Sunday, December 22, 2013

Handmade Christmas: Fizzy Bath Bombs -- UPDATED

I can tell you that after handling the powder, my hands felt silky.

Many recipes include how much prep time and how much cooking time are required. Very few give a "patience" rating. In this case, the patience factor led to an almost fail. It's the one ingredient I couldn't pick up at Bulk Barn.

The Bath Fizzies recipe on Martha Stewart looked so charming and simple, I had to try it.

The ingredients list was a little complicated.
1/2 cup citric acid 
1 cup baking soda 
3/4 cup cornstarch 
1/4 cup organic cane sugar 
About 6 drops food coloring 
10 to 15 drops essential oil(s) 
Special equipment: 2-ounce travel-size spray bottle, plastic pipette, silicone ice-cube tray, storage jars 
The first hitch was the citric acid. The instructions made it sound like a powder. Could I substitute lemon juice? I thought not, so I checked and, sure enough, you can purchase citric acid powder (anhydrous citric acid). 1/2 cup is about $4 at Bulk Barn or you can get it at some wine stores by the kilogram for a lot less. 

However, the wine supply store that we went to doesn't carry it. The salesperson said, "Let me guess: you're making bath bombs?" I guess it's all the rage this year.

I had learned my lesson about the "essential oils" and knew I should make sure that it wouldn't cause my daughters to break out in seeping blisters.

The special equipment intrigued me: where had I left my pipette! It was only when I realized that an eye-dropper would do the trick that I realized I didn't need to improvise. Instead of a silicone ice cube tray, I bought a seasonal candy mold.

Here's all the equipment assembled.
Bicarbonate de soude is baking soda.
The special ingredients: citric acid powder, cane sugar, and rose hip oil
Before I started mixing things, I read the comments on the website (having learned my lesson with the candied almonds). I combined the dry ingredients, first the citric acid, baking soda and corn starch.
I used a whisk to break up all the lumps of baking soda.
Then I added the cane sugar.

Then I started spritzing my water-food dye combination. The comments on the Martha Stewart site made it clear that the mixture would not appear moist when it was ready to clump. If you kept spraying until it was actually wet, it would activate the chemical reaction and the bombs would explode.

So instead of using a spoon or spatula, I used my hands. After a few spritzes with my pink water, I would mix it with my hands, then grab a bunch.

It didn't look even remotely wet.
Before I formed it into cute little trees and wreathes, I decided to test the stuff. I put a tablespoonful in a cup and added a splash of water.
Chemical reaction!
Feeling pretty confident, I started working it into my candy mold.

My plan was to let these set a little bit, then pop them out onto a tray to finish drying overnight. I waited A WHOLE HOUR!

An hour later, they just crumbled as I flexed the silicone. Probably, I hadn't spritzed them enough. Bah! Enough! Instead of bath bombs, my daughters were going to receive fizzy bath POWDER.
Nailed it!
(Note that there was no more citric acid powder to be found in Ottawa, so the containers are half full.)

So although the Fizzy Bath Bombs bombed (haha! I was waiting this entire post to write that!), it was not a total flop. Total cost was about $20 each (mostly because of the containers and the essential oil). Time was about an hour (including time to take pictures).

Clearly, it would have been about A FULL DAY, if I'd followed all the instructions.

Would I do it again? The bath powder, yes. I don't think I have the patience for bath bombs. And I would stock up on the citric acid powder earlier in the season.

UPDATE: Turns out the mixture solidified in the cylindrical container I'd used as packaging. My conclusion: the only way to make this a powder would have been to NOT spritz it with water. Ah well. It can be dug out with a spoon. Not quite as fancy as I'd hoped. :(  

To read more in this series, visit my Handmade Christmas page.

1 comment:

  1. the martha stewart recipe said to wait two hours... not one


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