Saturday, October 2, 2021

September Harvest ~ Nightmare or Prophecy?

 By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2021

I’ve finally returned to writing fiction. It’s a great feeling to have completed a novella. There was nothing to bake or melt and pour. In other words, no sweets were made and I only made a few batches of soap for an upcoming book.

The first draft of September Harvest was written in a month. It was the easiest and hardest book I ever wrote. During it, I was doing online retail therapy. I’d watched many videos about malls, dying malls, dead malls and abandoned malls. I watched and listened to the soundtracks of the past. Whether you call it Muzak or elevator music, it was wordless and brought back memories. Yet listening to it made me write better and helped create that long ago and far away era. And as I wrote the Northbrook Mall section, I thought it should live up to its name with an exotic landmark center court area. The Palm Beach Mall was my inspiration. Although photographed circa 1968, I imagined being in that mall back then. People dressed more formally than they do nowadays. Salesmen and managers wore suits and ties. Customers and retail employees had a more stringent dress code than that of 2021.

Being able to use the photograph wasn’t an option as it wasn’t in the public domain, and I’d already decided to change the “wonderfall” fountain to a standard cascading type of fountain. But the bridge over the pond surrounded by tropical foliage was an element that had to be in the Northbrook Mall. It was the landmark centerpiece and most noted feature.

palm beach mall wonderfall September Harvest model

Finding a cover artist to recreate the mall wasn’t an easy task. The first person I found via a search had the promise that all emails were answered in 24 hours. To date, my email has been ignored. I contacted another cover artist, but my suggestion wasn’t deemed possible. I kept looking and found a talented artist who had several images of buildings and people in her portfolio. I had quickly learned that some artists specialized in drawing animals, others in portraits, and some in drawing fantasy landscapes. Would I like a watercolor, oil painting or colored pencil rendition?

I wrote out detailed instructions and even included an excerpt from my novella which described the fountain area. I asked that the ladies on the bridge be changed to the main characters in the novella. A few days later, I received the image and here it is…

September Harvest a novella

What is September Harvest About?

Laurie Caswell loves her life… but a nightmare leaves her terrified of the future… 

It’s 1979 and Laurie’s living a great life as a bookstore clerk at the Northbrook Mall. She’s excited to go out with her boyfriend to see a movie, have a drink, and spend a happy evening together. When he leaves, she’s rocked to her core by a nightmare.

A nightmare of a future where her mall is dead, overweight, black-clad people cover their faces like common criminals. 

People seem more focused on their light-up book-like devices than her, but the year 2021 holds darker, more sinister dangers. Dangers she desperately wants to wake up from and escape. Laurie just wants her normal life back… but whatever she’s experiencing might not be willing to let her go so easily.

 

september harvest a novella by lisa maliga

Where to buy:

Amazon: September Harvest
Amazon UK: September Harvest
Apple: September Harvest
B&N/Nook: September Harvest
Kobo: September Harvest
Smashwords: September Harvest
Vivlio: September Harvest

Friday, December 4, 2020

BIG Double Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

 By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2020




Looking for easy-to-bake super double chocolate chip cookies? Double your fun with these big, thick, and chewy chocolate chip cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup unsalted butter cold, cut in cubes
1 cup coconut palm sugar https://amzn.to/39MFE9b
1/2 cup granulated cane sugar https://amzn.to/2JLTRrX
2 large eggs, cold
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract https://amzn.to/3qls56e
2 cups all-purpose flour https://amzn.to/3mJ8TNu
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder https://amzn.to/3ol5gOi
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt https://amzn.to/2Vymifl
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips https://amzn.to/39KAVEL
chopped walnuts, optional

EQUIPMENT:

Stand mixer or hand mixer
Large bowls
Measuring cups/spoons
Whisk
Sifter
Spatula
Large baking sheet
Cooling rack
Parchment paper/Silpat
Measuring scale

INSTRUCTIONS:

Oven temperature: 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius

* In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined.

* In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. You can also use a hand mixer or mix with a whisk or wooden spoon.

* Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Blend well.

* Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended. It will feel quite stiff.

