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Sugar skulls

Sugar skulls are a traditional folk art from Southern Mexico used to celebrate Day of the Dead. Mounds of colorful sugar skulls are sold by Indian vendors in open air village markets during the week preceding the holiday. Spirits of the dead are welcomed back to their homes with beautifully decorated altars made by their loved ones. Sugar skulls, marigolds, candles, incense and special foods adorn home altars. Families take the flowers and sugar skulls to the cemetery to decorate the tombs on Nov. 2. Sugar skulls are colorfully decorated with icing, pieces of bright foil, colored sugars and usually bear the name of the deceased loved one being honored. They are easy to make by children and adults, and if kept dry, they can last a year.

Mix together well in large bowl: 1 teaspoon meringue powder for every cup of granulated sugar used.

Step 1: Mix dry ingredients well.

Step 2: Sprinkle sugar mixture with 1 teaspoon water per cup of sugar used.

Variation: Colored Skulls. Most people prefer white skulls the first time they make them, but if you’d like colored sugar skulls, add paste food coloring to the water.

For a 5 pound bag of sugar, use 1/4 cup meringue powder and 10 teaspoons of water. Yields 5 large skulls or 20 medium skulls or 100 mini skulls or any combination.