Make sugar skulls on a clear mild day. Like most candy, humidity will adversely affect them. The icing recipe makes stiff-peak royal icing. Use this recipe to assemble the sugar skulls. Leftover icing can be divided and tinted to decorate the skulls.
6piecesof cardboard large enough to accommodate the skulls
4cups/512 g confectioners’ sugarsifted
1/4-1/2125 to 250 ml cup warm water
1/2teaspoonclear flavoring extract
lemon, orange, almond, clear vanilla
Combine the sugar and meringue powder in a large bowl using your hands. Sprinkle in the water and mix with your hands until the mixture feels like damp sand. Squeeze a bit of the sugar in your hand, if it holds together, your sugar is properly mixed. If it falls apart, then mix again.
Pack sugar mixture firmly into the front and back halves of a plastic skull mold. Scrape the tops level with a straight edge (the cardboard pieces work well for this). Place a piece of cardboard over the mold and flip over. Lay the cardboard and mold on a flat surface and gently remove the mold. Let the skulls dry 5 hours, then *carefully* scoop out the centers of the pieces with a spoon to 1/2 inch thickness. Do not scoop out the chin area. Allow the skulls to completely dry overnight.
Assemble the skull halves with royal icing (recipe follows). Decorate as desired.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, stir the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder on low speed until combined.
Add the water (1/4 cup first and add more as needed) and beat on medium-high speed until very stiff peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the flavoring and beat on low until combined.
Use the icing immediately or drape a damp tea towel over the mixing bowl or bowls to prevent the icing from drying out.
Not all meringue powder is the same. Be sure to read the directions on the back of the meringue powder container for suggested amounts.Royal icing should be used immediately or transferred to airtight containers and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and stir before using.
Keyword granulated sugar, meringue powder, royal icing