The word cocoa has always been associated with the production of one of the most delicious things on this planet which is responsible for making millions and millions of people happy everyday – chocolate! Apart from decadent chocolate, of which there are many types available on the market, cocoa beans are also used in the preparation of other yummy things such as sauces, icing or drinks among others. It is hard to think of cocoa in other terms.
But with the passage of time and the inquisitive nature of man, several other uses of cocoa beans have emerged. One of them is in the use of skin care products! And it’s not just a few – there are several brands and products that are made using the popular cocoa extract – cocoa butter.
Just like it is hard to imagine charcoal being good for the skin, it may be tough for some of you to figure out how cocoa butter can be beneficial to a person’s skin. For those of you who already know it's benefits – we congratulate you on making an excellent choice which will help you look naturally beautiful and glowing for many years to come. But you shouldn’t skip the rest of this book – there are several recipes related to cocoa butter in here that you do not want to miss!
Those of you who are new to cocoa butter, it’s benefits and uses – pay special attention to the following chapters to make the most of this natural gift that beats all those expensive cosmetic products and even expensive surgeries by a long mile!
HOW COCOA BUTTER IS MADE
Also known as Theobroma oil, cocoa butter is in fact an extract from cocoa beans. This light yellow plant extract can be used for a number of skin care as well as nutritional purposes. Its amazing qualities have also proven to be useful in the preparation of certain medicines. In order to obtain the raw, pale yellow cocoa butter, experts first ferment cocoa beans, then roast them, then the pulp is separated from the outer shells of the beans. What is left is separated into two main parts. About 42% of the extract is used in the preparation of chocolate liquor, which is used to prepare edible items such as chocolate bars, candies, and chocolate sauce. The majority of the remaining residue is then further separated into cocoa solids and cocoa butter. As the process by which this further separation is done is known as the Broma Process, the oil so derived is known as Theobroma oil.
If you are interested in knowing exactly what some of the chemical or nutritional components of cocoa butter are, then here if a helpful list for you:
- Stearic, Palmitic, Oleic and Linoleic Acids
- Large quantities of antioxidants
- Vitamins K and E
As you can see, the majority of these components are either beneficial for the skin when used externally or great for the body when ingested. This is why use of cocoa butter is gaining in popularity and has achieved worldwide recognition.
STORING RAW COCOA BUTTER
When it comes to any kind of butter, it is important to note that although they may be strong in terms of nutrient-dense composition, butters are generally delicate in texture and must be stored safely, whether raw or when mixed with other ingredients or products. So now that you have bought a large chunk of raw cocoa butter, here are some useful storage tips for you:
- Regular soaps are easy to store after being used – you just need to ensure that as much water is drained from the bar as possible after use and that you store it in either a sealed container or a soap dish with drainage, such as those featuring wooden slats.
- If you are planning to use only a small portion of cocoa butter at a time, wrap the remaining portion tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight bag, such as a Ziploc bag. Keep it away from sunlight, in a cool and dry place, and that chunk of butter will last you a very long time.
- Try not to break up the whole chunk of butter into smaller bits in one go – use as much as you need by gradually chipping away at the chunk of butter so that the rest of it stays intact. In this way, the chunk won’t disintegrate into crumbled bits every time you need to dip into the bag and it will last longer. If you will be using cocoa butter for cooking purposes, then it is best that you crumble it after you have broken a part away from the bulk rather than trying to break the chunk into smaller pieces right at the beginning.
Using cocoa butter is a delight – whether you are making skin care products or using it in desserts and other food recipes. The finished product will have a sweet aroma that will excite your senses! So let’s now look at some great ways in which you can use cocoa butter.
COCOA BUTTER RECIPES
Before we get started with the recipes, you should know how cocoa butter has been useful so you genuinely are interested and eager to try out all of our listed recipes! So here are some useful facts for you:
- As mentioned earlier, cocoa butter is a great source of antioxidants. So whether you eat it or apply it topically, you can fight aging and look naturally young.
- It has great nourishing properties which makes it useful for even the most sensitive parts of our skin such as lips.
- It helps in the repair of damaged skin cells and promotes the regeneration of healthy ones on a regular basis.
- If you have scars and marks on your body, just smear an adequate amount of cocoa butter on the affected parts and you will gradually see that the marks lighten and ultimately fade.
