Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peppermint Patty Lotion Bars

Lately I've been crafting up a variety of soaps and lotions to give as Christmas gifts and I decided to include some solid lotion bars this year. I posted a lotion bar recipe a while ago, but since I wanted to experiment with some new molds I picked up at the thrift store I made up a new and slightly different recipe. Most of the ingredients are the same, just a little simplified with a lighter scent and a firmer texture. This recipe makes a fairly small batch, so go ahead and double or triple it if you have lots of friends with dry winter skin!

If you're trying to craft up some last minute holiday gifts, lotion bars are a great choice: they're easy, don't require many fancy ingredients or tools, and they take less than an hour to make (although they do need several hours to cool down and solidify, but you can work on other projects while that happens).

You will need:

2 ounces beeswax
2 ounces cocoa butter
1 ounce coconut oil
1 ounce avocado oil
20 drops vitamin E oil
15 drops peppermint essential oil

Makes 3 lotions bars (approx. 2 oz each)

1. Using a double boiler (a glass or ceramic bowl over a saucepan of water works just as well) begin melting the beeswax. If your beeswax is in a large piece, chop it into small bits first.

2. Once the beeswax is mostly melted add the cocoa butter and allow it to melt into the wax. Next add the coconut oil, and let it melt down before adding the avocado oil. Stir until all the wax and oils are melted and incorporated. Remove from heat.

3.  Quickly stir in the vitamin E oil and essential oil and blend well. Pour into molds (I used silicon baking trays) and let the bars rest undisturbed for several hours or overnight.

4. When the bars are completely cool and have fully solidified, remove from the molds and enjoy! Store in a tin or wrap in wax paper to give as gifts. I keep one on a vintage teacup saucer on my nightstand to use before I go to sleep, and my hands thank me for it!  To apply, just rub between your hands like a bar of soap, then massage into skin. Your skin might feel a little greasy until the oils are fully absorbed but after a few minutes your hands should feel supple and nourished. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chocolate Vegan Fudge with Peanut Butter Chips

Here's the perfect thing to bring to a Christmas party, solstice celebration, game night, slumber party, holiday potluck at the office, ugly sweater 'n' cocktail get together, murder mystery dinner, or just for a cozy movie night at home. It doesn't really matter why you are making fudge; you don't need an excuse because it's delicious. I came across the basis for this recipe when I was looking for something to bring to Thanksgiving dinner and it sounded like just the thing. I knew that other people were already bringing various pies and crisps, so I thought fudge would be a good (chocolately) addition to the spread. It's great to make for a crowd because it's cut into little bite-sized squares that folks can easily munch on during the evening's festivities, whatever they may be.

1 cup coconut milk (the thick kind from the can, not the "lite" stuff here)
3 cups semisweet vegan chocolate chips
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegan peanut butter chips

Before you begin, line an 8 inch square pan with foil so that it hangs over the edge.

Combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a standing mixer. Set aside.

Heat coconut milk in a saucepan until it just begins to boil. Add the chocolate chips, and stir until smooth. If at any point it starts to boil, turn down the heat or pull the pan away from the burner for a moment. When the chocolate chips have melted, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the chocolate and coconut mixture into the bowl of your standing mixer and beat until everything is combined and smooth. Gently fold in the peanut butter chips.

Pour the fudge into the lined baking pan. Fold over the edges of the foil to cover the fudge completely. Place in the fridge for several hours or overnight before cutting and serving.