Day of the Dead DIY #5: Sugar Skulls Part I

DoD DIY #5 is the most traditional craft yet: sugar skulls! In this tutorial, we'll be creating the "bare bones" (no pun intended) of sugar skulls.
What you'll need:
-merengue powder
-granulated sugar
-a large bowl
-sugar skull molds (buy them here)
-powdered sugar
-concentrated paste food coloring
-disposable pastry bags (for icing)

What to do:
1. For every cup of sugar, mix in 1 teaspoon of merengue powder and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of water on top.
2. Work the mixture together with your fingers until it feels like "cool beach sand".
3. Fill the molds (for the front and the back) with sugar and flatten the backs by scraping off the excess sugar.
4. Let them dry for a few hours until the top is hard enough to the touch.
5. Scoop out 2 spoonfulls of the center of the round parts of each mold, so they dry thoroughly for a few hours. Flip the molds and cardboard upside down so the sugar skulls drop safely onto the piece of cardboard or thick paper.
6. Let them dry for a few hours until the top is hard enough to the touch.
7. For the royal icing, you'll need powdered sugar, merengue powder, and water. Why icing? to "cement" the two halves together and to decorate!

8. Mix 2/3 cups water, 1/2 cup merengue powder, and 2 pounds powdered sugar with an electric mixer until icing peaks (takes 9 minutes or so). Keep in a tightly covered container and do not refrigerate.
9.  Add 2-3 ounces of icing to pastry bags. Squeeze to cement the two halves of your sugar skull together.
10. Next we decorate our skulls!  Stay tuned for next week's Sugar Skulls Part 2.
Tip: Make sure you create your sugar skulls in a dry area. Sugar skulls hate the humidity (like most San Diegans right now)!

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