- The benefit nourishing quality that we talked about is not just limited to the promotion of healthy, glowing skin. Even dead kin cells (read hair strands here!) need a lot of care. Cocoa butter is just the thing to use for damaged hair, colored or not.
Apart from being useful for the body externally, some of the chemicals in cocoa butter are what we find in chocolate, such as dopamine, which trigger the production of happy chemicals in our body. So you see, using cocoa butter in desserts will make you not just happy gastronomically, but actually cheerful in your mind!
Now, let’s have a look at some of the recipes which have cocoa butter in them.
As a Moisturizer
Butter, as we all know it, contains fat in moderate to large quantities. Cocoa butter is no different. Thus, it is extremely useful in the preparation of body moisturizers. What’s more – the quality of fat in cocoa butter is of the stable variety. So that means that the fat will directly melt into your skin evenly, without leaving any unseemly or harmful residues on your skin. So in order to make a cocoa butter laced moisturizer, here is what you need to do.
- Thoroughly clean that part of the body on which you would like to apply the cocoa butter. It is important you do so because you need your skin to absorb just the butter and not any pollutants or other chemicals along with it. It would be beneficial if you gently exfoliate that part of the skin where you would like to apply the moisturizer, but not too much because you will end up with large pores and marks.
- Carefully cut a part of the raw cocoa butter chunk using a clean and sharp knife. Be sure to pack the rest of the butter carefully as described earlier and keep only the cut off part in your hands. This cut off chunk needs to be heated in a clean pan, preferably non-sticky in nature, so that the butter melts.
- The melted butter should still be thick in density butter which drips will be tough to handle and it would take too long for completely liquid cocoa butter to cool down enough to be used on the skin. Let it be slightly viscous. Also, do remember that cocoa butter has a low melting point. That means that it needs medium heat to melt and you don’t have to place is on high flames. Use high flames and you will be left with completely liquefied butter, maybe even burnt a little!
- Carry the carefully melted butter and pour it into a small cup or saucer. If you have any such item that you normally use to make facial masks, packs, or scrubs then be sure to pour the butter into it. Once done, take a little bit of glycerine and any essential oil of your choice, such as tea tree, lavender, or even coconut oil, and add a few drops of it to the butter. Mix them well and then add some of your favorite moisturizer to the mixture. Now, mix all these ingredients together well and then apply the cocoa butter enriched moisturizer to your skin. You could keep the preparation ready and then immediately wash your skin. Moisturizer applied immediately after a wash is most effective as it is absorbed more fully and better by the skin. The moisturizer is retained better in the skin too, as the pores close over it thereafter.
- While choosing your moisturizer, be sure not to choose a very oily one because you are already adding cocoa butter and essential oil drops to it. So choose one that has medium to low amount of oils depending on your skin type.
In a soap
We have all heard of how soap actually causes more harm than good to certain people. Some even go as far as saying that soaps should be completely avoided as they damage skin. You should instead switch to milder body clearing agents such as liquid body washes or bath salts. But not everyone is fond of such things and they prefer feeling well scrubbed after a bath to assure that they have washed away the grime of the day. They’re not too concerned about having soft skin as much as they are concerned about clean skin. But what if you could make a soap of your own that helps you clean your skin and leaves it nourished at the same time? Here is the recipe how you can do so using cocoa butter.
- Clean your skin with water, just like you would when you have a regular bath.
- You should preferably use a soap that has only natural ingredients, such as flowers, barks, leaves and other parts of trees, plant oils, etc. to prepare your cocoa butter soap. This is because that bar of soap needs to be broken into bits. The crumbled bits must be kept in a clean and safe place and ideally, all of it should be used in one go.
- Cut a part of the raw cocoa butter chunk and store the rest safely. The cut off portion should be gently melted and mixed with the rumbled bits of natural soap. Do so when the butter is melted, and not cooled and hardened, because you need to roll the soap and butter together firmly to re-create the bathing soap bar.
- Once you have rolled the soap and butter, with a few drops of essential oil together to make a new soap, use it carefully and do not soak it in water. Do not let it stay in water for too long either as that will cause the hand-rolled soap to disintegrate quickly. Gently rub the soap on your skin to form lather and let it dry completely so that it lasts longer.
In a perfume
This is one recipe where you will have to rely a lot on essential oils apart from cocoa butter. As mentioned earlier, cocoa butter has a gentle and refreshing fragrance that lasts for a really long time. In order to make the perfume, you will need a large quantity of the butter, cut off from the chunk and kept aside. When used with middle and base notes made of essential oils and other natural ingredients, the soft smelling cocoa butter will make you feel energetic for the entire day.
