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Traditional Polish Paczki

Hello Friends,Today I share the traditional Polish Paczki.  Pronounced "Poonch - kee", these delights are often made on Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras which is the day before Ash Wednesday that marks the beginning of the Lenten fast.Soapsmith's Traditional Polish Doughnut Paczki1 1/2 cups warm milk - 110 degrees is ideal for the yeast to bloom2 packages active dry yeast  1/2 cup sugar1/2 cup of room-temperature butter 6 egg yolks room temperature2 tablespoons brandy  1 tablespoon lemon or orange rind1 teaspoon salt4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flourVegetable oil for deep frying. Powder or granulated sugar for dustingOptional fillings - vanill... » Read More

Heart Shaped Soaps

Hello Friends,While just about everything in my studio makes delightful Valentine's Day gifts for your loved one.  My heart shaped soaps are just about perfect for this holiday!  They are also popular as wedding and shower favors.  I can customize them in any color and fragrance.You can find them for purchase here - or just click on the pictures:www.alleghenyhearth.comCinnamon heart soap smells as yummy as it looks:Sweetheart soap assortments remind me of the old fashioned conversation hearts:Midnight Heart, one of my most popular soaps featuring deep aubergine colors and sacred amber fragrance in a art deco style.Sweetheart pink or purpl... » Read More

Soapsmith's Homemade Pierogi

Hello friends, We make these traditional delights without a formal recipe.  I have estimated the amounts to give you a good starting point.  As with most ethnic foods, the recipe is very forgiving.  Feel free to substitute to meet your own tastes.  Makes 4 to 5 dozen. Dough: 4 cups flour – plus extra for rolling 1 teaspoon salt ¼ cup sour cream 2 tablespoons melted butter 6 egg yolks 3/4 cup lukewarm milk or water Combine all ingredients.  You can work the dough with your hands or start... » Read More

Polish Nut Rolls - strucla orzechami

Hello friends, Today's post is my recipe for classic Polish nut rolls.  These have been a family favorite for generations.  You can fill them with a variety of ingredients like apricot or poppy seed but in our family, we always make them with ground walnuts. Here is our family recipe: Soapsmith's Nut Rolls 5 1/2 cups of flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons of sugar 1 1/2 cups of cold butter Mix and blend until crumbly like cornmeal Then add: 1 pkg dry yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water 1 1/4 cup room temperature milk 7 egg yolks Work the dough until smooth, separate into 6 equal parts.  F... » Read More

A Traditional Polish Christmas

  Soapsmith's Christmas Traditions   Wesolych Swiat! Bozego Narodzenia!  is the Polish Merry Christmas greeting.     Among Polish people, one of the most beloved and beautiful of all traditional Christmas gatherings is Christmas Eve.  The Feast of the Evening Star, the Wigilia, is the time honored Christmas Eve Dinner. This solemnly celebrated occasion arouses deep feelings of kinship among friends and family gathered to honor the birth of our Lord.  Christmas Eve is my birthday.  My family gathers at my home for the festivities.        We spend a lot of time preparing the delicious trad... » Read More

Old Fashioned Black Drawing Salve

Click here to purchase the salve Hello friends, Black drawing salve is a traditional old time country product.  I have formulated this item based recipes found in centuries old historical documents combined with Pennsylvania Dutch herbs . The main ingredients are locally harvested Amish bee's wax, olive and jojoba oils infused with traditional herbs along with a little pine tar, activated charcoal, Vit E. and kaolin clay. A classic use is to apply the salve to splinters, the moisture aids the skin and impacts the splinter to aid in easier removal. Comfrey Root is a useful and valuable herb. Traditional her... » Read More

Soap Rock Tutorial

 VIEWS: 121,870My Gem Soaps have been on TV home shopping networks and major retailers like Free People and Urban Outfittersas well as dozens of small shops world wide. Hello friends,... » Read More

Soapsmith's Christmas Cookies

Hello friends, This week is cookie baking week at Soapsmith's.  I gift homemade cookies to many friends, family and co workers each year at Christmas.   This tradition began decades ago.  As a single Mom of 3 boys with limited income, I was blessed by a large group of benefactors who came to my aid that first Christmas until I was able to secure a strong financial status. During the holidays, I wanted to thank those who were so generous. I used to bake cookies for weddings so I have a great spacious kitchen and professional equipment.  I put that to good use returning the favor to my extended family, especially my f... » Read More

