Traditional Sugar Skulls (& a variation)

A major part of the Dia de los Muertos tradition, All Soul's Day in Mexico, is to make and decorate sugar skulls, Calaveras de Azucar. These sugar skulls are placed on the home altars, or ofrendas, along with candles, marigolds, and favorite foods of the deceased whose pictures are placed there, too. Families also take the flowers and sugar skulls to the cemetery to decorate the tombs of loved ones who have died.
We have been making these for All Souls Day for several years now. The sugar skull molds are from Mexican Sugar Skulls website. You can also find skull shape candy molds in cake/candy section of many craft stores in season. There are several different sizes and styles available.

The sugar mixture is very easy to make - the proportions are 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon meringue powder, 1 teaspoon water. Mix together with fingers until sugar feels like moist sand.

Press firmly into molds. Level excess sugar with knife and invert onto waxed paper.

Let dry completely. They dry pretty quickly here but in more humid climates it will take longer and drying can be aided by being near a heat source or in a warm oven.

Once they are dry they can be decorated with frosting. The mini tubes you can buy make a easy way to decorate with a group. Or in the case of the ones we have done with our local support group last year - glitter, sequins, feathers, and marker can be used. If you use all edible decorations, then the sugar skulls are edible, too.

Sugar Skull Variation:
Using the same molds, you can make a very simple "sugar skull" variation. Using white candy melts (ex: Wilton Candy Melts) or white chocolate chips. Melt chips and pour into molds. Level excess off backs. Place in freezer until firm. Remove from molds. There you have a nice substitute for the traditonal sugar skulls. They can be decorated with frosting or eaten as is.

Edited and reprinted from a previous post on my blog, Our Domestic Church.
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  1. Awesome, Mary. One of these days we will make these. I'm just waiting for the egg allergy to subside.

  2. Jenn, Dollar Store Crafts blog made them with just sugar and water (1 cup sugar to 2 t. water). They will be less hard, so more prone to cracking, but it is an option to avoid the egg/meringue.

  3. We put jello in our molds. The detail in the jello is so neat and it's fun to eat.

  4. Could you add some Kool-Aid mix in for color?
    They look like fun to make and to eat!

  5. Yes, Mimi, you certainly could. You could do food coloring also - just reduce the water by a bit as well.

  6. Thanks! We're going to make them tonight.