The Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Recipe Fit For The Bathroom

First the recipe. 

I have been using a couple recipes for this for the last couple years.  About 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to a large mug of coffee, about 24 ounces.  It’s added right as the coffee poured into the mug.

A Little Goes A Long Way.

This one will work well, it’s adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, and this is one of the most widely quoted recipes  for Pumpkin Spice that I have found.  I usually either double or half the recipe depending on what I need it for – hence the “adapted”.

To a jar you can seal the top of, add the following spices:

3 Tablespoons Cinnamon

2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger

1 Teaspoon Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon Allspice

1/2 Teaspoon  Ground Cloves.

Stir the spices until mixed, seal jar, use as needed.

Now about that Bathroom I’m blathering on about.

I have used that spice mix in coffee, and dropped a little in some bread once or twice with differing results.

But it also works well for making soap.  In fact, I liked this stuff so much I will use it to make up a batch of soap with it.

I got the idea from my friend Craig in Atlanta.  He likes dark and bold soaps, and challenged me one day.  He suggested I make up a Coffee based soap.  We batted the idea back and forth and I came up with the idea, I think it was me anyway, to make a Pumpkin Spice Coffee Soap.

I was afraid of this stuff.  And I still have to make that only Coffee Scrub Soap.

Everyone said to make the soap outside, lye plus coffee makes some horrible stench that will drive you away.  You always add the lye to the liquid before adding that to the oils in that order.

So I did the math.

It turns out Coffee can be substituted for Water at a 1 to 1 ratio.  I made up a standard soap with a frozen coffee slug as the water, and mixed it out on my front porch.  I added it to the oil mix, and stirred it until trace.

Mixing in the normal 1 Tablespoon to the Pound of soap gave me something that looked like a gritty Brownie in size and shape.  I allowed it to cure for a month, and I had six bars and three testers.

I was shocked when I finally sampled this stuff.

It smelled good.  The Coffee did make the lather look tan to brown, but it smelled spicy and did clean just as well as any other blend without staining the tub.  Using the Pumpkin Spice Mix as a grit was not too abrasive, and there was no burning like I was warned could happen with anything like Cinnamon against “tender” areas of the body.

The bonus was that the scent did not linger after rinsing.

I’ll be making this again later, but this time just the Pumpkin Spice.  Making the Coffee into Ice Cubes takes up time, and I can make up a batch of soap in about a half hour.  It’s a fun little diversion in the middle of the afternoon.

 

In case you’re curious, here’s what it looks like once it’s packed into the molds with the soap recipe to the side.

Mind you, I didn’t have a line of Suburban Soccer Moms waiting in their SUVs this time, because I promised to share the recipe for the spice mix – at the top.

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A Beginner’s Notes On Soap Making

I had one of my frequent writer’s block wanting to write about something else.  This stuff kept floating back into my consciousness and I figured why not let it out.

It’s basic info – meant to help me later, but if you are considering trying this on your own, you will probably find a few details that could make life easier for you.

And this is not exhaustive, I’m most likely leaving a detail here or there out of what I am writing since I am still learning this.

If you have ever gone to a flea market and saw someone with boxes of soap to sell, it’s probably one of three processes to make the stuff.

If you can bake from scratch, anything, I’d wager you can do this.  Just be careful, lye can be dangerous.

Basically Soap Making is one of three processes.

Melt and Pour.  This isn’t what I do.  You go to a arts and crafts store, buy a brick of this clear stuff, melt it down, add scent and color, pour it into a mold, and call it done.  That is all.  It usually has a brilliant color and a pleasant looking result, and it works well enough.  But you’re not really “Making” soap so much as re-batching someone else’s work.

Cold Process Castile Soap.  I’ve done this and got excellent results.  My very first batch was this soap.  You mix your oils together, add them to a cooled down mixture of Lye and water.  Stir constantly until it begins to thicken and moving your spoon through the mix will leave a trace of your path through it.  This is referred to as Trace.  It will still be liquid when you pour this into a mold.  Unmold and slice this tomorrow, and allow it to air dry and cure.  I allowed my soap a month to cure.