Homemade Gourmet Salts and Herbs

Hello friends,My herb garden again provided an abundant harvest bountiful enough to share with family and friends.  Homemade infused sea salts and herb spice mixes makes marvelous holiday gifts that are always appreciated.I dry my herb harvest through out the growing season.  My final picking this year was in November while a light snow was falling.  If you don't grow your own herbs, you can certainly utilize purchased herbs, just be sure you use the finest ingredients.  Your final product is only as good as the individual components.I made herbal bread dipping mixes to use with olive oil, herbs de provence, pink Himalayan sea salt inf... » Read More

Drying Garden Herbs

Hello friends,The Herb Woman(author unknown)She harvests yards and countrysideAnd hangs the dried snippets tiedor braided, their aromas reelingfrom the rafters of her ceiling -Fennel, bergamot and yarrowPlucked to song of thrush or sparrow,Coriander, mustard, squillBay and basil, anise and dill,Catnip, sage and elderflowers.Blessed in potent thunder showers,Witch hazel leaves and cherry barkFrilled with snows of winter's dark.So she listens - gives adviceDispensing freely - herbs and spiceMy herb garden yields an abundant harvest of a wonderful variety of culinary, medicinal and fragrant herbs.  There are many ways to preserve these wonders ... » Read More

Autumnal Splendor

Hello friends,Another autumn slips away but the magnificent beauty of the Allegheny Mountains that surround my home once again shines.  Too splendid for words.Chestnut Ridge pond Glen White and Sawmill Rd Sugar RunCrimson Maple in my garden, even after the leaves are gone, the sunset is beautifulSightseeing flight at Soap ConventionLake Raystown and Seven SpringsLaurel RidgeChimney RocksLocke Mt. from White Bridge FarmSkyline Drive Revel in the wonder of the seasons!  Thanks for visiting.Bonnie... » Read More

Elegant Vanity Dishes and Powder Puffs

Hello friends,I have some newly designed powder puffs and now offer a full line of elegant art glass bowls.  These are the perfect addition to any boudoir dressing table and make classic gifts that are sure to be appreciated.Enjoy!   Click here to purchase:Opulent Powder Dishes and Handmade Wool Powder Puffs by SoapsmithThanks for visiting!Bonnie... » Read More

How to wrap handmade soap

Hello friends, When I teach soapmaking, I am often asked about wrapping handmade soap.  Here is a tutorial on how I wrap my soap. My cold process soaps are simply packaged in cotton muslin bags with a hang tag. The folded business card size tags allow plenty of room for all the ingredients and details required for proper soap labeling as well as giving me space to tell the story of my quality formulated soap.  I cure my soap between two and three months because I prefer the results I get from a long cure time.  Handmade soap continues to lose moisture throughout its shelf life so I like to use cotton muslin because it allows the ... » Read More

Garden Harvest Mason Jars

Hello Friends,The mason jar lunch trend is a favorite of mine, especially for the Summer fruit and garden veggies.  I like to use the jars for refrigerator storage as well.  My container garden is in full production mode with delicious fresh vegetables, herbs  and fruits.I find that storing my fresh produce in the glass mason jars keeps them much nicer than plastic containers.  I like the glass, it cleans so well in the dishwasher so you know you have a sparkling pristine storage solution.  No matter how well you clean the plastic zip lock/tupperware types of containers they seem to have a film.  I find that using the glass co... » Read More

Classic Pressed Garden Flowers

Hello friends,      The pleasures of a tranquil walk in the garden or wild flower meadow can be captured and preserved with a simple flower press.  My spring garden yeilds wonderful specimens that are perfect for pressing.  Pansies, violas and sweet violets are have a natural flat growing pattern that is ideal.      Delicate fern fronds, newly sprouting leaves and grasses provide elegant additions to craft projects utilizing the more colorful blossoms.    I have had much success with the spring blooming bleeding heart and creeping phlox, including the green foilage is a... » Read More

Pennsylvania Sweet Corn

Hello Friends,   Oh yes, fresh Pennsylvania butter and sugar sweet corn, the summer delight is ready for harvest.  There is nothing like this mid summer treat.  Farmers and gardeners set up their roadside stands, selling their wares from the farm trucks. The Amish country side is dotted with farm stands brimming with fresh vegetables. This great antique Massey Ferguson tractor is still a workhorse on Tom's White Bridge Farm. This morning, my son went out to his buddy's farm, Baker's Farm in Hollidaysburg, and picked the corn direct from the field.  You can't get any fresher. Cocoa, our chocolate la... » Read More
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