Peanutbutter Cookies 3 ways - Soapsmith's Christmas Cookies Post #5

Hello Friends,

Today I share my 5th post with recipes and information about my Christmas Cookies - Peanut Butter Cookies Three Ways.  Additional recipes can be found here:





This is my recipe for peanut butter cookies 3 ways.  This is a large batch recipe that I make and divide to make about 3 dozen each of traditional cross hatch peanut butter cookies, blossom with chocolate star or kisses, and tiny tims that include a Reese Peanut butter Cup.  This is a very simple basic recipe with the added bonus of quickly creating a nice variety for your cookie trays. They freeze and ship well, too.


Here is the recipe for full batch and half size batch:


Note, if you dough is too soft to easily handle you might want to chill it for 30 minutes or so before forming the cookies.  Allow to cookies to complete cool before packing them away - be sure the chocolate back to room temp/hard so the stars/kisses and cups maintain their shape.



Bake some cookies & enjoy!

Thanks for visiting,

Bonnie




Soapsmith's Homemade Hot Chocolate

Hello friends,



I enjoy homemade goodies from my kitchen as token gifts for the holiday season. You can see some of my other blog posts for welcome gifts from my kitchen including my homemade cookies, candies, fudge, cheese balls, party mix, infused sea salts,homemade vanilla extract etc.  Most of them can be found here:



Consumable gifts are appreciated by all.  If you have children or grandchildren, they can always help create these various delights which makes the gifts extra special for the recipients. You can upgrade the gift with handmade mugs, cookies, salty snacks for example.  Simple or fancy, it is up to you!


Today I share cute little idea for holiday giving, Hot Chocolate Mixes in decorative packaging.   You can make the mix yourself, customize it to your tastes or even use pre-made mixes from the grocery store if you don't want to make your own mix.  I use some of each but stick with high quality mixes when I use them.

Here is a basic recipe that I use:






Soapsmith's Hot Chocolate Mix


2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder regular or dutch process for darker
2 cups of powdered milk
2 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup powder creamer (you can use flavored or plain)
1 teaspoon of salt

For white hot chocolate mix eliminate the cocoa powder,
Use french vanilla creamer and 1 cup finely grated white chocolate. 



Optional add ins:
Cinnamon, cardamon, chili powder, peppermints, hazelnut creamer,
Vanilla creamer, for adults you can use espresso, coffee, chai tea etc.




Garnishes: Marshmallows, Baking chips (semi sweet, milk chocolate, peanut butter chips, cinnamon, mint, white chocolate, caramel, hazelnut etc.)  Fancy sprinkles and jimmies, crushed peppermint, grated chocolate, candies. White pearl sixlets make sweet "snowball" add ins and I found snowflake,star, pearl and Christmas bulb shaped sprinkles at the craft store and bulk food shops.  Use your imagination and gear some to adults and others to the little ones - so much fun!





Simple sift the base ingredients together and package up.  It takes about 3 to 4 rounded tablespoons for each 6 to 8 ounce cup of hot cocoa so include directions.  I put about 1/2 cup in each "inner" bag which makes 2 cups, close it with a twist tie and trim off the excess then put it in the "outer' bag and add your desired toppings.




I mostly use the cone shaped cello bags but you can use mason jars, craft store jars, mugs, tins, Christmas bags or even vintage family treasures. I suggest if you are using the cone bags plan of two bags for each cone so you can pack the powder in a separate bag and insert into the outer bag because it is too messy otherwise. When they make the cocoa they can keep the toppings separate. Here are some I did this year.


Snowman soup (white cocoa with fancy sprinkles and chocolate pearl "snowballs" with candy cane for stirring, Cinnamon hot chocolate with cinnamon stick, hazelnut latte






Santa Hot Cocoa with M&M's, white chips and marshmallows



 Peppermint White Chocolate with crushed candy canes, white chocolate chips & candy cane, Hazelnut Caramel Cocoa with semi sweet chocolate and caramel chips with snowflake sprinkles






Mix up some cocoa, be creative and most of all...have fun!

Thanks for visiting,

Bonnie



AlleghenyHearth.com

Note: I have been asked where to get the cone bags.  You can find everything at most craft stores, Hobby Lobby, Michaels etc. in the candy melt aisle or on line.  Amazon or Ebay has 100 of the bags for $8.00 with free shipping, Craft store about $4.00 for 25 bags.  I use the large size, about 15 inches. Remember to get two for each cone so you can keep the mix separate from the toppings.  You can get smaller bags for the inner bag or just cut off the top.  I use about 1/2 cup per bag which  makes 2 cups of cocoa.

Vintage Porcelain Powder Jars by Soapsmith

Hello Friends,





I carry a full line of beautiful powder dish sets in a variety of styles to fit any lifestyle from art glass bowls, new lidded styles, wood bowls and vintage powder boxes.  Today's post features my newly added porcelain vanity jars.  




 My own formulated silky dusting powders and handmade luxury powder puffs are presented in assorted vintage hand painted porcelain vanity jars.  These will be an elegant addition to your boudoir. This silky blend glides over your body for a soothing, gentle treat. The classic velour style powder puff or opulent Merino body powder puffs are included and are the perfect applicators for a touch of glamour recalling the charm of by gone days. 




