Mexican traditional Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead), Champurrado and sugar skull candy.

Traditional dishes

From Pan de Muerto to Champurrado: 3 recipes to celebrate Día de Muertos

The multi-day festivity is packed with many traditions, including offering to the deceased their favorite foods and drinks.

Día de Muertos is an annual holiday celebrated on November 1 and November 2 in Mexico and other Latin American countries. In Mexico, the multi-day festivity is packed with many traditions, including offering to the deceased their favorite foods and drinks. Private altars usually have traditional dishes like Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead), Champurrado and sugar skulls cookies, or candy.

If you would like to have a taste of these extraordinary dishes, you are in luck!  Yvette Marquez , second-generation Mexican-American, Emmy-winning producer and writer, award-winning food blogger, and author of Muy Bueno and Latin Twist has been sharing cherished family Mexican recipes. The cook wants to help people to embrace the culture through food, fiestas, and family life.

Find below her easy and delicious recipes to celebrate during Día de Muertos.

Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) by Yvette Marquez from muy bueno cookbook and latin twist.

Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) is a traditional Mexican bread.©Yvette Marquez / Muy Bueno Cookbook
Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) by Yvette Marquez from Muy Bueno Cookbook and Latin Twist.

  Pan de Muerto Ingredients: 
One stick of unsalted butter
½ cup milk
½ cup of water
5 to 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
Two packages of active dry yeast
One teaspoon salt
One tablespoon whole anise seed
½ cup granulated sugar
Two tablespoons orange extract
Zest of one orange
Four eggs
Orange glaze, see below (optional)

Orange Glaze

½ cup granulated sugar
Two tablespoons grated orange zest
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice

Instructions
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm butter, milk, and water; until the butter has melted. Do not let boil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ½ cup of flour, yeast, salt, anise seed, and sugar. Slowly beat in the warm milk, orange extract, and orange zest until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing through. Slowly add in another 1 cup of flour. Continue adding additional flour until the dough is soft but not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for at least 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. If the dough is dry, add some water and if it’s too wet, add some flour. Form the dough into a large ball and cut into four even pieces. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and place three dough balls on it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 1 to 1 ½ hour.

Reserve the fourth dough ball to make bones to place over the loaves. Reserve this dough in the refrigerator to slow down the rising process. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake bread for approximately 25 to 30 minutes. When the bread is done, it should sound “hollow” when thumped. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, orange zest, and orange juice; bring just to a boil, so the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Remove loaf from the oven and brush with the Orange Glaze.

Another option is to melt two tablespoons of butter in a small pot. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle sugar over them. Let the bread cool down and enjoy with a cup of Champurrado or cafecito.

Champurrado (Chocolate Atole) by Yvette Marquez from Muy Bueno Cookbook and Latin Twist.

Traditional Mexican Champurrado (Chocolate Atole)©Yvette Marquez / Muy Bueno Cookbook
Champurrado (Chocolate Atole) by Yvette Marquez from Muy Bueno Cookbook and Latin Twist.

 Traditional Mexican Champurrado Ingredients 
3 cups of water
Two cinnamon sticks
One anise star
¼ cup masa harina
2 cups of milk
½ disk Mexican chocolate, chopped (Abuelita or Ibarra chocolate)
3 ounces piloncillo, chopped or 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Instructions

In a large saucepan, boil water with the two cinnamon sticks and anise star. Remove from the heat, cover, and let the cinnamon sticks and anise star steep for about 1 hour. Remove the cinnamon sticks and anise star, return to low heat and slowly add the masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. Add milk, chocolate, and piloncillo.

Heat over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally. Serve immediately.

Sugar Skulls by Yvette Marquez from Muy Bueno Cookbook and Latin Twist.

Traditional Mexican Sugar Skulls candy©Yvette Marquez / Muy Bueno Cookbook
Sugar Skulls by Yvette Marquez from Muy Bueno Cookbook and Latin Twist.

  Traditional Mexican Sugar Skulls Ingredients 
A skull silicone mold
candy melts
Six frosting colors
Six frosting tips
Six frosting couplers
Six frosting bags
Cake decorations
Candy flowers
Cupcakes, optional

Instructions

Melt the candy melts according to the instructions on the package. Pour into skull mold and allow to dry, according to package instructions. For the frosting, cut a small hole in the empty frosting bag. Drop tip and the ringed coupler inside the bag. Secure the remaining piece of the coupler on the outside of the bag. Carefully fill each bag with the frosting colors.

Carefully remove candy skulls and begin decorating. Apply decorations and adhere flowers with a small drop of frosting. Place your skull atop a frosted cupcake or any other dessert of your choice!

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