* Mix in the chocolate chips.

* Form into balls approximately 3.5 ounces [100 grams]. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate for one hour.

* Preheat oven.

* Cookies should be at least 3 inches apart. Bake on center rack for about 15 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTES:

This recipe made one dozen 3.5-ounce cookies.
I added a few walnuts to 2 cookies.
Store in an airtight container.
If serving the next day, heat in microwave for about 15 seconds if you want a melty interior.
I’ve added links to some of the ingredients. They are only suggestions, of course.
Chilling the dough in the refrigerator before baking helps to keep the cookies higher so they won't spread a lot.

Happy baking!








Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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.

Learn 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.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Ruby Chocolate: A Beginner's Guide ~ Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2020


I became aware of ruby chocolate when I was watching The Great British Baking Show. A contestant was baking biscuits [cookies] using ruby chocolate. Paul Hollywood, one of the judges, proclaimed that the new chocolate “has a nice kick to it.”

Around this time, one of my baking buddies on Facebook posted a photo of her ruby chocolate truffles. Nancy Hoekman, the owner of Fancy Nancy Bites, is a talented baker and the photo she posted of her lovely pink truffles sparked my interest in trying the chocolate.

I could trawl the search engines for days upon days, or I could buy some and find out for myself how great it tasted and what I could concoct with it.

The best option was to buy it in bar form and order some wafers [callets] online. I called Trader Joe’s to find out if it was in stock and was informed that it had been discontinued, but I could buy it on Amazon.

Callebaut, the company that is in charge of distributing ruby chocolate had many lovely photos on their website and was proud to point out that: “More than 10 years ago, one of our cocoa experts discovered that components of certain cocoa beans could produce a cacao taste experience with an exceptional flavor and color. Since then, we’ve been unraveling the secret behind this, leading to the discovery of the ruby cocoa bean and creation of a totally new flavor experience. Like grapes for fine wines, cocoa beans are influenced by the terroir in which they grow. Ruby cocoa beans grow under unique climate conditions and can be found in Ecuador, Brazil or Ivory Coast. Ruby contains no added flavors or colors.”

What did I make with this big 5.5-pound bag of ruby red chocolate?  Scroll down and check out my book trailer!


THE FIRST BOOK ABOUT RUBY CHOCOLATE!

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 lots of resources.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ruby-Chocolate-Beginners-Lisa-Maliga-ebook/dp/B082XKXYGF
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ruby-Chocolate-Beginners-Lisa-Maliga-ebook/dp/B082XKXYGF

The paperback edition will be available in late January.

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method ~ Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2018

From the INTRODUCTION


Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method
covers the simple techniques you’ll need along with the best type of equipment you should have to bake lovely macarons. You’ll also learn how the weather makes a difference, why you should invest in a digital kitchen scale and oven thermometer. I’ve spent lots of time, money, and hard work to get these recipes right. They are all unique and some are more suited to those who like their macarons sweet and others who enjoy their macarons with a little less sugar and are more classically flavored.


The Swiss method is for any level of baker providing you carefully read each recipe thoroughly along with the helpful suggestions.

When you have the ingredients weighed and sifted, the egg whites separated, and the baking trays lined, it’s time to bake macarons, Swiss style.

Official Description:

Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method

This unique cookbook is designed for bakers of all levels. Follow each carefully detailed recipe and bake stunning macarons that will impress any dessert lover.

Helpful information includes the best ingredients and equipment to stock your kitchen, resources, tips and troubleshooting, plus the easy macaronage technique that will save you time and energy.

With a photo of each recipe, Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method, offers everything you need to bake beautiful and delicious macarons. It features 20+ new tried-and-tested macaron recipes.

Some of the flavors include Minty Chocolate, Speculoos [Cookie Butter], Raspberry Cheesecake, and Apple Spice macarons.

Official release date is September 5, 2018.
Available at these fine bookstores for pre-order.

