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Making Chocolate Skulls



Sugar Skulls are a traditional folk art from Central and Southern Mexico used to celebrate Day of the Dead.  Mounds of colorful sugar skulls are sold by vendors in the village open air markets during the week preceding Day of the Dead. Increasing numbers of non-traditional colorful candies such as decorated chocolate skulls and other Halloween candies are now competing with the traditional sugar skulls, which are becoming harder and harder to find in Southern Mexico.

Our line of chocolate molds can be made with tempered chocolate, candy coating wafers, melted chocolate chips or hard candy sugar recipes, gummy candy recipes, our traditional granulated sugar skull recipe or even icecubes!
Many of our mold designs were inspired by the famous Mexican woodcut artist, Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852 -1913). We hope you enjoy making these sugar skulls for your family, friends, Day-of-the-Dead parties, wedding showers & receptions.
Bride & Grooms ("novios" in Spanish) are a popular theme for Day-of-the-Dead, as marriage is a big part of the circle of life. Our Novio designs make great chocolate wedding favors. The Lollipops can be made with 2 colors of chocolate candy coating, covered with a cello bag, and tied up with festive ribbons. Novio Bars can be wrapped in bright colors of tin foil and sealed with a custom sticker naming the Bride & Groom and wedding date.
  Making Chocolate candies is a bit more complicated than making the traditional sugar skulls - because if done properly, you must temper the chocolate - a difficult and time consuming task.  We won't give you the instructions here - but simply google "Tempering Chocolate" and you'll find plenty of recipes. 

Tempered Chocolate - is too complicated to explain here! If you're interested in professional chocolate making and using the necessary equipment, please check the internet or buy a chocolate candy recipe book. Add cinnamon, coffee, vanilla, pecans or chili for that special Oaxacan flavor!

Candy Coating Wafers - are an easy to use, microwavable, meltable chocolate that is available at your hobby or cake decorating shop. (Cello bags & sticks too) It uses paraffin to harden the white or dark chocolate discs. Some taste better than others. Do not cut your mold apart. Melt 1-1/4 cups of wafers in a Pyrex bowl in the microwave, stir, and fill the candy mold skull indentations, neatly with a spoon. Knock filled mold on counter to settle chocolate and let air bubbles escape. Place in freezer for 30 minutes, then pop out like ice cubes.

CHOCOLATE CHIPS - Do not cut mold apart. Melt 1-1/4 cups non-tempered chocolate bars or chips (we prefer a yellow bag) in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir with a chopstick or wooden spoon. Heat another 10 seconds if necessary to melt thoroughly. Spoon into skull indentations, neatly. Drop and knock mold on counter top to remove air bubbles. Place in freezer for 30 minutes, then pop out like ice cubes. Non-tempered chocolate skulls are messy, melt easily & develops "bloom" as the cocoa butter surfaces. Very important to refrigerate this kind of chocolate in plastic covered boxes, layered with plastic wrap to reduce exposure to humidity. Serve within 24 hours, directly from refrigerator! Chocolate skull novios look great wrapped in large 6"x6"colored tin foil squares!

  SUGAR SKULL RECIPE: (inedible folk art decorations only)
Just in case someone wants to make the Novios with the sugar skull mix, here's the recipe, but they are much better made in chocolate as the fine detail is hard to decorate. Step-by-Step Instructions and conversion tables are given in our Sugar Skull Making Instruction page.

Mix together well: 1 teaspoon Meringue Powder for every cup of granulated sugar used. Sprinkle sugar mixture with 1 teaspoon water per cup of sugar used. (For example: 4 cups sugar, 4 teaspoons of meringue powder then mix with 4 teaspoons of water.) Mix well with hands until every bit of sugar is moistened (about 5 minutes). If your fingerprints remain when you squeeze the sugar in your hand, it is ready to mold. It should feel like "beach sand." Meringue Powder is a "Must" and cannot be omitted. To mold: Cut the card of skulls apart with scissors, making sure to leave at least a 1" margin around the skulls. Mound sugar into mold and pack mixture FIRMLY into mold. Use a straight edge (or cardboard square) to scrape off the sugar until the back is absolutely flat. Place a stiff cardboard rectangle over mold and invert immediately. Lift mold off carefully. Air dry for approx 8 hours. When completely dry, continue decorating your skulls with colored Royal Icing, sequins, glitter & colored foils. Do not eat sugar skulls decorated with inedible items! Royal Icing (To decorate non-edible skulls)

MIX: 1 pound powdered sugar and 1/4 cup Meringue Powder. Add 1/3 cup water. Beat with an electric/stand mixer until icing peaks (about 9 minutes!). Keep in a tightly covered container. DO NOT REFRIGERATE. Royal icing is a cement type icing. It isn't very tasty, but it is strong, dries pretty and lasts. Use ONLY concentrated paste food colorings (Not liquid food coloring from the grocery store!) Mix icing with paste food color in disposable cups, then fill disposable plastic pastry bags no more than 1/4 full. For decorating mini skulls, make exceptionally tiny snips in the tip of icing bag.