Hot Process Castile Soap.  I did this to make a bread loaf sized block of soap that I sliced about four hours later.  You mix your oils up and warm them to the temperature of the Lye and Water mix (140F or so).  Then add them together in a double boiler, and stir until trace begins.  Pour into molds, and allow to firm up before slicing.  This should be ready to use a week later or so.  The heat speeds up things greatly.  If your soap is firming up in the pot, pour into a mold immediately.

Castile Soap is named after the Kingdom of Castile, a precursor to Spain, where it was popularized like other similar soaps.  There were people there that realized you can make soap out of Oilve Oil, Water, and Lye.  This formula came about separately, elsewhere, before the Spaniards got it, but they popularized it in Western Europe.  My second batch was strictly that recipe and, as expected, it did not foam up for me well. It was an excellent cleansing soap.

Yes, I know I am oversimplifying that story.  This is a damn long article.

Recipe.  Look around your house for what oils you have that you want in your soap.  My first batch was all out of date oils.  I fed them into a “Lye Calculator” and it told me what I could do and how much water/lye mix I could add to my oils to make this into soap.  To the fraction of an ounce – or to the gram. Absolutely use the Lye Calculator!  It makes this recipe stuff into Child’s Play.

Then refer to the next link for what properties you want in the soap…

Different oils will change the properties of the soap.  Olive Oil makes for a firm soap but does not foam well at high concentrations (over 50%).  Coconut Oil will aid in foaming.  Shea Butter or Shea Nut Oil will make for a moisturizing soap and you only need about 10% so it goes a long way.

My first soap was a mix of every old oil I had in the house that was past its sell by date.  Olive, Coconut, Corn, Safflower, Shea Nut Oil, and perhaps others.  That “mutt” had less than 50% of Olive oil.  I ended up with a pure white bar of soap that made huge amounts of lather.

Lye.  Lye is caustic.  Nasty stuff.  It can be used as drain cleaner.  ALWAYS wear eye protection while working with lye.  ALWAYS, even you!  Even ME!  Long sleeved shirts and long pants are recommended.  Cover up.

Don’t let this scare you, you should be able to do this.

What you need is 100% Lye Drain Cleaner with zero additives.  It must say 100% Lye or Sodium Hydroxide.  If the package specificially says For Soap Making, that will work well instead of Drain Cleaner.

I paid just under $6 a pound with tax at an old line hardware store.  You can get it cheaper in bulk, however you are using it a few ounces a time per batch and it will degrade if it picks up moisture from the environment.

Work with Lye under a stove hood that vents outdoors, or preferrably work with it outdoors.   The fumes that Lye makes when added to Water are poisonous and will burn.

Yes, do this outdoors if you can.  I did in a well ventilated area.

If you are well prepared, you can use ice instead of water, freezing the correct amount and adding the lye to the ice to counteract the heat the lye will give off.  This will allow you to add the mixture to the oils quicker since the two liquids should be within 20F/11C of each other to minimize risk of any flare up.

Lye Discount or Superfat.  There is a trick to making moisturizing soap.  What you are doing is making a Chemical Reaction called “Saponification“.  The Lye and Water mix will react with the fats in the oils to make soap.  If you follow the recipe you can choose to have a discounted amount of Lye (Lye Discount) or not.  A Lye Discount results in leaving some of the oils unconsumed by the chemical reaction and your skin may appreciate it.  I used a 4% lye discount on my first two batches, but will reduce that in the future.

Fragrances.   Optional.  I used Rosemary essence in mine which was unnecessary but pleasant.  There are different calculations for when you add the essences depending on which of the three kinds of soap you are making.  They are available on the Lye Calculator that I keep referring to. Add after you get Trace.

