Yes Christmas is just around the corner. It is time to stop frowning at those bringing it to your attention because it will be here before we know it. At this time of year Christmas is a frightening thought for me as it reminds me how much needs to happen between now and then. It is also the last year my littlest boy will be at home before he starts school. A new phase of his and our lives. The approach of Christmas inevitably leads to the question “where has the year gone?..” I don’t know about you but I rarely want the year to reach the end.
This recipe is my way of leading you gently into the period of giving. Each year we like to make teacher gifts. Last year it was my gorgeous Panforte recipe. We will most certainly be making that again this year, in fact it kind of inspired this recipe. Coffee and chocolate are requirements over the festive period for me and are ingredients in the Panforte. I love using coffee in skincare. The smell is amazing, and provides a nice boost at the start of the day. Coffee also features in this Body Scrub recipe.
If you are planning on making this soap, or another version as a Christmas gift this year you will need to get started in the coming weeks. It takes a little time to cure (harden). The harder the soap, the longer it will last.
Before you begin this recipe you need to read this beginner guide to soap making post I wrote. Soap making with unsuitable equipment and without application of safety precautions is a dangerous activity. It will just take a few minutes to read and note the safety requirements. It is not difficult if you follow the instructions carefully.
To make this soap you will need:
- pliable plastic, stainless steel and wood are suitable containers and mixing implements for making soap ONLY
- two thermometers
- baking paper
- cling wrap and an old towel
- stick blender
- newspaper to cover your work area
This is my recipe for Coffee and Cocao Christmas Soap:
- Stage 1:
- 215 grams cocoa butter
- 50 grams coconut oil
- 35 grams shea butter
- 150 grams almond oil
- Stage 2:
- 65 grams lye
- 175 grams coffee - cooled
- Stage 3:
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons cocao powder
- 40 drops neroli (2.5% in jojoba) essential oil
- 30 drops geranium essential oil
- handful of coffee beans
- **Read the safety instructions in this post prior to beginning this recipe. This is very important as soap making can cause serious injuries if not done safely. **
- Add the ingredients for stage 1 to a bowl that can sit on top of a sauce pan half filled with water without the base of the bowl touching the water
- Line a plastic container/Tupperware with baking paper. This will be the soap mold.
- Line your work area with a plastic sheet or newspaper to protect the surface from any spills.
- Put on your gloves and mask
- Measure your chilled coffee into a high edged tub or bucket (I complete this step outside on the deck) Pour the lye into the coffee (DO NOT pour the water into the lye) Keep your face away from the mixture and avoid breathing in the fumes that will immediately start to be released. The mixture will immediately begin to heat up. Give the mixture a stir to allow the lye to dissolve and leave the container to sit outside
- The water in the saucepan should be coming to a low boil, place the bowl with the stage 1 ingredients on top and stir once in while until the solid ingredients melt. *DO NOT do this step over high heat, it is a gentle heating process.
- Once the ingredients are almost melted remove the bowl from the top of the saucepan and continue to stir until they are fully dissolved.
- Allow the ingredients temperature to drop to 40 or 45 degrees
- Check the temperature of the chilled coffee and lye, at this stage it should also be around 40-45 degrees C
- Slowly pour the caustic and coffee mixture into the melted oils. Use a stick blender to combine. Continue to use the blender until the mixture has thickened and when raised slightly above the mixture can make a line across the mixture that stays sitting on top. If the drizzle of the mixture sinks quickly into the bowl you need to keep going with the blender
- Once the mixture is at the correct thickness add the ingredients of stage 3 and stir well to combine
- Scatter coffee beans evenly in the bottom of the lined plastic container that will hold the soap
- Pour the soap mixture into the lined plastic container on top of the beans
- Set the container aside in a location that will not be disturbed and cover with cling wrap and then with a towel
- After a day a two the soap can turned out and sliced into bars of the desired size
- Allow the sliced soap to cure and dry on a rack. A cake rack is perfect for this.
- Allow to dry for approximately 2-4 weeks. The longer the soap dries the harder it will be and the longer it will last.
If the lye mixture gets on your skin, or the bench it will burn so cover the bench or area you are working in to prevent damage.
***Read this post PRIOR to starting if you are not a regular soap maker.***
Here are some other ideas of things we have previously made for teacher gifts and Christmas presents for friends if you are not up for soap making:
What are you making for teacher gifts this year?
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