At last, here is the final instalment in our cream making series, apologies that it’s over a month late!
Of the three recipes I have shared this one is the most complicated as it requires precise temperatures and the use of not one, but two emulsifiers. Once you have done it a couple of times though it’s fairly straightforward and it is a reliable cream that I have never had any problems with.
This method is taught by Aromantic in their course which I attended a couple of years ago and is very popular amongst herbalists that I have spoken to.
Pros are that it makes a light and professional looking cream with a very good finish. Cons are that it involves processed ingredients like emulsifiers and cetyl alcohol and that it does really need a preservative due to the very high water content. The high water to oil ratio could be a pro or a con depending on what you want to achieve. If your key ingredients are water based, for example a strong infusion or floral water, this would be an ideal recipe to follow but if they are oil based, such as infused calendula or St. John’s Wort, then one of the previous recipes would suit your needs better.
25 ml vegetable oil/ infused oil
4 g cocoa butter
4 g cetyl alcohol
5 g VE emulsifier
140 ml spring water/ herbal infusion/ floral water
4 ml glycerine
9 g MF emulsifier
2 ml Vitamin E
1-2 ml Essential oils
Preservative of choice
VE and MF emulsifiers are both available from Aromantic, see the link above, and are vegetable derived, usually from coconut or palm oil.
I used only Rosemary Antioxidant extract as a preservative which doesn’t protect well against bacteria and fungi so they won’t keep for longer that two or three months. If you require a longer shelf life then a synthetic preservative such as the mysteriously named preservative 12 would be better.
Begin by melting all the fat based ingredients in a bain marie or double boiler. At the same time heat the water/ infusion in a separate pan or double boiler and then add the other water based ingredients, whisking well to ensure the MF powder is completely dissolved in the liquid and no lumps remain. Continue heating until both mixtures have reached between 75 and 80 C.
When both parts are at temperature, turn them off the heat but leave the water part above the bain marie to ensure it remains hot. Pour the oils in a steady stream into the waters whilst whisking gently from side to side. Don’t beat the cream too vigorously or too much air will be introduced. Continue whisking in this way for five minutes to ensure everything is well mixed then remove from above the hot pan to allow for quicker cooling. At this stage I place the container in a pan of cool water to allow it to set quicker and continue gently whisking until it is cooled to below 30 C and nicely thickened.
At this point I stir in the essential oils, vitamin E and preservative and spoon into jars. Keep this cream in the fridge when it’s not being used unless you have added synthetic preservatives.
And that my friends is all there is to it. Happy cream making and a very happy Imbolc to all for tomorrow.