Category Archives: Soap

French Kiss Kiss – Sweetness Sundays

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French Macarons Are A Sweet Trend, 4/6/2010. Photo Credit: Tony Bock/Toronto Star

In recent years, there is one sweet patisserie treat that is not only as beautiful to look at as it is to savor, and is also endlessly suitable to personalization. It synonymous with the luxurious life and real culinary credentials, simultaneously attaining an almost iconic image as well as a modern gustatory revolution. The French Macaron is just such a creation, with a deep rooted history, and a modern enthusiastic following at the same time. As early as 2010, they started popping up in my Toronto area bakeshops as something you could pick up on any given shop day. 

LOVE Ceramic Macaron Sachet – Fragrance Object by Hideminy, Etsy.

Valentine Jewelry Macaron Necklace by Miniature Patisserie, Etsy.

This is no easy feat, particularly for what is, when you come right down to it, a sandwich biscuit.  I somehow can’t imagine an Oreo cookie starting such a revolution on the European Continent as the Macaron has in the United States and Canada both, as of late.

Dreamy Macarons Facial Scrubs [2 Pack] by Mrs. Browns Bath Bakery, Etsy.

French Macaron Hand Soap [2 Pack] by JAKEALA, Etsy.

There is just something so fragile and special about a Macaron that cannot be mass produced. It is this fragility, the candy like colours, and the endless combinations that make up the lure of the Macaron. Movies like Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, starring Kirsten Dunst have given a new spotlight to the over-the-top decadence and girly prettiness of this petite confection.

Blueberry Macarons [Box of 12, Custom Orders Welcome] by Madeline Bake Shop, Etsy.

Parisian Macaron Stand for French Macarons/Cupcakes/Wedding Cake – Peach Cake Stand 16″ by The Roche Studio, Etsy

 
If you look at a well made French Macaron, not to be confused with what North Americans call a Macaroon [a moist coconut based drop cookie], you will see the subtle beauty of the treat.  Put together from two smoothly topped baked round wafers, with a crumbled edge called the foot, these pieces share many of the characteristics of a meringue.  Powdered sugar, egg whites, and ground almonds make up the basic recipe, but endless flavor concentrates and colorings make them absolutely breathtaking to see.

French Macarons – Set Of Three [Felted Merino Wool] by woollyduck, Etsy.

DIY Felt French Macarons [Felt & Instructions For 18 Felt Cookies] by sweet emma jean, Etsy.

 
The exterior wafers of the Macaron have a natural opalescent shimmer over the surface, almost evoking images of fairy wings, and they are soft and moist and melt in the mouth in the most delicate of ways.  I rather predict that the cup-cake craze, while not over, will give way to the pleasures of the Macaron very soon. Similar to cupcakes, the filling, or ‘icing’ between the two wafers can take many forms.  It can be a delicious butter-cream, jam or preserves, or ganache filling.

French Macarons – Pastel Pink 10×10 Size [Home Decor] by Filamento TGS, Etsy.

French Macarons/Macaroons Fine Art Photograph 8×10 Size [Home Decor] by Keri Bevan Photography, Etsy.

While traditional flavors are vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry combinations, cutting edge pastry chefs are busy inventing brilliant alternative flavors from the familiarity of lemons to the sublime Matcha green tea flavorings. Whether flavoring the wafers or the filling, they are served in a sandwich mode, with two rounded smooth ‘caps’ with the foot facing the filling, and a thin but ample layer of filling piped or spread in between. 

Macaroon Cakes Upcycled Tea Towel Cushion/Pillow Cover by Emma Mount, Etsy.

French Macarons – Hemp And Organic Cotton Cushion 12×12 by Sarah Smile Design, Etsy.

The popularity of the French Macaron in North America is blossoming, and confectionery shops have windows full of towers of these jewel like biscuits and special long narrow boxes with ribbons, ready for Valentine’s day sales.  French Macaron are a much sexier and cleaner on the fingers ‘eat’ than an icing covered giant cupcake, with just 88 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 11 grams of carbohydrate for each delicate and sweet sandwich.  The average small specialty cupcake has 178 calories, 5.3 grams of fat, and a whopping 32.5 grams of carbohydrate in all that over-sweet sticky goodness.

Raspberry And Pistachio Ganache Macaron – Silver Plated Ring [Polymer Clay] by Pink Island, Etsy.

French Macaron Necklace With Eiffel Tower Charm by Plushable, Etsy.

 Macarons have reached epic popularity in France, being offered on the menu at McDonald’s restaurants in that country.  This new status of the french treat is making waves in the fashion world, as well as art, sculpture, and crafting.  Pastel colours are all over the runways, and the garments seem to look as delicious and light as the cookie itself.  There are heaps of photographs of French Macarons, in wild and enticing colours, as well as ‘fake’ props for your home, soaps, toys, and accessories.

