Yesterday, I went to my favorite store in Philadelphia, the Eye's Gallery. (Well, in competition with the Architect's bookstore) I went in after a long day seeing my father and driving driving driving. I went in to buy a full skeleton for my altar. I ended up purchasing two skeletons and a milagro of eyes, since St. Lucy is always pictured with her eyes on a platter.
Anyhow, whilst there, I noticed a table filled with the ingredients and tools to make sugar skulls--molds, meringue powder, gel food coloring, even the baker's bags for icing. I bought some food dye and thought I would give it another shot. This time I bought Frida Sugar Skull molds. They are also available on Mexican Sugar Skull.com
You fill them with the mixture. You know it is done because it is like wet sand, and you can press your finger into the mixture and the impression stays.
Then press it into the molds, like it is brown sugar. Pack it down hard.
Then, use a piece of cardboard to back the molds and flip it over.
Your sugar skulls now have to harden for eight hours. Which is why I did these around 6p and waited until morning, and different lighting to make the royal icing and decorate.
I feel like this is a good time to tell you that everything you are making here is edible. It just doesn't taste very good, particularly Royal Icing and red gel food coloring, but technically you can eat it.
Royal icing is very easy to make. It is particularly important to use gel food coloring. That is what ruined my last batch of sugar skulls, the liquid food coloring. So, this is the recipe which makes a shitload of royal icing--one pound of confectioner's sugar and 1/4 cup of meringue. Add 1/3 cup of water. Mix with a hand or standing mixer for about nine minutes, until there are peaks.
I decided I wanted five colors and so I split it up accordingly. Added some gel food coloring, which comes in these little containers. I then put them in ziploc sandwich baggies. Don't fill it too much or it will split. I think cut the smallest little corner. I mean, really small. Almost too small to see. In fact, use a magnifying glass.
My icing baggies are ready, the skulls are lined up. Then you begin the decorating. You can use sequin, little jewels, whatever you choose. The royal icing will dry to cement like hardness. You need to let it dry though. And the food coloring, like all food coloring, dyes everything. My fingers are a technicolor wonder
I loved this project. So much fun. These Frida molds are wonderful with all the flowers and fun you have the liberty to create within its bounds.
Each one is different than the next. I love this one of marigolds.