Other Ingredients.  My second batch I used no water.  Substituting milk for water meant that it would be more of a moisturizing bar since there are proteins, solids, and fat in the milk that would not be saponified.  Glycerin is used in making Melt and Pour soap base.

Preservatives are typically added so that you do not get the “Dreaded Orange Spots” on the bars.  One of the bars from my first batch of Cold Process had some of the Dreaded Orange Spots.  They are mold.  I cut the mold out and used that bar immediately.  This is stopped by adding preservatives to the mix when you go to form your bars or your cake.  I still have to research that for my next soaps.

Supplies.  Your utensils can be silicone, plastic, wood, or stainless steel.  Whatever you use for soap making should be separate from the normal baking supplies because of cross-contamination.  Wood will absorb the soap and the mixes so I personally won’t use it.

Goggles for working with Lye are required.

You will want a stick blender, again at the thrift stores.  I got mine for $8, and ended up saving that new one for later since the older one I had in the house would be sacrificed for soap making.  You can use a stick blender to mix the soap mix until it is ready to trace.  At that point you can pour the soap into the mold.  Making soap will be tough on a stick blender so if it gets too hot, let the thing cool down.

A silicone soap mold that has multiple molds is an excellent suggestion, however if you are making a large “ingot” of soap that will be sliced down later, I found my silicone bread loaf pan will hold 40 ounces of soap and will be used for that on my next large batch.

Line the bottoms of your flat bottomed molds with parchment paper.  Yes, and you will thank me later.   You will also want to tap those molds to let trapped air float upwards  and out of your soap.

Go to a Thrift Store or Dollar Store or Pound Shop for as many supplies as you can get.   I spent $8 and got all my mixing spoons, many molds, and a gallon (4 liter) stock pot for this process.  Buying retail for this process is a bit spendy – take advantage of the thrift stores.

Absolutely you will need an electronic gram scale.  It should do both grams/kilos and ounces/pounds.  Which ever measurements that you are more used to using, do use them.  Smaller batches I have found are best done in grams, larger in ounces.  Round numbers are easier to work with after all.

Curing.   Times will vary due to how hot/humid/drafty the room is that you are curing your soap.  Hot Process soap will cure much faster, and I was able to use my hot process soap in a week.   I allowed my Cold Process soap to cure 5 weeks.  Curing allows the excess water in the soap to evaporate and produce a much more firm bar.  It also mellows the causticity of the soap because the Saponification process does not stop when you pour it out of the pot and into the mold at trace.

An excellent way to test for curing is to segregate one specific bar of soap for this test.  Weigh it In Grams as soon as it is ready to be set in a frame to cure.  Write the weight down.  Repeat this every second day (or so).  When the weight stops dropping, the soap is cured and ready for use.

Sensitive Skin issues.  Here’s the disclaimer.  I am not a doctor, nor do I give medical advice.  This is merely what I have noticed from using this soap exclusively for two months now.

I love this soap.  There’s nothing in this stuff that I didn’t put into it.

Your results may vary since if you have skin problems, you may be allergic to your ingredients, you could have something that irritates the eczema, or you may be lucky like me and have it just about completely clear up any problems you have.  I noticed a week after switching over to the hot process soap (90% olive oil, 10% shea nut oil) that my skin was softer, my hair was softer, my eczema was clearing, and I was even getting a better shave.

Don’t take my word for it, but do go into this intelligently.  If you are allergic to Coconut Oil, do not use it because the allergens may still be there.  You can use a very long list of oils to make this soap.  I did the first time, and the second time was simpler.  Both soaps cleaned the same.  My skin is much better than it was.

So it may work for you, it may not.  Like I said, eczema is a very tricky beast.  I never thought I would find a soap that worked better than Ivory.  My hands do not burn when I handle the homemade soap.

Conclusion. The best suggestion I can give is that if you do try this, make a small batch first.   A bath sized soap bar is between 3 and 5 ounces.  You can scale the batch down to make one single soap bar.  That is about 3 ounces of oil plus water and lye.

