Planning a little get together for Dia de los Muertos this year? If so, we have some fantastic ideas for beautiful treats and tasty beverages that will serve double duty as refreshments and decorations at your Dia de los Muertos celebration. Celebrated each year between November 1 and 2, Dia de los Muertos is a Latin American holiday during which both life and death are celebrated.
The holiday—which is most well-known for being celebrated in Mexico, though it is observed throughout LATAM — is a festive time in which people build altars covered in beautiful offerings to loved ones who have died. Calaveras a.k.a. sugar skulls, bright marigold flowers and intricate papel picado are some of the signature elements of the holiday throughout the world. And believe it or not, all of those things can be replicated in some delicious treats that you can serve up to friends and family joining your for the holiday. You can also add these to the ofrenda if they are something a loved one enjoyed.
Calavera Skull Pies
We love the idea of these super-simple calavera skull hand pies to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, it the most recognizable symbol of the holiday. To prepare them, just cut skull shapes out of store-bought or homemade pie dough, add a spoonful of dulce de leche, Nutella, or even pumpkin pie filling on top of one skull side, top with a second skull shape and crimp the edges with a fork. Use a sharp knife to etch in designs and cut a small slit for the mouth (and to release steam) before baking. Place on a baking tray and bake on 350 degrees until golden brown.
Crispy Treat Pops
To make these beautiful crispy treat pops, you can either use packaged, pre-made crispy treats or make a batch of your own and cut them into squares or rectangles. Use paper straws or popsicle sticks for the handles. Then decorate by dipping in white chocolate, drizzling with decorating icing and adding other embellishments. Flowers can be piped on or purchased from a baking supply store – if you can’t find marigolds, go with an orange flower.
This pomegranate paloma from Cazadores Tequila looks like the perfect grown-up libation to add to a Dia de los Muertos spread. Created by mixologist Manny Hinojosa, it includes 1.5 ounces of white tequila, half an ounce of St-Germain liqueur, two ounces of pomegranate juice, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime juice. Just pour everything into a glass over ice. Stir it up and garnish with a wedge of fresh grapefruit. Tasty and that color is so amazing.
Gingerbread Dia de los Muertos Cookies
You can make these gorgeous and super-fun Dia de los Muertos cookies using the recipe from Dulcia Bakery or your favorite gingerbread or sugar cookie recipe (you could even use store-bought dough), and follow the tutorial for decorating tips. Of course, if you’re the crafty type, you can just have fun and create your own awesome designs as well. This is also fun to attempt with your chiquitos, reminding them they don’t have to be perfect so they can have fun with it and get in touch with their culture.
Dia de los Muertos Pretzel Rods
Candy pretzel rods are simple and festive treat to add to any party spread, and we think these Dia de los Muertos are almost too pretty to eat. You can use melted white chocolate to dip the pretzels in or candy melts which can be found at baking supply and craft stores, in any color. Then add embellishments like sprinkles, rock candy, and fondant decorations to your liking. Allow to harden in a cool place.
Pan de Muerto
Pan de Muerto is an essential part of any traditional Dia de los Muertos celebration, and while a lot of Mexican bakeries and delis sell it at this time of year, you can also try your hand at making it from scratch if you enjoy baking. It’s a very simple pan dulce that’s made special because of its irregular, ball shape. This YouTube tutorial from Views on the Road, is easy-to-follow and perfect for those who’ve never made Pan de Muerto before.
Pumpkin Spice Margarita
Yup, that’s a thing! We think this pumpkin spice margarita from Suavecito Tequila looks amazing and would be perfect for Dia de los Muertos. To make it, add one cup of orange juice, one tablespoon of agave nectar, three tablespoons of pumpkin pie mix, one ounce of orange liqueur and two ounces of reposado tequila into a shaker filled with ice. Shake until mixed well and strain into a margarita glass rimmed with cinnamon and sugar.
Pumpkin empanadas would make an awesome finger food for any fall gathering, including a Dia de los Muertos get-together. Empanada dough is filled with a mixture of pumpkin puree, spices and sugar, and then the empanadas are baked at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Check out this YouTube tutorial from Marcy Inspired for full instructions.
Fishbone Kit Kat
These fishbone decorated Kit Kat bars are an awesome semi-homemade treat for Dia de los Muertos. Kids will be especially charmed by these dressed up chocolate bars. All you need is the chocolate, a bit of royal icing and some sugar sprinkles to make this easy and festive treat. Check out the YouTube tutorial by Sugarcoder for all the details.
Flan is a classic dessert for Dia de los Muertos, and it’s one that’s sure to be a hit at any celebration. It’s a delicious, creamy baked custard that is typically prepared with a combination of eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla, that is poured over a homemade caramel/ dulce de leche and baked in a water bath until just set. We suggest garnishing with some brightly colored marigold flowers for a beautiful presentation.