Help your kids understand the celebration of Dia de los Muertos with their own creative expression like this Rainbow Pan de Muertos made with Trix.
I don’t speak Spanish, but even before my children were born, I wanted them to be exposed to the Hispanic culture. While I didn’t grow up around the Latin-side of the family, it’s been a journey for me, as much as it is for them, to discover and appreciate what is also part of their history.
A few years ago I was able to take my then five-year-old son to Cabo San Lucas during Dia de los Muertos. The three days spent immersed in the holiday was beautiful for both of us. The illuminated shrines glistened around the marina, candles shining on the loaves of Pan de Muertos, colorful sugar skulls, and the sounds of those individuals kneeling, sharing intimate words to their loved ones that had passed.
A few weeks ago my grandmother died. As my closest confidante since birth, I’ve been devastated, grieving her passing, our memories together, and my childhood – all in front of my children. Needless to say, it’s been hard for them to watch me as I sporadically break into tears at anything that reminds me of her.
So it was a time for a change – a positive one that wasn’t sad, but one that honored her and could give the kids an opportunity to show their love, instead of the miserable experience that funerals give.
Dia de los Muertos was the perfect opportunity for us to not only participate in the timeless tradition, but also a therapeutic one for all of us. So together we spent one afternoon, creating our offering, the traditional Pan de Muerto. I guided them through the recipe, teaching them little lessons about cooking, how to hold the spoon, how ingredients should be added…just like my grandmother and I had done many times. Watching them work together, giggling as they kneaded the dough with their little hands was one of those moments I’ll cherish always.
Of course, always the ones to put their own spin on it, the kids wanted to make their offering something creative, something colorful, something of their own expression.
So our Pan de Muerto mutated into a rainbow version using Trix. Adding the fruity flavor of the cereal to the dough mixture of anise and orange zest even enhanced the flavor of the dough. However, the bread still needed a little more color, so we put Trix in the dough as well as on the outside of the bread, adding rainbow shades and textures to rich, golden brown dough. The aroma of anise and orange filled the house as our creation cooled down, finally showing its final transformation.
While we don’t have a formal altar space and are too far to show grandma what we made, I know that she’s watching all of us as she nibbles the rainbow bread.
What’s your Cereal con Carino? How does your family share time, traditions, or experiences together during breakfast? This four-part video series that began during Hispanic Heritage Month, the first episode features El Guzi and friends sharing a bowl of Cheerios while discussing how they shower their family with love in the morning. This initiative honors those timeless moments that may seem so small, but mean much more to us than we even expect.
Learn more and follow the Cereal con Carino initiative here.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons anise seed
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Trix, grounded
- 1/8 cup Trix, halved to be folded into bread and the other half used to garnish the outside of the dough
- For the glaze
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar.
- Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Set to the side temporarily.
- Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan until melted. Remove from the heat and add warm water (at least 110 degrees.)
- Whisk in the warm mixture slowly into the flour mixture until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour, 14/ cup ground Trix, and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic. Lightly fold in half of whole Trix into dough, working not to crush the cereal.
- Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1-2 hours.
- Punch the dough and shape it into a large round loaf or desired shape.
- Add additional Trix cereal to the outside of the loaf strategically on the outside of the dough.
- Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 -45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, orange juice and orange zest.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes.
- Brush over top of bread while still warm.
- Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.
- If you would prefer a more traditional dough, switch the ground Trix for ground Cinnamon Toast Crunch or regular flour.