A Halloween party & Sugar Skull Biscuits {with egg free royal icing}

Well, Summer is definitely over for another year.

I’ve desperately been trying to hold on to it — refusing to wear proper shoes in favour of my flip flops — but, try as I might, autumn is upon us once more.

The leaves are already beginning to change colour, the air smells fresher and I *might* (OK, I actually did) put the heating on the other night because I was so cold).

So autumn — let’s not dwell on the onset of winter and cherish the here and now.

Let’s think of things about autumn that we do like.

Crunchy leaves that just beg to be jumped in. Tick.

Wearing cosy socks and snuggling on the sofa under an emergency blanket (anyone else have one of those by the way?).

Colourful opaque tights and chunky knits? Lovely.

And Halloween.

Aaah Halloween. Anything that gives a valid excuse for a party is good for me. I’m there with bells on or — in this instance — a witches hat ;)

So to cheer myself up about the passing of summer, I’ve been busying myself and preparing  for a Halloween party. Not 100% sure of the theme yet but I’ve had my head turned by Day Of The Dead themed decorations.

I love that it’s a little bit glam — less gruesome, more pretty — and I’m especially loving the sugar skull designs that seem to be popping up everywhere.

sugar skull inspiration

All of the above available to buy from Party Delights

I’ve found so many fabulous props online (from the same place I got all the boy’s pirate party decorations from)  but to add to the theme — even though it’s a month away— I decided to get my baking hat on and have a go at making some Sugar Skull iced biscuits.

sugar skull biscuits

I found a biscuit recipe courtesy of The Biscuiteers (you can read the original recipe here) — super easy to make and they taste delicious.

How to make spiced Sugar Skull biscuits

You will need:
200g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
50g dark muscovado sugar
100g salted butter softened and diced
50g black treacle

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3 before you begin making your biscuits or when ready to cook. I made 14 skulls — plus a tester biscuit!

Sift the flour, baking powder and all the spices into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix well.

Add the butter. Using just the tips of your fingers, rub the ingredients together until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.

When all the butter is evenly mixed in, make a well in the centre and add the treacle. Bring the mixture together to form a soft dough, combining lightly until it has an even colour with not too many streaks of treacle (I did this bit in the Kitchenaid to avoid handling it). Lightly form into a ball.

Divide into two and squash it into two even-sized flattish discs.

Place one disc of dough on a sheet of baking parchment. Begin by gently squashing the dough down with the rolling pin or your hands, cover with a second sheet of parchment then use the rolling pin to roll properly. If the top sheet crinkles, just peel it off, smooth it down gently and start rolling again. Gently roll the dough until it is 5mm thick all over.

Transfer the sheet of rolled dough, still sandwiched between its parchment, to a baking tray and place in the fridge to chill for at least 20-30 minutes before cutting. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.

Using your cutter — I bought mine from here plus some disposable piping bags for icing — cut out the biscuits as close together as possible, lifting each one on to a parchment-covered baking tray and making sure that they are not too close together, as the dough will spread a little on baking.

Evenly space the trays in the oven and cook for 12-16 minutes, depending on your oven. Keep a close eye on the first couple of batches you cook until you get used to the recipes and your oven*.

This was good advice for me — mine cooked in just 10 minutes in our AGA. In fact, a couple of the edges were a little charred — have already made a note for next time!

As Bertie is allergic to egg, I made royal icing using Aquafaba.

This is basically the water than you get in a can of chickpeas or butterbeans. It has the same consistency as egg white and worked an absolute treat!

biscuits4

How to make egg free Royal Icing

You will need:
8 tbsp of canned legume water (the water drained from a can of butterbeans/chickpeas/cannelloni beans — choose the unsalted variety)

500g of sifted icing sugar

How to make sugar skull biscuits

Beat the water (I used butterbean) with an electric whisk or mixer until it goes frothy.

Then add the icing sugar spoon by spoon, on a high speed until you have the desired consistency.

I added my black food colouring paste at this stage and gave it another good mixing.

How to make sugar skull biscuits

Over the past few years, I’ve watched SO many YouTube videos on how to line and flood iced biscuits but, up until now, have never had a go.

