Red, purple, green, West Roxbury, MA
Red, purple, green, West Roxbury, MA
Butterfly garden, Museum of Science, Boston, MA
Star flowers, MFA Japanese garden, Boston, MA
Bath bombs are fun. They fizz. They smell nice. They are also very easy to make. The internet seems full of complicated recipes for making them. Here is an easy one, with optional additions to make it more exciting. Only requires one unusual ingredient and no special equipment!
Bath Bomb Ingredient Theory: The baking soda and citric acid are the essential ingredients that make up the bath bomb, the acid and base that constitute the chemical reaction. Epsom salt is good for baths in general, and supposedly helps the bath bombs dry faster. The oatmeal is just added because it’s soothing for the skin. Flowers and herbs are completely optional. They can change the scent and appearance of the bath bombs. Suggested flowers are: chamomile, lavender, rose, clover, hibiscus, etc. For herbs and spices, you can add things like: cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, mint, etc. Try your own mixes. Some people also add oils for scent. Again, optional.
Where to Buy Citric Acid: You don’t need to jump through hoops here. Citric acid is available at most Indian and Arabic grocery stores. Natural food stores sell it too. Sometimes it’s labeled “sour salt.” You can buy it cheaper online, or course, but if you just want a small amount, you should be able to find it locally.
Thrifty tip: Do you have any herbal teas at home already that you particularly like the scent of? Open some teabags and use them in your bath bombs. This is good for testing small amounts of different ingredients to see what works well.
*There are two sets of bath bombs pictured in this tutorial. The small round ones at the top of the page contain the following things:
Rose: rose petals, rose oil
Coffee Spice: finely ground coffee, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves
Wildflower Mix: calendula, lavender, rose, clover, jasmine oil
The bath bombs pictured below in the tutorial (shaped like dixie cups,) have the following ingredients: citric acid, baking soda, epsom salt, oatmeal, chamomile tea, roses (sold as loose tea at many Asian markets), Greek mountain tea, orange blossom water
Okay, onto the directions:
1) Mix the dry ingredients together.
2) Add water, in tiny increments. The easiest way to do this is with a spray bottle. You can also just add it in drips, but it’s harder to control the amount. You want to mix constantly with your hands until you have a wet-beach-sand consistency. If the mixture starts to fizz a lot, you are adding too much water, too quickly. The mix should look like this and stick together if you scoop it up in your hand. (see below)
3) Choose your mold. Anything sturdy and moderately flexible can be used. Craft stores sell molds for this kind of thing, but they’re not necessary unless you want to open up a bath bomb factory in your home. Go through your recycling for good plastic shapes. I used half of a plastic egg from a pair of nylons with success. Small paper cups also work. It’s not the fanciest shape, but it works.
4) Pack the mix into the mold firmly. You want to really compact it.
5) Then tip your mold upside down and put it on a flat surface like a tray or plate. Gently tap the mold or flex it a tiny bit, to loosen the bath bomb. If it falls apart, you need to add more water. If it breaks after adding more liquid, fill the mold again and be more delicate when you loosen it.
6)Leave your bath bombs out to dry overnight. They should be hard in 12-24 hours depending on the humidity.
Have fun! Practice makes perfect…
P.S. One more interesting point. If you add too much liquid to your first batch (like I did,) and the bath bombs begin to expand, this is what will happen: They fizz all over the place, and dry as a massive pancake shaped lump, studded with flowers and smelling like roses…This is still use-able! You can break it up and use it in a bath. It just lacks the fancy shape of its more elegant cousins.
The Day of the Dead holiday has always interested me. Here are some pertinent tidbits related to the festival…
Here is a link to my recipe for pan de muertos, the bread of the dead, which is traditionally prepared for the holiday and placed on ofrendas, or offering tables, in honor of deceased loved ones. The bread is delicious, as well as being both fun and easy to make. It can be made with anise-flavored, with the addition of anise seed or anise tea into the dough. The dough is shaped like a pile of bones. The bread is good plain, but it also makes great toast…
I’ve made the bread both with and without anise, and it is good either way. However, the anise is recommended! You can also use te de siete azahares, or seven flower tea, to flavor the dough. The tea contains a mix of valerian, chamomile, linden, lemon balm, different varieties of mint, and passion flower. I have never made it that way, but it sounds very poetic. I’m sure it would be good too.
My early attempts at sugar skulls are here.
Finally, here are this year’s sugar skulls. I think they came out very jaunty looking.
That’s all for now…