Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hot Cocoa Swirl Soap


My Hot Cocoa soap
Autumn is almost here. Soon the mercilessly hot days of summer will turn cooler, and the outdoors will once again become a place that I actually want to go to. A crispness will float in the breeze, leaves will change color, and windows will be flung open.

I have always relished that first day after a long, oppressive summer when it is cool enough to open up the house. I can still remember one particular afternoon when I was about ten years old and doing my homework at the kitchen counter next to the open windows, feeling the cool October air on my skin. The wind chimes outside clinked in the breeze. The air felt different, charged. It even smelled different, sweet and slightly spicy. That day sticks with me because the sensations were so rich and intense. It was a perfect autumn day, and I never wanted it to end.

Those are the kind of days that make me want to cozy up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. They signal that the holidays are coming soon with their pumpkin pies, gingerbread cookies, candy canes, and fresh-cut Christmas trees. Even the air carries a cold, clean, energizing scent.

Ah, autumn! I took this photo at Blue Ridge, GA in Oct. 2009
And these are the experiences that now inspire my soapmaking. Every August, I look forward to the end of summer and the beginning of the approaching season. And I start to think about the holidays and what kinds of soaps I want to make for gifts. I try to get going on the holidays by late summer so I have plenty of time to make all of my different soaps and allow them a nice, long cure.

Everyone in my family knows that they are getting a bunch of soap from me for Christmas. Each year, I have some perennial favorites - like Sweet Pumpkin, Gingersnap, and Peppermint - that I usually make. And I also try to work in a couple of new scents to keep things interesting for everyone. This year I'm planning to make a Fresh Snow soap.

And I just made a Hot Cocoa soap. After all, who doesn't love a steaming mug of hot cocoa with a dollop of whipped cream on a cold wintery night?

For the scent, I used Bramble Berry's Hot Cocoa fragrance oil. It smells just like the real thing! The whole house smelled like hot chocolate for days, which is not a bad thing at all.

Here is a video of the making of my Hot Cocoa soap:


This is also the first batch that I made using sodium lactate, which I added to the cooled lye solution at 1% (roughly 1 teaspoon per pound of oils). Sodium lactate is a liquid salt of lactic acid, and it helps harden soap so that it lasts longer. It also is a natural humectant.

To make the soap, I brought my batch to a thin trace and then separated out a little bit of soap into another container. (I poured off about a cup and a half from a batch made with two pounds of oils.) I colored this small portion of soap with titanium dioxide and left it unscented since the fragrance oil discolors dark brown. Then I whisked the fragrance oil into the rest of the soap. (I used .8 ounces of fragrance per pound of oils and the scent was plenty strong.) I didn't bother with coloring the scented portion since the fragrance oil naturally goes brown due to the vanilla.

My pink Hot Cocoa soap. Don't worry, it quickly goes brown!
Here's something interesting - when I whisked the fragrance oil into the soap, it began to darken immediately. I was expecting it to turn brown, but it turned a dusky pink instead! I was a bit worried at first, but by the next day the pink had given way to a caramel-brown color. The day after that, the soap was well on its way to a gorgeous chocolate brown.

I poured a bit of my white soap into my scented soap and gave it a quick stir to make an in-the-pot swirl. I should have made my swirl at a thinner trace, but I nearly plumb forgot to do the swirl at all! I managed the swirl even though my soap was at medium trace, and I ended up with pretty little wisps of white in the chocolate-colored portion.

I texturized the top of the scented layer and then spooned a layer of white on top of it. Then I created some texture on top of the white layer to mimic peaks of whipped cream. I topped the whole thing off with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

I must say that I am very happy with how these soaps turned out! These will make lovely holiday gifts. (And I'll be making more holiday soaps over the next few weeks, too, so stay tuned.)


What types of soaps are you all making or buying for the holiday season? What scents do you like during autumn and winter?

18 comments:

  1. These are awesome Jenny! I've been looking over scents at natures garden to pick out just a few for holiday soaps. I'm loving autumn magic and a few others. I need to start making those soon so they will be ready in time but its all a waiting game right now lol.

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    1. Thanks, Amber! I have heard great things about Nature's Garden, but I have not used any of their FOs yet. I definitely need to check them out, although I may get myself into trouble and go overboard shopping for new scents. ;) Have fun making your holiday soaps!

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  2. Oooooo...looks positively edible! Lovely job, Jenny! :)

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    1. Thank you, Katie! The soaps smell good enough to eat!

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  3. They looked absolutely jummy! Awesome job! I find it very interesting how your soap went from a pink to a very nice chocolate brown. I am struggling with colors at the moment and find it fascinating how they change with the cold process :)
    Happy soaping! - Roxana

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Roxana! It was neat to see the soap go from pink to brown. Colorants sometimes do interesting things in CP soap, too. Soapmaking is an adventure! BB's Hot Cocoa FO behaves beautifully in CP soap, and it smells fantastic. And it discolors to such a wonderful chocolate brown, I didn't even need to color the scented portion! Happy soaping to you, too!

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  4. Your videos are always a pleasure to watch Jenny, and the soap turned out absolutely divine! One of the scents I use every holiday season is Sleigh Ride, it's such a crisp, clean scent. Peppermint, gingerbread and pumpkin are also ones that always seem to make their way into my holidays soaps. Looking forward to seeing more in your series of holiday soaps :)

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    1. Thank you, Cee Gee! I'm glad that you enjoyed the video. I have not tried Sleigh Ride yet, but it sounds wonderful. And it's just not the holidays without peppermint, gingerbread, and pumpkin!

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  5. I love autumn, too, Jer! It is absolutely my most favorite time of the year. Great job on the video and your soap looks fantastic! Can't wait to get my bars at Christmas time!

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    1. Thanks, Mom! We're already getting some cooler weather here. Fingers crossed that maybe summer will end a bit early! And I've got some more Christmas soaps up my sleeve!

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  6. those turned out great Jenny! seriously, if I got a bar of that I probably wouldn't use it lol, looks too good to use! mmm, love hot cocoa. Everyone in my family knows they'll be getting soap from me too for the holidays, but I haven't decided what to do yet. All I know is that there can't be any cinnamon-type scents..believe it or not, nobody in my family likes it!

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    1. Hi, Kalla, and thanks for your comments! I am very happy with how the Hot Cocoa bars turned out, and the FO smells so good! I can't wait to see what soaps you are making for the holidays!

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  7. I wish I could drink up your soap!! It looks great. And I love special days like that, which suddenly pop up and stay with you forever!! :)

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    1. Thank you, Nitya! The soap smells good enough to drink! It's funny how some things stick with you - that perfect autumn day happened nearly 25 years ago, yet I still remember that moment so clearly. :)

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  8. Omgosh, I just realized I never commented on this post! That's so crazy the mauve color you got from the FO! It looks great though, I'll have to add this to my post-FO-purchasing-ban list! ;) That photo of the fall trees is stunning too!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! I was a bit concerned when the soap turned pink, but by the next day it was brown, just like it was supposed to be! I know what you mean about having an FO purchasing ban - I have to use up some FOs before I allow myself to buy more, too. (Something tells me that I will fail to uphold that vow, though.) Thanks, too, for the compliments on the tree photo. My dad spotted those trees when we were driving back from Helen, GA and we stopped to take pictures.

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  9. Mmmm, so delicious, Jenny! Lovely idea for a present!

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    1. Thank you, Natalia! I was super-happy with how these soaps turned out. I think they will make great holiday gifts, too!

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