Another memory: When we lived near Clearwater, FL, my parents and I went to the town's Christmas parade one fiercely cold Saturday morning. We must have looked particularly miserable standing around in the freezing temperature, waiting for the parade to start, because a policeman on a motorcycle stopped and gave us a handful of round Starlight mints, saying that the peppermint would warm us up.
Both of these strong childhood memories have things in common: cold weather, Christmas, and peppermint. Nowadays, Christmas has to include not only ginger cookies but also something peppermint-y. Sometimes I make peppermint bark, peppermint cookies, peppermint cake, or peppermint brownies. I'm happy with any dessert-based medium as long as it includes peppermint.
Don't get me wrong - peppermint is also a perennial favorite. I will love peppermint anytime you put it in front of me, whether it's December or June. Peppermint is warm and soothing in the winter, and brisk and refreshing in the summer. And it's pretty darn good in the spring and autumn, too.
I love desserts and I love soap. And the two intersect quite a lot for me during the holidays. Such is the case with peppermint. No Christmas is complete without peppermint baked goods and peppermint soap.
For my peppermint soap, I wanted to do a variation of the funnel swirl. I thought it would be fun to do the funnel swirl in a round mold, so I tried out my new column mold from Bramble Berry for the first time. This mold comes with a custom liner so that unmolding the soap is a breeze. (I got my inspiration from Bramble Berry's Anne-Marie, who did a twist on the faux funnel pour technique to make her Circle Swirled Soap with the column mold.)
Despite having a malfunctioning noggin, I somehow managed to properly place my funnel over the top of the mold and actually make soap. (I did forget to add my sodium lactate, though, so my soap was a bit sticky. Strike two, brain.) After I made my main batch of soap - scented with Bramble Berry's Peppermint essential oil - I split the batch into three equal portions and colored one portion with brick red oxide, another with Merlot Sparkle mica, and another with titanium dioxide. Then I poured each color for a count of three through the funnel - alternating between red, white, and pink - until the soap was gone.
Here is a video I made of the process:
This pour produces bars with pretty rings of color emanating from the center, almost like a cut tree trunk. I like that no two bars look exactly the same.
Since this is my first go at round soaps, this is also my first time packaging round soaps. My bars are usually rectangular, and I just put a cigar band label around them. Cigar bands don't work so well with round soaps, so I needed to come up with something else. I had heard of soapmakers using coffee filters to wrap their round soaps in, so I gave that a shot. It worked beautifully.
|Using coffee filters to package round soaps|
Wrapping round bars with coffee filters is very easy: Place the soap in the middle of the filter. Pull the edge of the filter close to the bar and fold it toward the center. Keep folding the edges in, working all the way around the soap and keeping the folds taut. Once you get all of the edges folded in, secure the center with a piece of tape and carefully place your label.
I picked up some 2.5" round white labels, which also fit the soaps perfectly. (I've seen the labels in the clear and brown kraft variety, too.) I used two labels per bar, but you may be able to get all of your info on one.
I am very pleased with my Peppermint bars, and I think the packaging is cute. These will make great Christmas gifts!
How many of you are peppermint fans? What sorts of peppermint goodies (soap or otherwise) are you planning on enjoying this holiday season?
Another note: I am publishing this blog post a bit early this time because I am heading out of town for a little while. I'm not sure what kind of internet connection I'll have while I'm gone, so I may be away from Blogland for a few days. I will do my best to respond to all of your lovely comments promptly, but if I am slower than usual checking in, that's why. Thanks so much for reading, and I will pop in as often as I can during the next week and a half!