The holidays are definitely going to look a little different this year, and that provides the opportunity to have fun with traditions by reinventing them for our current circumstances. One tradition over the holidays that will change for me is the sharing of holiday baked goods.
I usually do a lot of holiday baking, and I enjoy sharing with friends and colleagues, but this year I had to think of something else to share. The idea of eating home-baked goods does not sound like a great idea during a pandemic. But, ya know what is a good idea during a pandemic? Soap.
The only ingredients you need to make this soap are three bars of soap and some water. For best results, get 2 bars of brown soap and 1 bar of black soap. There are other ingredients available at the Dollar Tree that can be used to “spice” up your soap. I used cinnamon, coconut cream, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil. In addition, I sprinkled in some cornmeal.
For this cookie soap, grate two bars of beige soap. I used a bar of oatmeal/almond and a bar of creamy coconut. Add the soap to a pot and barely cover with water.
Over medium heat, bring the soap water to a boil. It takes longer than you might think, so keep stirring! The soap with change in texture as it cooks, from clumpy, to creamy, to pasty. It will be ready for molding when it resembles mashed potato. Allow the soap to cool before stirring in additives.
While the soap is cooking, chop the black soap into tiny pieces that resemble chocolate chips. Alternatively, the black soap can also be grated for a slightly different chip effect (see Mint Chip recipe here). When the soap looks like mashed potato, take off heat and allow to cool slightly.
The Dollar Store has a variety of products that can be added to the cooling soap. I chose to add oils of both coconut and vitamin E for softness. For two bars of soap, I added about a teaspoon of each along with a tablespoon of coconut hand cream. A teaspoon of cinnamon gave the soap a spicy scent and added a brown color to the “cookie.” In addition, I sprinkled in a little cornmeal that will give the soap a texture for gentle exfoliation.
When adding ingredients to the soap, a rule of thumb is to make sure it is a moldable consistency. Not too runny and not too dry.
When everything is stirred together, put your soap into a mold. For this project, I used a cylindrical measuring cup that I found at the Dollar Store. Any plastic or glass vessel will work to mold the soap, so use what you can find on hand. As the mold is filled, pound it on a table to a hard surface to release any air bubbles. I found that if a little soap is added to the mold at one time, and pounded between each addition, there are minimal air bubbles. Allow the soap to cool and solidify overnight.
Unmold the soap and slice; 1/2″ – 1″ The thinner the soap, the shorter the drying time. There is something very satisfying about slicing the soap. Allow the soap to dry for a few weeks before use or gift-giving. As a gift, there are a number of ways to wrap the soap. Paper or drawstring bags work well. In the picture below, I used an old container and a children’s book to make the Santa tin. Find instructions here to make your own gift boxes to package your handmade soap!