head – a stack of macarons. Not just a single stack of strawberry or chocolate macrons, I envisioned pastel colors of pink, yellow, green, and orange.

Why not try a stock photo? I discovered these: http://www.istockphoto.com/search/text/french%20macarons/filetype/photos/source/basic#17bcc90

So many macarons! So beautiful, bright, luscious looking! I was hungry after clicking through the assortment. I found just the right photo for my cover. Until I tried to buy it. I couldn’t get just one, I had to buy several. So, I decided to do it my way—take my own photos of the lovely photogenic macarons. I bought the fancy French cookies knowing I’d have to eat the results of my sweet photo shoot! 🙂

I opted for yellow and green – lovely colors. A little subdued, though. This was taken indoors in natural light but it wasn’t bright enough to show the white background.

ebooksd1

I clicked on the auto enhance button and the background turned a nice shade of sky blue.

ebookSD2

It looked good at 25% but at 100%, I saw a lot of background noise.

Scratch that cover idea.

I got creative and decided to do two stacks utilizing all the colors—totaling seven macarons. Seven almost perfect macarons. I later noticed the little crack in the left Key Lime macaron but thought it looked even more realistic. After all, these are very delicate cookies. They’re made with egg whites, never any yolks, granulated sugar and powdered sugar and finely ground almond flour.

There were three different backgrounds: white, pink and a soft blue. I thought white was too stark, pink too common, and the blue was enough of a contrast to make the bright colors pop.

Keep in mind I’m working with .PNG files at a 300 dpi capacity and the dimensions are 1600 x 2400—standard eBook cover size. So I take the double stack of macarons and remove the background thanks to the handy Magic Wand tool that Fireworks provides for people who are too lazy to actually cut out the background. With the white background, I can stay with that look or add color. As you can see, I added color. I also fiddled around with the settings so that I got brighter shades for more visual impact, although they’re actually quite close to the original colors. As I photographed them indoors I used as much lighting as possible. 

macaronstack1MED

After taking 200+ digital photos, here’s the final result: 

sweet dreams a novella by lisa maliga ebook kindle smashwords