Set of 2 Funny Macarons In A Pretty Box – Tea Party OOAK Art Doll Sculpt by Sandra ArteagaA, Etsy.

Sweet Treats Dessert Hand Embroidery Pattern [PDF] by Wild Olive, Etsy.

So much of what we eat, and crave, has to do with what it looks like.  Seeing the sheer volume of jewelry, trinkets, dollhouse sized treats, and non-edibles inspired by the lovely French Macaron, you can see that people have fallen in love with this iconic ‘cookie’, and though they may be a bit complicated for the baking novice to master, they are actually not impossible to make right at home. It takes a bit of practice with the piping bag to get the exterior meringues to shape up perfectly and match in size, but then you have the fun of eating all your ‘mistakes’, which may be the best part.

French Macaron Trinket Box – Mint Green/Pistachio Polymer Clay [Limoges Style] by The Mermaid Articles, Etsy.

Macaron Mercerie Sewing Accessories PDF Pattern [Pin Cushion, Needle Case, Scissors Fob] by Quilting Gems, Etsy.

So grab a great recipe for a French Macaron from a cookbook or the internet, flavor it any way you like, be it pomegranate and orange, or espresso and match tea, and whip up a batch of sweet French Kisses for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. Now if I can just sort out a vegan version of this amazing treat. That would be truly fabulous my darlings!

Vanilla Macaron Perfume AMUSE Perfume Oil [Spray or Roll On] by Theme Fragrance, Etsy.

French Macaron Water Transfer Nail Sticker Set by Js Utopia, Etsy.
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Sweetness That Lingers On Your Fingers – Sweetness Sundays

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Vanilla Mint Mousse All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

  Today’s sweet post is achingly tempting to look at, these images look good enough to eat. If I told you I had a big thick bar of wonderful handmade chocolate – you’d be drooling – if I added the word “soap“, you would look at me as if I was insane. Maybe I am a little insane, but luckily that is not the topic of this blog post, today it all about the amazingly beautiful art of handmade soap.  Often made with the most pure and natural of ingredients and scented in any number of combination, these stunning blocks of bliss are all about getting hands on. 

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie Handmade Vegan Artisan Soap by SV Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Vanilla Soap Vegan Cold Processed Butter Blend Handmade Olive Oil Shea Butter Romantic Cottage Style by A Breath Of French Air on Etsy.
Gardenia and Fresh Honey Handmade Soap UK by Soap Dragon on Etsy.
1 Bar of All Natural Blushing Jasmine Handmade Vegan Artisan Soap by Ocracoke Soap Company on Etsy.
Anise (Licorice) Soap – Cold Process Soap by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Maple Pecan Streusel Soap – Sweet Vanilla, Warm Syrup, Southern Pecan by Symbolic Imports on Etsy.

We live in a suddenly germ phobic society. We have managed to add “antibacterial” ingredients to just about every home product, from dish soap to all purpose cleaners. Do you actually know what constitutes that “antibacterial” property? You guessed it, it a bunch of harsh chemicals kids! As a nurse, I actually had to study how to properly and safely wash my hands, and I can tell you, the most important part of hand washing is not the chemicals in the soap, it is the length of time you spend lathering and the friction of rubbing the bacteria and dirt from your hands.

Lemongrass Mint Essential Oil Soap / Cold Process Handmade Soap Bar / Chunky by barebare all natural on Etsy.
Sweet Red Clover Soap – Cold Process Soap by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Sweet Grapefruit Vegan Soap by Gold Creek Soap on Etsy.
Japanese Peppermint Soap – Handmade Shea Butter Vegan – Perfectly Pink for Valentine’s Day by Kreated by Karina on Etsy.
Sweet Summer Rose Soap Bar – 5 oz. by Gourmet Soaps on Etsy.
Handmade Soap – Brown Sugar & Fig – Wild Figs, Maple Sugar, Musk (Cold Process Soap) by Petals Bath Boutique on Etsy.

It doesn’t matter how much antibacterial soap you use, if you have handled the taps and and door knobs with dirty hands, and you don’t spend enough time scrubbing your hands, drying them, and touch only ‘clean’ surfaces after washing, you are just wasting your money and throwing a pile of chemicals down the pipes into our water system.

Green Apple Handmade Soap by Pink Parchment Soaps on Etsy.
GINGER SOUFFLE Scented, Natural Vegan and Handmade Glycerine Soap with ALOE Vera by Olivia Morgana on Etsy.
Goat Milk Soap, Sweet Almond Cookie, 5 oz. Scrub Bar with Rolled Oats and Almond Oil, Handmade Herbal Soap by Hammer and Coil on Etsy.
Sweet Oranges and Cinnamon Spice Handmade Cold Process Soap by Dogwood Rose Studio on Etsy.
Pomegranate Soap – Handmade Cold Process by Inner Earth Soaps on Etsy.
Groovy Garden Cold Process Soap – Palmarosa, Patchouli, & Sweet Orange Soap – Handmade Vegan Soap by Pigeon River Soaps on Etsy.

