03 Oct Making Sugar Skulls – Date Night
Making sugar skulls is a creative & fun date night that will get you chatting about your past, and help you decorate for Halloween. BAM – double fun! It’s also something the whole family can enjoy together.
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the celebration of loved ones who have passed on. The holiday boasts parades and beautiful altars of food, flowers & sugar skulls. Sugar skulls are made in the weeks leading up to the Day of the Dead (Nov 1 & 2). They are given as colorful gifts to the living or placed on altars as offerings for the dead.
As the Day of the Dead popularity continues to spread around the world, more and more people are learning to make sugar skulls and adopting other Dia de los Muertos traditions. We think it makes a great date night, as you can make loads of them in very little time – then save the decorating for the next night. It’s less mess than pumpkin carving, and a great way to connect over loved ones from our past.
These skulls are made with simple ingredients and don’t require any baking or complicated techniques.
How to Make Sugar Skulls
Learn how to make sugar skulls, a popular icon of the Mexican holiday called Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos in Spanish).
Are sugar skulls meant to be eaten?
No, sugar skulls are intended as decorative items only. They’re made from edible ingredients, but even if you didn’t break your teeth trying to eat them, they wouldn’t have much flavor and they’re not sanitary because they tend to get handled a lot. Plus, they’re full of sugar, which simply isn’t healthy!
When combining ingredients to make sugar skulls there is one guiding principle: for every cup of sugar, you should add 1 teaspoon of meringue powder and 1 teaspoon of water. Large skulls require about 2 cups of sugar and medium skulls require 1 cup. Adjust your measurements according to how many skulls you’d like to make.
If you’re making a lot of skulls, you can use 1/2 cup of meringue powder and 7 tablespoons of water for every 10 pounds of sugar.
Step 1: Mixing the Ingredients
Mix together the granulated sugar and the meringue powder, and then add the water. One tsp of water per cup of sugar doesn’t sound like much, but a little goes a long way.
Thoroughly mix everything together (use your hands) for about 5 minutes until each grain of sugar is moistened and the consistency is like beach sand. To test that it’s ready, form a tight clump with your hands and make an indentation with your thumb. If your thumbprint remains and the clump doesn’t fall apart, the mixture is ready. If it’s sticky and clumps very easily, you probably added too much water. It’s not too hard to get the right consistency, but it’s important because if it’s too moist it will stick to the mold, and if it’s too dry the skull will fall apart once the mold is removed.
Step 2: Using the mold
Take the mixture and pack it tightly into the sugar skulls molds. Then use the back of a knife to scrape off any excess sugar.
Firmly hold the carboard or plate over the mold, flip it over, and place it on a flat surface. Now you can carefully remove the mold to reveal your sugar skull.
Step 3: Drying time
It’s now time to air-dry your sugar skulls for 12+ hours.
If you’re not going to scoop your skulls, let the parts dry for 12 hours and they’ll be ready to decorate with royal icing (which will make your skull savable) or you can use store bought icings, which is more perishable & will last for this season.
After 12 hours you can jump straight ahead to decorating your sugar skulls!
We love this quick video from Mom’s LA that demonstrate making skulls & some quick decorating tips: