Posted by: instanthausfrau | November 1, 2007

Feliz Dia De Los Muertos!

The Mexican celebration of All Saints Day, “Dia De Los Muertos” provides one of the most satisfactory projects you can complete with small children. Not for the faint of heart; it’s crafty, mildly messy, and involves massive amounts of sugar.

The Hausfrau SkullRecipes and directions, sugar skull molds, and other essentials can be purchased from MexicanSugarSkull.com, funnily enough. Don’t let the warnings about damp days disuade you, Seattleites. We made ours on a nice rainy October day, but with less water and a bit of sugar sticking to the mold by skull #3.

Moon's Friend Decorated Nicely.We also broke convention and used regular food coloring for our royal icing. This means pastel colors instead of the vibrant bright colors you see on the authentic versions, but Moon and her friend were quite pleased by the results. We were using the front-side only of the Large Original Skull mold, as our medium molds seem to have vanished into the ether. The larger size was perfect for the 2-3 year old age range when it came time for decorating, though.

Icing was piped on with pastry bags, or spread with a knife. It hardens like a cement, and isn’t much to taste (Not that this stopped Moon. Her skull is the one with lots of icing and no visible features — by the end she was licking it off the knife and forgoing the skull all together). You’ll need at least two days for the project — skull molding one day, overnight to dry, and decorating the next.

I keep swearing that I’ll manage to make the traditional Dead Man’s Bread to go with, but have yet to get my act together enough to make the dough, let it rise overnight, and bake the bread in time for the holiday (I rely on my fabulous book of recipes from Frieda Kahlo’s kitchen for that).

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