Find a Soap Calculator and use it make the calculations and proportions for you and your particular preferences, needs, and mixes of oils.  I could not calculate a soap recipe for the life of me, but I don’t have to.  It’s a matter of fiddling with the numbers until I get what I want.  My first batch was 20 ounces, the second was 45.  You don’t have to do things the same way every time.   I’m sticking with tiny one bar (5 ounce) batches until I find the soap for me.

After all, it really is all about getting what you want.  If you can’t do better than what you find in the market, why bother?  On the other hand, there’s a great feeling of satisfaction of walking down that soap aisle and thinking “Nah, I can do better!”.

Good luck!

What I found with my first try at Soap Making from scratch

To start with

Lye Soap is a misnomer.  The recipe for soap is Water plus Lye makes a liquid that is added to oil.  The chemical reaction is called Saponification.  Saponification converts the Oil (fat) to Soap.  No Lye should remain once the soap is cured.

Water + Lye + Fat = Soap. 

 

First off, no, I am not talking Melt and Pour.  That process is where you buy a big block of soap base, slice it down, melt it in a pot, add colors and scents, and pour into a mold.

May as well buy it at the store.

This is the actual “chemistry” side of things.  If you are good at Chemistry, Baking, Measuring precisely, you probably can do this.

Second, Lye.

There is always a warning about Lye, and a disclaimer.

By using this information, you acknowledge that your are voluntarily agreeing to not hold Ramblingmoose, and all people within free of any responsibilities and liabilities due to damage, injury, loss of bodily function or death.  This is to be interpreted in the broadest possible terms.

Wild huh?  Needs to be.  And it is by no means complete.  Both the disclaimer and these notes.  Do your research.

Lye, in the strengths you will be using, is a highly caustic chemical.  Lye can burn, and the fumes that result from the chemical reactions between Lye and Water, and the mixture of Lye and Water when added to oils and fats can be toxic.

When I mixed my Lye and Water, I used plastic containers, plastic utensils, and did it outdoors.  Some people say that you can do this indoors, I say no.  Mix your Lye by adding Lye to Water, and never the other way around.  Do so slowly and outdoors, even if you have a really great stove hood that is vented outside.  Use plastic or stainless steel to mix Lye.

Never Use Aluminum.

The chemical gasses that are given off are poisonous when you add Lye to Water.

All products are caustic until at least partial curing happens.  Keep White Vinegar nearby to neutralize anything then flush with a lot of water.

On the other hand, you probably can make this.   

Furthermore, Always use 100% Lye.  You can buy Food Grade Lye online for Soap Making and Baking.  Never use the drain cleaner from under the sink – it has probably aluminum in it and you don’t want.  You can use drain cleaner only if it is CLEARLY labeled 100% Lye.

Remember only use 100% Lye.  It comes in granules like grains of sand or flakes.  I found mine at an old school hardware store and it says that it is a drain cleaner.

Third – your choice of oils.

This started because we found a very large bottle of rather high grade olive oil.  It did not smell “off” but it was past the sell by date by a year and a half.

Being thrifty I remembered that Castile Soap was made from Olive Oil, Lye, and Water.

I began to look for videos on Youtube for them and frankly there are so many soap recipes there that I won’t bother including one.  A Three Ingredient Soap Recipe will make a great product.

Olive Oil, Lye, Water = Castile Soap.  You know, the stuff you pay five dollars minimum a bar at a posh market?  How does $.75 a bar sound?  Or less if you are using leftover oils like I am.

But I am writing this to remind myself in a couple months how I did this the first time and how to tweak things at that point.

And soaps cure at different speeds.  While pure Castile soap takes 4 to 6 MONTHS to fully cure, others take 4 to 6 WEEKS to cure.  I am expecting what I made this first time to be “weeks rather than months” and will check in six weeks by using it in the shower.

