Day-of-the-Dead cookies

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Halloween is closing and your children will expect from you to make a special cake. Here is the perfect recipe that is not complicated to make, but it takes some time in decorating. Everyone knows about Mexican Day of the Dead decorations and making the cookies with these theme is a great fun. The skull is the traditional Day of the Dead motif and it allows you to play with shapes and colours. You can design each cookie in different way, make them interesting and funny to have on the table. The Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican holiday where family and friends gather to remember and celebrate the lives of lost loved ones. The holiday and other similar traditions are celebrated in other cultures around the world, but the tradition in Mexico is said to go back centuries. It is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd with colorful decorations and festivals. One of the most widely recognized is the sugar skull, an elaborately and colorfully decorated skull used for decoration during the holiday.


For the cookies

115 g plain flour, sifted twice

30 g unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

60 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

140 g caster sugar

1 large egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

80 ml sour cream

4 tbsp strong espresso, cooled

For the decoration

white fondant icing

tubes of ready-coloured frosting or icing pens

luster or glitter dust

lemon juice or clear vanilla extract

silver balls

flower sprinkles

edible flowers

haloween cookies


Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a mixing ball.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the sour cream. Then, slowly add the espresso coffee.

Using an ice-cream scoop, spoon the batter into the paper cases, filling them three-quarters full. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the muffin pan for a few minutes, then transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Use one of your chocolate cupcakes as the centre of each skull. Remove the paper case and cut hollows for the eye socket. Roll out some white fondant to a thickness of 5 mm and wrap the cake so it is completely sealed. Use your hand and a ball tool to sculpt a skull shape. The fondant will hold in place – just be careful not to press too hard and tear it.

You can then decorate the skull however you wish. Look at images of other skulls for inspiration, or invent your own designs. Create the main features using tubes of ready-coloured frosting or icing pens. You could also use coloured frosting and a piping bag with a very small tip.

To paint on further details, mix some luster dust in gold and other colours with lemon juice, or clear vanilla extract. The liquid will evaporate, leaving the powder in place.