I don’t use antibacterials in my home, it is a conscious decision. I am not interested in adding any more chemicals to my life or the ecosystem.  Not only that, but I have done my own research into the issue, and even the FDA has acknowledged that the use of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers has not been linked to any sign of a decline in infection rates among it’s users, not any statistically significant shift in all the years since it’s proliferation. Not one bit of evidence suggests that using an antibacterial soap will make you any less likely to become ill or shorten an illness period. In fact, many anecdotal studies suggest that the perceived benefits of antibacterials and hand sanitizers actual has led to less effective hand washing.

Sticky Sweet Caramel Soap – Caramel Apple Scent by AJSweetSoap on Etsy.
Sweet Orange and Vanilla Soap by Annie and Elmo on Etsy.
Apple Cider Soap – Eden’s Allure Handmade Soap – Juicy Apples and Sweet Spices Scented Soap by Body Language Soaps on Etsy.
Lime and Herb Handmade Soap with Shea Butter by Hidden Blessings on Etsy.
Satsuma – Japanese Mandarin Handmade Goat’s Milk And Shea Butter Soap by Soothing Suds on Etsy.
Rhiannon, Handmade Soap – Lavender, Bergamot, & Lemon – Cold Process, Essential Oil Bar (Natural, Vegan) by Sacred Suds on Etsy.

If you wash your hands before meals and as needed, and you do it properly, you will have an edge over any anti-bacterial or anti-microbial soap sold in the grocery store.  We are more likely to pass on infections if we put our faith in a bottle of soap as opposed to the common sense that says to slow down, do the job right and well the first time. Our grandparents used the most basic of soaps, many times simple glycerin soaps, and they were often much healthier than we are. We seem a society intent on creating super-bugs, germs that can foil our most basic cleansers and bacteria that make antibiotics useless for those who desperately need them to work.

Soap – Sweet Orange Salt Bar Circle Bar – All Natural Glycerin Soap by Sunbasilgarden Soaps on Etsy.
Chocolate Indulgence Soap – Made With Shea Butter and Sweet Natural Chocolate Valentines Day Gift by Symbolic Imports on Etsy.
Cranberry Orange – Handmade Goat Milk and Cocoa Butter Soap by Soothing Suds on Etsy.
Sweet Lemon Cream Soap Handmade Cold Process, Vegan Friendly by Blushie on Etsy.
Sea Salt Caramels Handmade Cold Process Soap – Soap Bar by Lippincott Soap Co. on Etsy.
Sweet Lemongrass Soap Handmade Soap by Comfort and Joy Soap Co. on Etsy.

So back to these beautiful bars of soap, and a simple question, why buy the bottled soaps that all contain chemicals for fragrance, bacteria reduction, and color, when you can  buy a gorgeous bar of Eco-friendly soap in a color or fragrance that is naturally lovely, and does the job just as well, if not better.  Washing your hands becomes a pleasurable experience when you slow down, roll the bar in your hands, develop a bit of a lather and that lovely scent begins to build.

Sweet Orange Patchouli Soap by Body Luminosity on Etsy.
Green Tea Citrus – Handmade Soap by Dirty Deeds Soaps on Etsy.
Chocolate Dream Handmade Soap with Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, and Goats Milk by EcoSations on Etsy.
Fresh Orange and Papaya Clear Glycerine Soap, Luxury, Delicate Feminine Fruity Sweet Fresh – Yellow Perfect Gift by Cat’s Little Corner on Etsy.
All Natural And Vegan Sweet Orange Clove Soap, Two 5oz. Bars by Bellissima Minerals on Etsy.

Whether it is the lightest of vanillas, or a rich patchouli, a citrus twist or a floral bouquet, you can find a handcrafted bar of soap to match your personal tastes. Perfume does go “off”, the alcohol it it turns, and you may be wasting your money by spending a fortune on a scent you rarely wear. Using a naturally scented soap will leave a lovely scent on your skin or body, and it will linger in that gentle way that good fragrance should. People that get close may notice it, they may wonder what smells so wonderful and can’t pin it down, and they may begin to associate that scent with you and you alone. Not a scent lover? There are also plenty of unscented all natural bars available too.