Then I went to the cupboard and discovered that I had some Cold Pressed Sesame Oil, and some Coconut Oil both of which were out of date.

I bought some Shea Nut Tree Oil for the project since I wanted a softer soap that would help with dry hands, and added that to my selection.

What I am getting at is that if it is a natural oil, it can probably be used to make soap.   Every single oil out there has their own chemical profile.  Some are silky soft like the Shea Butter and Shea Nut Oil.  Others build a firm soap to counteract the softer shea butter – like Coconut Oil.  The chemical profiles will change the way your soap will react with your skin.  If you have sensitive skin, consider adding oils that are commonly used in hand creams like Aloe, Shea Nut, and Jojoba.

Furthermore, all this fiddly stuff is basically an Algebra Equation.  That means that someone has already written a calculator that will tell you how much Water and Lye mixture you shall add to your oils.  You enter in your quantity of oils in ounces or grams, and tell the calculator that you want to have a solid or a liquid soap, and it spits out a recipe.  Easy huh?

My weird Kitchen Castoff Soap was a simple recipe –

7.4 Oz Coconut Oil

6 Oz Sesame Oil

2 Oz Shea Nut Oil

5.08 Oz Water

2.28 Oz Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)

Fragrance Essential Oils would be added, I used 1/2 Ounce or 14 grams of Rosemary Essence Oil.

While this is a “Cold Process Soap Recipe”, technically it is not a “Castile” soap because there is no Olive oil in it.  Won’t matter, I’m looking for something for sensitive skin first time out.

It made for a small batch of five smallish soap bars.  It is curing and will remain curing for six weeks to harden.  After four days, it is noticeably more firm than it was on day 2.

Fourth – Assembling Supplies.

No Aluminum – Ever.

Everything used should be either Plastic or Stainless Steel.

Silicone can be used for molds.

Parchment Paper worked best to line the molds.

Individual soap bars can be made in a loaf in a silicone bread pan, then sliced on day 2 by using a dough cutter that is typically stiff plastic or stainless steel.

Silicone individual soap bar molds are available.

Plastic handled Silicone Tipped Spatula to scrape the soap out of the mixing bowl.

Disposable container to mix Lye into Water (in that order).

Container to mix oils.

Measuring cups – glass or plastic.

Electrically powered stick mixer is pretty much a requirement.

You should take a trip to the kitchen and see what you can “sacrifice” to Soap Making.  You really don’t want your soap supplies to mix with your cooking supplies since you will never get all that residue off of things.  Take a Sharpie or Paint and write “Soap” on these supplies.

No, really, keep things separate.

Then go to the local thrift store, then the dollar store, then perhaps a Kitchen supply house in that order.

Why in that order?

Because of price.  I got my 4 Quart (3.8 Liter) stainless steel Farberware pot for $4, and a Stick Mixer for $6.   Also found silicone spatulas and plastic mixing spoons for $.50 each.  Soap Molds?  They were there for $.25 each.  Measuring Cup was a Dollar.

I made do with some old plastic Cottage Cheese containers for mixing Lye into Water.  It got recycled anyway!

The Thrift Stores are your friend.

The Dollar Stores sometimes also have Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter, but make sure that they are Pure and have nothing else listed in the ingredients.

I got my Lye at an Ace Hardware at 5.38 a pound.  It was clearly listed as 100% Lye, and was sold as Drain Cleaner.

White Vinegar for neutralizing any Lye, or Water/Lye, or Soap mix that gets on your hands.  All products are caustic until at least partial curing happens.

Finally Beauty Supply houses may be helpful.

Of course there is always online.  The Lye Calculator has affiliate links so that they can pay for that wonderful Lye Calculator page that they wrote.

Fifth – How I made my first batch.

I gathered all my gear together in the kitchen.

Measured out my Ice Water – the water should be as cold as possible without any chunks of ice.

