Sur La Table

Day of the dead, skull decorated cookie

My dad passed away when I was a little girl and I remember that every year on the day of the dead celebration we used to visit my dad at the cemetery very early in the morning  to put a lot of flowers on his tomb, it was always very very busy and the cemetery looked like a very festive place, full of flowers, food and music. 

I can say that I was a little confused to see all that partying going on, when I was just thinking how sad I was that my dad was not there with me, and I used to ask my mom why all those things were going on and she just said they are following a very old tradition of the day of the dead. 

It was until I got older that I really understood the meaning of all the rituals that the day of the dead consist of. 

The day of the dead is a day to remember all the souls of the people that have left this world and are resting in peace; for the indigenous they believe that this day all the dead people come down from heaven and enjoy all the things that they used to love when they were living on the earth, that is the reason that the people adorn the tombs with  flowers, food, wine, and music. All the adornments you see on the big altars had a meaning, like the candles,  they are used to light the way from heaven to earth and so on.... one day I will make a big post about it. 

One of the things that I remember is that we used to go to "La Feria de Todos los Santos", it means, the Carnival of All the Saints".  And we used to go to buy our sugar skull with our name, and a lot of candies, it is really amazing all the things that you can do with sugar!! They make EVERYTHING,  like small plates of enchiladas, pan dulce, tamales, chicken, lambs, etc, etc, out of sugar.  I bet you will love them as much as I do. 

These sugar skulls decorated cookies are inspired on those childhood memories and I am using an embroidery technique with mini mini pearls and a toothpick.

You will need:

*  Foolproof cookie recipe
*  Skull cookie cutter
 Royal icing
*  Americolor in electric orange, fuchsia, white  and black
*   2 Pastry bag, coupler and decorating tip pme #1.5 
*  Mini pearls in different colors
*  Toothpicks


1.-  Prepare your cookie dough, cut out the cookies, bake them and let them cool. 

I also baked at the same time a "Catrina" cookie, a "Catrina" is a Skeleton fancy lady, very popular also for the celebrations of the Day of the dead.

2.- Prepare medium consistency royal icing in electric orange and fuchsia pour them in the pastry bags and put a # 1.5 pme decorating tip.  Prepare also black medium consistency royal icing a set them a side in a seal tight container. 

3.- Prepare white flooding royal icing.

4.- Flood the skulls with white royal icing and let them dry completely. 

5.-  When they are completely dry, using the toothpick technique make the eyes using black icing and let them dry completely.

I made the Catrina putting together the hat and the skirt to a skeleton cookie cutter.

6.-  When the eyes are dry make an outline in the eyes with fuchsia icing and pour out mini sprinkles and shake the excess. 

7.-  With the orange icing make some flowers and add the sprinkles as in the step #6.  You can use  the fuchsia  icing  to make flowers, too.

Use the toothpick to position the sprinkles on the icing. 

This is why I call this technique "Embroidery".

8.-  Using black icing and a toothpick make the little nose and with an edible marker make the mouth and teeth.

You can personalize the cookies with Initials or names. 

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  1. I'm sorry you lost your father at such a young age. I love this Day of the Dead tradition for I believe that our loved ones never truly leave us. Celebrating them in this way is wonderful. Your cookies are really cute and I enjoyed reading about your *embroidery* technique.

  2. I agree with you Paula and all that you wrote....I really feel that my dad is very close to me!! So glad you liked this technique, it is really simple and the results are very pretty!!!


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