Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Recipes, Sweets

Chocolate-Strawberry-Peanut Butter Calaveras for Día de los Muertos

October 27, 2015
Calaveras or skulls are a traditional symbol of the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. These peanut butter calaveras are like chocolate peanut butter cups!

Here’s a fun little treat for Halloween or Day of the Dead. These chocolate, strawberry, and peanut butter filled skulls will make any goblin or ghoul drool.

Strawberry Calaveras

They look very fancy, but they are pretty simple to make. The most difficult part is finding a miniature sugar skull mold. I got mine from Sueños Imports. It is a 6-skull mold, each mold is about 2-inches long. You may need to adjust this recipe slightly if you are making larger or smaller molds, or if you don’t want to hunt a skull mold down you can make this recipe in mini muffin cups, check out this peanut butter cup recipe for details.

Peanut Butter Calaveras

To add a touch of color and something a bit special I ground freeze-dried strawberries into a hot pink powder. I used these from Trader Joe’s but you can find similar dried strawberries at Whole Food’s or Natural Grocers. I made several versions using varying amounts of strawberries but you can sprinkle as much or as little as you like in the bottom of each mold (a little pinch of salt never hurt anyone either).

Melting chocolate

The strawberries (and salt, if you fancy) get covered with melted bittersweet chocolate. If dark chocolate is not your thing you can use high-quality semisweet or milk chocolate. Scharffen Berger is pretty much milk chocolate heaven.

Filling molds

Gently, so as to not disturb the strawberry powder, push the melted chocolate with a small pastry brush or clean paint brush to cover the bottom and sides of the mold. I used an un-open package of my kid’s Crayola paint brushes with great success.

Painting the molds

Then put the mold in the freezer for a few minutes to harden the chocolate.

Molds ready to fill

Fill the skulls with a mixture of crunchy peanut butter, powdered sugar, crushed graham crackers, and more dried strawberries.

Strawberry Filling

Cover the filling with more melted chocolate and return to the freezer for 20 minutes to harden. Turn the molds upside down and tap out the chocolates. Let sit at room temperature for a bit before serving.

I hope everyone has a fun and spooky Halloween!


Chocolate-Strawberry Peanut Butter Skulls Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The idea for the graham cracker filling came from our Halloween candy experiments over at CHOW (now CHOWHOUND). Skulls will keep at room temperature for one day, but if you are making them far in advance, keep them in the refrigerator until the day you plan on serving them.
Serves: 18 Skulls
  • 12 ounces chocolate (use your favorite kind, bittersweet, semisweet, or milk)
  • 1.2 ounce bag dried strawberries
  • 2 graham crackers
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup chunky peanut butter
  • flaky sea salt
  • Special Equipment
  • small sugar skull mold (I got mine here)
  • small pastry brush or clean paint brush
  1. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Fill a small saucepan halfway with water and place over medium heat. Once water is simmering set bowl over saucepan and melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, pour strawberries into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until they are in fine crumbs.
  3. Crush graham crackers in a sealed plastic bag with a rolling pin. Pour graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and peanut butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the strawberry crumbs and pour the rest into the mixer bowl. Beat peanut butter mixture until crumbly and combined.
  4. Sprinkle a pinch of reserved strawberry crumbs and a pinch of salt into the bottom of each skull mold. Top with 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate. Keep chocolate over the bowl of hot water when not using to keep it melted.
  5. Using the pastry brush, gently spread the chocolate around until it covers the strawberries and salt, trying not to pick any of it up with the brush. After you've covered the strawberries take any remaining chocolate and brush it up the sides of each mold, you might need to use extra chocolate from the bowl. Keep the coating thin, you want a layer that is about 1/16-inch thick. Set in freezer to harden, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from freezer and fill each mold with about 2 teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture. The amount will vary depending on the size of your mold, but you want the skulls to be almost completely full, with a little room left at the top for a thin chocolate layer. Gently press down on the filling to make it firm.
  7. Cover filling with about 1 more teaspoon of chocolate, spreading it to cover filling completely. Smooth out the tops if necessary and freeze until solid, about 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from freezer and flip molds upside down on a clean surface. Tap the mold a couple times on the counter to pop out the skulls. Let sit 10-15 minutes to defrost before serving.

Did you love this recipe? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram! Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me.

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  • Brie@ToasterOvenLvoe October 28, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    These look amazing, I love the crushed dried strawberries they really make the skulls stand out. I am a little worried the filling would never make it to the chocolates…with graham crackers and peanut butter I wouldn’t be able to keep my husband out of the bowl 🙂 Happy Halloween!

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos October 28, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Yes, the filling is kind of addictive, but here’s a secret….this recipe makes more than you’ll need so you can eat some and no one will know the difference. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. 🙂