Needless to say, I think all the hours of watching other people may have rubbed off a little bit! I was a bit wobbly — certainly not up to the standard of the amazing YouTubers — but I really, really enjoyed it.

I think I may have found a new favourite hobby ;)

*husband runs away and hides*

How to make sugar skull biscuits

How to make sugar skull biscuits

Following lots of differing advice from the experts, I made my lining icing the consistency of toothpaste. The above icing recipe was perfect for this.

I piped a line around the edge of the biscuit first — then left it to dry for 10 minutes — then to flood the background of the biscuits, I watered the icing down a little, using a couple of teaspoonfuls of the Aquafaba. This made it much easier to work with as it was much looser — almost like the consistency of single cream.

When the backgrounds were dry (leave these overnight if you have time) you can start piping the patterns on the top.

I loved this bit.

Put as many squiggles and patterns on each skull as you dare! I didn’t follow any particular template but have been pinning sugar skulls to my Halloween party Pinterest board like a crazy woman, so most of the inspiration came from there!

Ta-daah! Sugar Skull Biscuits — done.

How to make sugar skull biscuits

How to make sugar skull biscuits

My sugar skull biscuits — or ‘most’ of them (I ate quite a few) ;)

Pin ‘how to make sugar skull biscuits’ for later…

 

pinterest_how_to_make_sugar_skull_cookies

Linking up with the lovely Le Coin De Mel for Free From Fridays

Caro Davies
Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

42 Comments

  1. 2nd October 2016 / 9:12 pm

    They look AMAZING, Caro!! You are so clever. I have no patience for cake or cookie decorating so can you please send me a box??!!

    • 3rd October 2016 / 10:42 am

      Haha!! I’d love to send you some — in fact — I’d LOVE for there to be some left still!! I’ve never seen anything get demolished so quickly :) They should be renamed ‘vanishing biscuits’!!! ;)

  2. 4th October 2016 / 8:04 pm

    These are incredible – so professional looking. I’d better not let the boys see these or they’ll want me to make them. Just brilliant Caro.

    • 21st November 2016 / 4:59 pm

      Thanks so much lovely — although they definitely are easier to do than they look! I found them much easier than I thought they’d be. So therapeutic :)

  3. 5th October 2016 / 9:48 am

    These are fantastic! My girls would love them too x

    • 21st November 2016 / 4:40 pm

      They were very, very VERY popular with all the kids!!! LOL!!! The last lot I made disappeared in about 10 minutes flat!!

  4. 7th October 2016 / 12:24 pm

    Love the skull cookie idea! I just ordered up a black icing pen online so a bit of a cheat but thought I’d do some biscuits with green icing and spiders crawling over the top this year for Halloween… x

    • 16th November 2016 / 3:45 pm

      FAB!!! I love the sound of icing pens!!! Definitely worth buying if they make the job a little easier :)

  5. 12th October 2016 / 6:05 am

    I know on commented on this before but the more I look at these, the more I want to try them. They are brilliant.

    • 16th November 2016 / 3:51 pm

      You’d be FAB at making these!!!!!! You should definitely have a go!!

  6. Jenna Richards
    12th October 2016 / 8:22 am

    These are seriously cool, Caro. I’m totally with you on the sugar skull design – not too scary but also very, very pretty. Biscuit/cake decorating has never been a strong point of mine but I’m tempted to give these a go. You’ve made it look so easy! :) #HomeETC.

    • 21st November 2016 / 4:20 pm

      It was a lot easier than I thought it would be!! All those hours staring at YouTube has obviously rubbed off!! ;)

  7. Amy Le Pelley
    12th October 2016 / 3:34 pm

    Oooh I love these! Day of the dead is everywhere this season isn’t it! I am working on a day of the dead crocheted skull. #homeetc

    • 21st November 2016 / 4:05 pm

      Aaah you clever thing! I WISH I could crochet!!! I keep watching YouTube tutorials — it looks so complicated!!

