Recipe: sugar skull cookies
Release your inner artist and go to town decorating these delicious sugar skull cookies, reminiscent of the authentic Mexican sugar skulls used to celebrate Day of the Dead.
Makes 35 cookies
225g (8oz) butter, at room temperature
110g (4oz) caster sugar
275g (8oz) plain flour
Ground spices, or finely grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
Skull-shaped cookie cutter (we found ours on Etsy for £2.67)
For the background icing
1 egg white
200g (7oz) icing sugar
Food colouring (if you want to change the background colour of the skulls)
For the detailed icing:
The same ingredients as above. Once the mixture is made, divide it into separate bowls and colour with food colouring.
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3.
2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in a food mixer until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy
3. Sift in the flour and spices or grated zest (if using) and bring the mixture together to form a firm dough.
4. Using your hands, roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place them slightly apart on a baking tray (no need to grease or line). Flatten them slightly with the back of a damp fork and bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, or until they are light golden brown and slightly firm on top.
5. Carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
6. To make the royal icing: whisk the egg whites in a bowl until they start to foam, then add the icing sugar a bit at a time, beating on a high speed until the mixture starts to look thick and glossy. Blend in the water to get the desired consistency (the mixture should form soft peaks when the whisk is removed).
7. Once the cookies are cool, flood (ie: completely cover) each biscuit with royal icing. This can be done by either with an icing bag or by squeezing a few dollops icing on top of the cookie and spreading over the surface using a clean, dry paintbrush or the back of a spoon. Leave to dry completely (at least eight hours).
8. Using piping bags and the thinnest nozzles possible, use your imagination and artistic flair to decorate your cookies.(Tip: Don’t press the nozzle against the surface – once your line has begun, lift the nozzle up and away and let the line fall onto the biscuit).