Ever wondered where all those colorful candy skulls come from? Your questions answered here!
Alfeñique is a sugar confection of Arab and Spanish origin which was introduced into Mexico to replace the Aztec tradition of molding offerings with amaranth (a kind of pseudo grain).
The pieces are made from a paste which consists of powdered sugar, a vegetable adhesive, lemon and stiffly beaten egg white. The damp paste is similar to clay in consistency, allowing the creation of decorative figures either by hand or in molds. Interestingly enough, while the pieces are perfectly edible, they are quite hard and don’t melt easily in the mouth… so they are rarely eaten.
The best-known of these are the sugar skulls for Day of the Dead, which are decorated, often highly so, and traditionally feature the name of someone living, including children, for whom the piece is intended. These skulls are nearly indispensible on Day of the Dead altars in many parts (but not all) of the…
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