Almond Marzipan Poppy Seeds Goats Milk Glycerin Soap, Scrub Peeling Moisture – For Him or Her by Cat’s Little Corner on Etsy.
Creamy Pear Handmade Vegan Soap Large Bar by Crown of Rue on Etsy.
Goat’s Milk Oatmeal and Honey Cold Process Soap with Shea Butter – Sale Benefits the SweetBea Fund by Lake House Soapworks on Etsy.
100& Natural Orange Honey Blossom Soap Bar – 5oz. Organic & Fair Trade by ZABANA ESSENTIALS on Etsy.
Sweet Honeysuckle – Shea Butter Handmade Soap by Loves Lather on Etsy.
Hot Process Apple Sauce Soap – Old Fashioned Sweet Apple Cinnamon Hot Process Soap Super Sudsy by Soap For Your Soul on Etsy.

If you have been scrolling through these amazingly gorgeous photos of some of the most appetizingly sweet bars of soap, you might like to know that not only are these soaps gentle to the environment, but gentle to your body. Some are organic, others are vegan friendly, but whatever your reasons for buying handmade soap might be, never allow the perceived cost to hold you back. Most of these bars are priced around the $5 USD per/bar range, depending on the ingredients and the size of the bar.  It works out to about $1 per oz. of handcrafted soap, there are few artisan goods that are this affordable in price. You can sometimes get bars for much less if you purchase a sampler or multiple bars at a time.  Find a vendor that is located close to you, in the geographic sense, and you will not only save on shipping, but also leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Sandalwood Vanilla Soap – Handmade Cold Process by Inner Earth Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Papaya Handmade Shampoo Bar, Vegan by Sweets N Things on Etsy.
Sweet Pea Goats Milk Soap by Country Soaps By Marlene on Etsy.
Lavender Oat Face & Body Bar (100% Organic Oils.Butters) by StoLat Organics on Etsy
Coffee Soap – Kitchen Soap – Exfoliation Soap – Cold Process by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Canela & Vanilla Cream – Cinnamon – Goat’s Milk Soap by Five Sisters Soap Company on Etsy.

These soaps would make the most welcome of home-warming gifts, and there is nothing better to give a new parent who has their hands on the delicate skin of a new baby all day and night, or to a friend who is under the weather.  These soaps are great gifts for teachers, friends, and the people you love. Everybody needs to wash their hands, this is not just a ‘girl’ thing, men deserve fresh smelling natural soaps too.

Mango Shea Butter Soap by So Stinking Sweet on Etsy.
Orange Cream Cold Press Soap – Warm & Sweet – 100% Natural by Get Clean on Etsy.
Honey Almond (EO) Handmade Soap 4oz. Bar by FB Essentials on Etsy.
Peach – Handmade Cold Process Soap by DECA Candle and Bath on Etsy.
Sweet Lemongrass Scented Organic Cold Process All Natural Soap by Rustico Natural on Etsy.

If you have a fragrance free workplace, and can’t wear perfume, it can be hard to find unscented soaps and shampoo. Many of these artisans offer unscented natural bars that are lovely to look at and use, but so very gentle to the skin with only the scent of the body friendly ingredients left behind. If you knit, sew, or crochet, thing of how often your hands touch those delicate wools and fabrics, wouldn’t you rather have a mild and natural scent on your fingers when you work on something so precious for someone equally precious?

Grapefruit & Marzipan Handmade Soap (One Bar) by Chemical Teatime on Etsy.
Goat Milk Soap “Monkey Bars” Handmade Cold Process (Banana, Strawberry, Kiwi, & More!) by Moeggenborg Sugar Bush on Etsy.
Sugared Almond Exfoliating Handmade Soap by Silver Maple Soaps on Etsy.
Miss Maple – Organic Maple Syrup / Soft Golden Sugar Soap Handmade, Natural – Plus Beautiful Postcard by Soapstar Canada on Etsy.

Sweet Cherry Almond Oatmeal Handmade Soap by Pegasus Soaps on Etsy.

 Treat yourself to a bar of handmade soap today, there is no reason to wait. Pick one that is appealing to the eye as well as the nose, and don’t be afraid to give up the “anti-bacterial” chemical soap.  The only people who need to use harsh chemicals to clean their hands are surgeons and other healthcare workers when they are AT WORK.  Even this nurse will tell you that once I walk into my home after work, the last thing I want to see is yet another bottle of harsh soap.  Give me a bar of gentle soft butter smooth soap that makes me remember I am a person whose hands do more than perform various procedures, give me a scent that makes me smile with pleasure, the simple pleasure that we all deserve to enjoy. Grab yourself a bar or two of lovely handmade soap and be sweet to yourself, your family, and mother earth.

NY Black and White Snickerdoodle All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

All-Natural Sweet Tea And Honey Soap, Two 5 oz. Bars by Bellissima Minerals on Etsy.
Spice Cake – Clove, Cassia & Sweet Orange Cold Process Soap – Handmade Vegan Soap Bar – Spice Soap by Pigeon River Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Pea Cold Process Soap – One 4-5 Ounce Body Bar by Long Leaf Soaps on Etsy.
Yellow Mandarin, Sweet Orange Peel and White Peach – All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.