  8. 12th October 2016 / 4:28 pm

    These biscuits are super cool. I’d love to host a Halloween party, but too much work to still be done on our house. Thanks for hosting #HomeEtc

    Nadia – Scandimummy x

    • 16th November 2016 / 4:20 pm

      Thanks lovely — it was SUCH a fun party!! Definitely will do it all again next year!! :)

  9. 12th October 2016 / 6:41 pm

    Wow! Those biscuits look absolutely fantastic. I wish I had the patience! Absolutely love the gold skull decoration, although I’m not a huge Halloween lover.
    #HomeEtc

  10. Kerry
    12th October 2016 / 7:57 pm

    The look amazing!! Pinned for later xx

  11. flying solo
    13th October 2016 / 12:00 pm

    your making me hungry!! #homeEtc

    • 16th November 2016 / 3:21 pm

      Haha!! I could do with some now — have juts made a cuppa and there’s no biscuits in the house!

  12. 13th October 2016 / 8:59 pm

    These are ace Caro!! I have always wanted to try icing biscuits thus way but I need child free time I think, usually the boys help me bake and any hopes of having heat icing goes out the window. I’m going to keep this pinned for next year, they look SO good and I love sugar skulls at Halloween xxx

    • 16th November 2016 / 3:15 pm

      I’m hooked now!!!!! I’ve watched SO many YouTube tutorials — I’m so excited that it was easier than I’d anticipated too!

  13. From Day Dot
    13th October 2016 / 9:02 pm

    These biscuits look BRILLIANT! You must have such a steady hand, I love the detail they’re almost too good to eat (almost!) I love Autumn, easily my favourite time of year, and if my little arrival doesn’t arrive too late I’m hoping a Halloween themed birthday party can become a bit of a tradition! #HomeEtc xx

  14. 13th October 2016 / 9:20 pm

    Wow these are so cool! I’m not sure I’d have the patience to decorate something that was going to be eaten, but maybe one day! x #HomeEtc

    • 16th November 2016 / 3:17 pm

      Haha!! To be honest, I was cursing when I realised they’d all been eaten in about 10 minutes flat!!! They took MUCH longer to make than eat!!

  15. 16th October 2016 / 3:16 pm

    YUM! They look so amazing, they really caught my eye on Instagram when I saw them. So clever xx

    • 16th November 2016 / 3:19 pm

      I’m obsessed now!! Looking forward to Christmas so I can make more iced cookies!!!

  16. 18th October 2016 / 9:30 am

    Totally with you on tights, blanket and heating. It stills feels a bit like we are being teased with Autumn though doesn’t it! I love that you are so far ahead in your Halloween thinking. I also admire your skill in making those biscuits! They look fab and I’m liking the day of the dead theme. I keep seeing similar in the shops but didn’t realise what they were. A pretty take on things. I’m off the hook for the party this year but we still have fun decorating the house. Thanks for hosting #HomeEtc

    • 6th November 2016 / 8:07 pm

      Agree — it’s been so mild recently!! Also it was blooming FREEZING today!!! I think winter might just have rolled in!! Batten down the hatches!!! ;)

  17. 21st October 2016 / 7:46 pm

    These are fabulous!!! Well done you. And egg free royal icing…that’s brilliant!

    • 25th October 2016 / 6:53 pm

      Thanks so much Vicki! I was so pleased with the icing — such a revelation!

  18. 21st October 2016 / 9:41 pm

    They look fab, you clever thing. Mine wouldn’t look anywhere near as professional, but they might look a whole lot scarier !! :D Thanks for hosting #homeetc

    • 25th October 2016 / 6:52 pm

      Thanks chickie!! I thought they’d be a LOT harder to decorate than they were!! Much easier than I anticipated!

  19. 22nd October 2016 / 8:17 am

    I love these! They look fab and I love the aquafaba icing – such a good idea! x

    • 25th October 2016 / 6:41 pm

      I’m SO excited about the aquafaba!!! What a brilliant alternative for people with egg-allergies! :)

  20. 24th October 2016 / 10:43 pm

    Oh my goodness, those sugar skull biscuits are so cute, Caro! They’re going on my Halloween board on Pinterest right away! I love Aquafaba: the clever people who made it mainstream ti use it as an egg replacer a couple of years ago are geniuses! Thanks for joining in with #FreeFromFridays xx

    • 25th October 2016 / 6:32 pm

      Thanks so much lovely! The aquafaba is a revelation. SO happy to be able to do royal icing without egg, so that Bertie doesn’t have to miss out!! :)

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