So here are some of the essential oils that you can use:
For base notes:
- Vanilla (1 tbsp)
- Cedar Wood (about 3 drops)
- Vetiver (about 4 drops)
- Ylang ylang (about 3 drops)
- Sandalwood (about 4 drops)
- Frankincense (about 8 drops)
For middle notes:
- Rose (about 6 drops)
- Lavender (about 10 drops)
- Blue chamomile (about 3 drops)
- Germanium (about 8 drops)
For top notes:
- Bergamot (about 5 drops)
- Wild orange or any citric fruit extract (about 3 drops)
- Neroli (about 5 drops)
- Mix all the oils together gently in a clean bottle that you will be using as the perfume bottle. You will need to let this mixture settle in the bottle for a few days before you progress making the perfume. Once the mixture has settled, you will need to add the melted cocoa butter to it and let it settle for a few more days.
- Add about 4 ounces of alcohol to the thoroughly fused mixture in the bottle and stopper it extremely tightly. You will need to ensure that the bottle is completely sealed. No amount of air or water should be able to get past the stopper or cap.
- Once the bottle is well sealed, store in a cool and dark place and let is rest for as long as possible. This is because all the ingredients and the alcohol must mix well together. You can keep it for up to a month and then add a spray to the bottle. Your cocoa butter perfume is now ready to use.
TIME TO MAKE BODY BUTTER
One of the best ways to pamper your skin is to use body butter. As the name suggest, it's going to be rich in nutrients and fat. Its velvety soft texture will be a delight to use and for your skin to be pampered with. Use body butter before you retire to bed, especially if you have dry skin, and wake up with rejuvenated and ultra-soft skin. Although many people use other types of natural butters to make one at home, or in companies, almost everyone agrees that using cocoa butter is the best. This is because, as mentioned earlier, this butter just seeps into the skin effortlessly, thus providing excellent nourishment to the skin. So let's see how body butter can be made right at home.
- You will need one cup of good quality cocoa butter and half cups of coconut oil and sweet almond oils each. In some parts of the world, coconut oil will need to be melted just like cocoa butter must be. So you can melt them both, one after the other. One of the best ways of melting these two ingredients right is using a hot water bath or a similar vessel.
- When you have both ingredients melted just right, you will need to add them together in a clean bowl, add the sweet almond oil and blend them very well. Be sure that the oil and butter make an uneven, seamless mixture.
- Take the well blended mixture and place it in the freezer. Be sure to freeze the mixture just enough so that it's semi-solid and not completely hardened. About 2 minutes in the freezer should do the trick.
- Remove the mixture and use a good grade food whisker or blender in the mixture so that you get a white, soft and fluffy mixture. Once you have whisked the mixture well, take it and put it carefully in a clean glass jar. Seal it well and store it in a dry and cool place. This body butter can easily be used for 2-3 months.
FOR A DELICIOUS COOKIE MEAL
Now that we have seen a few skins products with cocoa butter in them, let's have a look at a dish that you can use cocoa butter in. Needless to say, you should ensure that the bulk that can be used for edible purposes too. The following recipe is simple, takes about an hour at the most to be followed and the resultant cookie tastes great with maple syrup or coffee, fried bacon strips and jelly beans! These are just suggestions so feel free to mix n’ match the cookie with other dishes of your choice.
- 200g brown sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 175g of softened cocoa butter
- 1 large beaten egg
- 2 drops of maple extract
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 250g regular flour
To prepare the cookie glaze, you will need the following:
Some Demerara sugar, cocoa powder, one large beaten egg, and cinnamon powder.
- Take a large clean bowl and mix the butter and both sugars well. You will need to whisk it so that the mixture is soft and fluffy. To this mixture, add the beaten egg and maple syrup and mix well again.
- Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder to the mixture and knead them all together to make even dough. Roll the dough into one centimeter thick dough and put it in a baking tray. You can make the dough in any shape you like, according to your baking tray.
- On the dough, brush the other beaten egg, then add the glazing sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powders. Let the cookie bake for about half hour at 180 degrees Celsius. You can pre-heat the oven and keep the tray ready to be used, lined with silicon paper.
- Remove the cookie and place it on a cooling tray. Once cooled, serve as per your preference.