I bought a bag of bright red cranberry seeds last year, and found them in the back of my cupboard just in time to make a Cranberry Sauce soap as my second Christmas soap for 2014. These pretty reddish bars are bright and spicy, and feature a sprinkling of pretty cranberry seeds on top.
These bars get their red hue from a blend of red iron oxide and Australian Pink Clay. You can really use any red clay you’ve got, though, or just use more red iron oxide, to get a red hue you’re happy with. I don’t recommend trying any botanical extracts, though, as they’re notorious for shifting to brown or black during saponification.
For essential oils I’ve chosen orange and cinnamon, the two predominant flavours and scents in my homemade cranberry sauce every Christmas. They blend to create a bright, warm and spicy citrus scent that’s wonderfully reminiscent of the holidays.
A sprinkle of cranberry seeds tops the bars and wraps things up. I elected not to mix the seeds into the bars as they are rather viscous looking, and I thought they’d be a bit too scratchy to be pleasant. The resulting bars are a nice, soft shade of red, lather wonderfully, and smell divine. A perfect Christmas gift, if I do say so myself.
Cranberry Sauce Soap
Per 500g (1.1lbs) of oils:
- 1 tbsp white kaolin clay (USA / Canada)
- 1 tsp titanium dioxide
- ½ tsp red iron oxide
- 1 ½ tsp Australian Pink Clay or 1 tsp Australian red reef clay or just use 1½ tsp red iron oxide total
- 15g orange essential oil
- 15g cinnamon bark essential oil
- Cranberry seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
2020 update: Given the irritation potential for cinnamon essential oil, I’d recommend using a cinnamon-y fragrance oil rather than the essential oil. Please refer to supplier documentation for maximum usage rates for the particular fragrance oil you’re using when used in soap/rinse-off products.
Use SoapCalc to calculate your final amounts of oils, lye, and water based on the size of batch you want to make.
Follow my standard soap making instructions. Once you reach a medium trace (like pudding), blend in the clay, titanium dioxide, red iron oxide, Australian clay, and essential oils. Bring the batter back to a medium trace.
Pour the batter into your prepared mould, tapping it on the counter to knock out any air bubbles. Sprinkle the top with cranberry seeds, if using. Lightly insulate your mould and let saponify for 24 hours before slicing.
Let age for 3–4 weeks before using or gifting.