I've been craft-obsessed my whole life, experimenting with everything from jewelry and metalsmithing to fiber arts, writing and cooking.
My top inspirations are:
*My grandma (who taught me all about crochet and Chilean cooking)
*Colors and shapes
My beau is also an artist specializing in Dichroic Glass fusing and ceramics. He has had his own sterling silver jewelry business since 1986 and together we've gone on buying trips to Bali, Thailand and Tucson (not to mention other places--travel is a passion of ours). Visit his page here: http://venusianartglass.etsy.com
Between the two of us we've amassed quite a large collection of surplus jewelry making supplies. I'm listing those here: http://malenamaggi.etsy.com
We currently have our own artisan chocolate shop in Berkeley where we hand-make sweets fresh on site. For that, visit http://thexocolatebar.com
For my own jewelry and other crafts, visit http://Malenajewels.etsy.com
Salted Caramel is our most popular flavor (the same is true for most chocolatiers around here) and I've been wanting to make a non-dairy version for a while.
The challenge was that much of caramel's flavor comes from the browning of the cream and butter in it--without those two ingredients it just tastes like burnt sugar.
Most of the recipes I've found for vegan caramel call for substituting soy milk for the dairy, but soy is frowned upon here in Berkeley and it's too nutty tasting anyway.
So in place of cream I used organic coconut milk, and in place of cow butter I used cocoa butter. The result is rich and flavorful, with the smooth chewy texture of a traditional caramel but entirely dairy free! The salt, as always, brings out the subtle flavors of the confection and balances out its sweetness. Finally, a salted caramel everyone can enjoy!