Please note, these powder dishes are true vintage pieces. I search the markets, estate sales and shops and pass my finds along to you. All of them are used and may show minor wear from decades of loving use. I don't purchase any vintage dishes that are damaged. You may notice slight "wear" of the delicate touches that occurs with normal use. I am not an expert in vintage glassware but I have been told by those who are that most of these dishes are reproduction pieces from the 1930's to 1960's or so. Some have markings on the bottom, some don't. I clean them carefully before packing and make sure there are no major flaws. I usually only have one of each style/color as shown. There are no cracks, chips or damage that would affect the use. The most common wear is on the "gold" accents, they tend to wear away easily but the classic beauty and function of these dishes are in tact.






The talc free dusting powder is made with all natural ingredients of arrowroot and cornstarch. The addition of lavender and chamomile pure essential oils provides a delicate fragrance that is suitable for daily use. I offer both the lavender chamomile and fragrance free versions of my handmade body powder so you can choose your preference.




Indulge in a classic, Soapsmith's finest bath and body powder presented in these lovely vintage hand painted porcelain powder dishes. Visit my studio for other versions and styles of vanity powder jars as well as a nice assortment of glass powder shakers.









My hand crafted body powders, puffs and dishes make a wonderful presentation for the special person on your gift list. Of course, you can treat your self to this ultimate indulgence, the pinnacle of femininity, you deserve it!






Visit my studio for a nice assortment of powder dishes,  glass powder shakers, ceramic and glass powder jars, powder refills and handled powder puffs.




Thanks for visiting!

Bonnie
















Soapsmith's Shea Butter


Hello friends,

I will be creating a series of blog posts about the soap, bath and body care items I offer for sale. These articles will be educational in nature to offer my customers an insight as to why I choose certain ingredients and their benefits, as well as more detailed directions and suggestions for use of my products. Today's entry is about my pure natural fair trade shea butter.




Shea Butter Information 

Unrefined Shea Butter is 100% natural and absolutely no chemicals are used in the processing. This shea butter is processed by a fair trade women’s co-op in Ghana Africa and is shipped fresh, ready to use. No preservatives or additives of any kind are used in my pure unrefined shea. 





The high quality unrefined shea butter is processed using the laborious traditional method. The hand-collected nuts are similar in size to almonds. The nuts are removed from their shell and placed in a large mortar, pounded by hand to shred and then ground with a stone to a fine paste. The paste is initially the color of dark chocolate. It is washed with water for a number of times until the chocolate color turns into the rich creamy color of the final product. At that point it is boiled in a clarifier to reduce the moisture before being packaged for shipping. 





You will find this butter to be ivory to greenish/grey in color. The aroma is slightly smoky, grassy, and nutty. You may even find flecks of dark/black bits in this shea. This is a natural organic product each batch will vary slightly.



My refined shea butters are whipped with a little jojoba oil and Vit E and for the scented versions the essential and fragrance oils are added. The final products are packed in aluminum slip tins.




Ultra refined Shea Butter begins the same as the unrefined. But more steps are taken. Natural clay filters are used to further process the unrefined butter until it is odorless, white and creamy.



A little shea goes a long way. Simply soften a tiny amount in the palm of your hand and apply. As this is butter, you will note it is heavier than most lotions. It takes a little while to be absorbed into the skin, but the wait is worth it!




A note about fair trade my private reserve unrefined shea butter


This shea is my absolute favorite of all the shea butters I sell. It is all natural, organic. The characteristic earthy aroma and ivory, gray/green color are the natural properties of the shea nut. It absorbs like a dream.

The shea nut is harvested fresh within several weeks of my receiving the shipment. The proceeds go directly to support an African village in Ghana. The women of the village harvest the nuts, process the butter by hand using traditional mortar and pestle. No chemicals are used. (To get the pure white fragrance free shea butter, the raw butter is processed with clay filters. I also sell scented and unscented refined shea.)


This information is provided from my supplier regarding

Fair Trade Shea Butter:
"Unrefined shea butter is a valuable natural resource for West African and could be an important tool in empowering local communities. However, most shea butter on the market in the United States and Europe is not fairly traded.

The women who gather shea nuts and hand craft this remarkable oil receive only a tiny fraction of the final price. It is estimated to take 20 to 30 hours of labor to produce one kilogram of handcrafted shea butter, which is traded at $1 or less in today’s market. A woman making shea butter in West Africa will receive only a fraction of this price. Therefore, a person working for 30 hours, almost a week’s worth of work, will not receive even a dollar for her efforts. Even if she received the whole dollar, this does not even begin to reach living wage standards.

Through our direct involvement of the entire process – from gathering the wild shea nuts and crafting the butter, to distribution locally and abroad - our members receive fair and steady incomes. In addition, a large percentage of your purchases will go directly back to our community in the form of community enhancement projects, AIDS and malaria outreach, and educational scholarships. We believe in “building African self-empowerment the moral way” and truly appreciate your involvement in reaching our goals.

Unrefined shea butter contains an abundance of beneficial ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins and a unique fatty acid profile, and is a superior active moisturizer. Unlike petroleum based moisturizers, shea butter actually restores the skin's natural elasticity, it becomes softer and stays moisturized for longer. Because of its amazing properties, shea butter is an excellent ingredient for soaps, lotions and creams.


Perhaps it is most effective when applied to the skin in its pure state.

Regular users of pure, unrefined shea butter notice softer, smoother, healthier skin."



You can find many products in my studio that contain shea butter. Soaps, butters, lotions, balms etc.




Thanks for visiting,
Bonnie