The new animate film, The Book of Life, has roots in one of Mexico's most sacred holiday's - Dia de Los Muertos. On November 1st, family and friends remember those who have passed and create a shrine at their grave site the includes their favorite things. Often, things like food, flowers, cake, freshly baked bread are some of the gifts that are left atop the headstone. Traditional foods like tamales Oaxaqueños (tamales served with a rich and chocolaty mole sauce), calabaza en tacha (pumpkin cooked in a spiced sugar syrup), pan de muerto (bread of the dead), chocolate coffins and skulls, atole (a drinakable masa porridge), and of course the famous sugar skulls are among the plethora of offerings.
Sugar skulls are a type of folk art that reigns from central and southern Mexico. The ornately decorated skulls are made by mixing granulated sugar with water and meringue powder and pressing it into a mold. After the molds have dried, the sugar skulls are embellished with with brightly colored icing and non-edible items like feathers, glitters, foil, and more. The designs are supposed to be whimsical and bright, not morbid or scary. While mostly edible, these sugar skulls are meant to be symbolic.
For those of you craving a sweet treat on Day of the Dead, these sugar skull sugar cookies inspired by The Book of Life are just the ticket. You can either make your own sugar cookie dough or use a box mix - either way, they are going to be delicious. It's important that when you are using royal icing to decorate cookies, that you allow each layer to completely dry before building on top of it. This is especially important for the white base. Have fun and get creative with these sugar skull cookies and even if you do not celebrate the day of the dead, take a moment to reflect on those who have passed.