I set the water in a plastic cottage cheese container inside my stainless steel mixing pot, then surrounded the cottage cheese container with ice.

The reason for all this cold water is that Lye reacts with water to create Heat, Noxious Poisonous Fumes, and the Water and Lye that you need to add to your oils.  The colder you have the water, the better.  It will become hot to the touch and you need the Water/Lye mix to be close to the same temperature as your Oils when you go to mix your soap.

Mix your Oils – All my oils were liquid.  Knowing that the Water/Lye mix was going to be hot, I heated my oils to 120F or about 50C.  Approximately.  My house is warm enough to keep Virgin Coconut Oil soft or even liquid in the winter months – this is South Florida after all.

I placed the oils in a plastic cottage cheese holding container and set aside.

Weighing out the precise amount of Lye, I walked it outside where I had previously set the ice water.  It was on a table next to my garden hose in case it splashed.  More importantly, a gallon of White Vinegar was sitting next to the table in case of emergency.

White Vinegar will neutralize Lye better than Water.

Getting a plastic teaspoon in one hand, I began to SLOWLY pour the lye into the ice water and stir it as I mixed things.  As it mixed, the water clouded up, and there was a production of gasses.

I continued slowly adding lye to the now warming water in the cup in the middle of the ice bath while stirring and making certain not to breath in the fumes.  Luckily I had a very light breeze that way off the ocean blowing the fumes off.

Once the Water/Lye mix was complete, I left it there to cool.  Removing it from the ice bath when it got roughly room temperature, I dumped out the ice water and dried out my pot thoroughly.

Next, I added the Oils Mixture to the mixing pot.

Adding the Water/Lye mixture to the Oils Mixture is done slowly.  Using the long plastic mixing spoon I had, I poured the lye into the Oils seeing an immediate clouding of the oils signifying the beginning of the Saponification Reaction that converts fats, water and lye into soap.

I was told that I could get the soap to change into a stiff pudding consistency in about 45 minutes max.  That was wrong.  I made the mistake of stirring this by hand for 50 minutes.  I saw a very slight thickening from a watery oil to a semi thick motor oil consistency.

I could have poured this all into molds and stopped however I had more to do.  Liquid Castile Soap made with the right recipe will firm up in a day if placed in the mold in the right conditions.

At this point I added in the one half ounce of Rosemary Essence and stirred this by hand before using the stick blender.   It was still quite liquid.

Then I brought it into the kitchen and mixed it with pulses from the Stick Blender.

It immediately thickened into something that looked like soft peaks in a meringue, or a not completely set pudding.

Next time I make soap, I will stir with the big plastic spoon for “A Couple Minutes” (arbitrary amount of time) then immediately come in and use the stick blender.

There’s a reason why electric tools are made!

Finally I scooped the soap into the molds that were lined with Baker’s Parchment Paper.  One was lined with plastic wrap and a third was unlined.  Stick with the Parchment Paper, it was absolutely the easiest to remove the bars from the molds.

Once removed from the molds, I placed the soap into a large cardboard box to cure.  Covering the soap with a towel helps to keep the curing bars from getting dusty.

Curing takes between 4 and 6 weeks.  It allows the Saponification Reaction to finish converting the fats in the oil and the Lye to Soap.  The longer you allow it to cure the less caustic the soap will be.

Be Patient.  A longer Cure is better than a shorter one.

Now I wait.  Some time around May 2, my soap will be ready to use.

Conclusion.

Watching all those videos put a scare in to me that I am glad I had.  Adding Lye to Water I got a sniff of the fumes they were talking about.  Dilute and a small accidental sniff, it was an evil acrid, smell.

Like I said, add Lye to Water and do so outdoors.

When I de-molded the soap, it left a little on the outside of the mold.  By the time I got around to cleaning the molds, the soap was strong but I was able to get a first “test”.  Not bad.  The Shea Butter helped to leave my hands silky smooth.

Looking forward to May to try this out safely.