Amazon link: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method
PAPERBACK: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method [NOW AVAILABLE]
Amazon UK: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method
PAPERBACK: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method [NOW AVAILABLE]
B&N/Nook: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method
iTunes: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method
Kobo: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method
Smashwords: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method

BOOK TRAILER

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide ~ An Excerpt

Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide

by Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017, 2018

My second cookbook has just been released after months of testing various chocolate cupcake and brownie recipes. It was so much fun baking these sweet treats and learning more cupcake decorating techniques. For example, I tried the swirl method and was able to come up with this:

Peppermint Swirl Cupcakes

I’ve also learned how to make my own sparkling sugar and the various ways to core cupcakes. So, if you love chocolate goodness, keep on reading!

Chapter 1 ~ About the Ingredients

Your cupcakes and brownies can look and taste better than any found in a bakery. What you put into your batch of cupcakes is up to you and your budget. Are fresh eggs and butter available to you? I’ve been able to use farm fresh eggs in many of my batches of cupcakes and brownies. Those hens are free ranging and while kept in a coop at night, during the day they amble around several acres of pasture and eat natural food from the ground as well as organic chicken feed.

Use whatever ingredients you have in your pantry, cupboards and refrigerator for your first batches of brownies and/or cupcakes. Don’t invest a lot of money in ingredients or equipment if you only plan to make the occasional dessert. But once you make brownies and cupcakes from scratch, get creative and try new brands of chocolate, butter, or any of the other ingredients to learn if you can taste a difference. Oftentimes you’ll find some sweet [I couldn’t resist that pun] deals on the ingredients at your grocery store so you’ll spend less money on finding out what you like to add to your chocolaty desserts. Baking isn’t just science–it’s also art.

As the recipes in this book are all about using the most natural ingredients, as well as the best tasting, virgin coconut oil is recommended. This tropical oil is easier to use in oil form rather than solid. Coconut oil is coconut butter at temperatures below 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the weather, I can let it sit in the sun to melt or if it’s hot enough then measuring it is always easier. Virgin coconut oil gives cupcakes natural moisture and you won’t taste the extra coconut.

As a Kindle Unlimited title, this eBook is FREE for subscribers!

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

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

Paperback edition: Baking Chocolate Cupcakes and Brownies: A Beginner’s Guide


BOOK TRAILER!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Baking French Macarons: A Beginner's Guide ~ Introduction

By Lisa Maliga,
Copyright 2016-2018

CHAPTER 1Introduction  


A funny thing happened when I baked my first batch of French macarons. They didn’t turn out the way I hoped they would. So I decided to make another batch. And another. And another. I wanted macarons with those ruffled edges known as feet. I wanted them to be brightly colored and light as air, and without hollows. In other words, I wanted a perfect batch of macarons. And I kept trying until I got it right.

Making a pound cake from scratch is the most advanced baking I’ve ever done. This dessert contains the most basic ingredients found in your pantry and fridge: eggs, butter, flour, sugar, vanilla extract and baking powder. As long as you have a hand or stand mixer and measure your ingredients correctly, it’s not difficult to bake.
 
Macarons also require few ingredients: two types of sugar, egg whites, almond flour, and color. That’s it as far as the cookies, a/k/a shells go. The fillings can be diverse: jam or jelly, caramel, Nutella, butterscotch, lemon curd, etc. You can make your own whether it’s buttercream, chocolate ganache, or a fruity homemade jam.
 
I’d never used a piping/pastry bag before. In fact, I thought they were only used for decorating cakes and cupcakes. It took me two dozen tries to get the perfect macaron with a smooth yet slightly rounded top, little frilly feet that are the hallmark of this delicacy, and without hollow insides. The filling was scrumptious too – lemon butter curd. What’s that? You’ll find out as I’ve included the recipe.
 
After discovering local bakeries and stores that sold macarons, I didn’t have to settle for a limited selection of colors/flavors. I didn’t even have to drive to the nearest store that sold them in their freezer section. Nope, I could have fresh macarons whenever I wanted. Well, whenever I had a few hours to spare… 

I took copious notes each time I baked a batch. I also took photos, though not always of every step. Still, for the past eleven months, I’ve learned so much and now want to share some tips and recipes with anyone who’s motivated to bake these delicacies.

Baking French Macarons: A Beginner's Guide is FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription. 

Here's the book trailer...


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