Melting Chocolate Skulls start with white chocolate skulls filled with brownies and raspberries. When you pour warm, blood-red ganache on top, the skulls melt to reveal the goodies inside! For this recipe, I used homemade cakey brownies, made with a bit of black cocoa to make them extra-spooky. You can substitute your favorite homemade brownie or cake recipe, or use a box mix to save time.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with foil, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave. Once the butter is melted, stir in the granulated sugar until well-mixed.
Sift the cocoa over the bowl, and add the salt, baking powder, and vanilla, and stir well.
Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition, then whisk in the water. After the water is added, the mixture should look glossy and no longer grainy.
Finally, stir in the flour, stirring until no streak of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Press fresh raspberries into the top of the brownie batter, evenly spaced out, and gently use a spatula to smooth the top of the brownies. You’ll probably only use 20-25 raspberries—reserve the rest for when you’re assembling the dessert.
Bake the pan at 350 F for 25-27 minutes, until the brownies are puffed, pulling away slightly from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely before using. The brownies keep very well, so they can be made several days in advance and kept, well-wrapped in the refrigerator, until you’re ready to assemble the skulls.
TO MAKE THE WHITE CHOCOLATE SKULLS:
Place the white candy coating in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the coating in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating.
Let the melted coating cool until it is no longer warm, but is still fluid. It should thicken a bit as it gets closer to room temperature. This will make it easier to get a good coating on the mold in one layer. When it is the right temperature, pour several generous spoonfuls of white coating into each cavity of a clean, dry 3D skull mold.
Use a clean paintbrush to paint the coating up the sides of the mold. The goal is to the white chocolate layer thick enough to be able to assemble the skulls without cracking, but as thin as possible, so the warm ganache melts it easily. If you have a lot of excess coating in the mold, turn it upside-down and let the excess drip out.
Scrape an offset spatula or knife around the top edges of the mold to remove any excess coating and make a clean line around the edge. Refrigerate the mold to set the coating completely, for about 20 minutes. Once set, gently flex the mold to loosen the skull. If it’s fully set, you should be able to grip the inside of each piece with your fingers and gently pull them out. If you have trouble, don't force it—instead put the mold in the freezer for 1-2 minutes, then try again. Repeat until you have enough piece to make 8 full skulls. Reserve any extra white coating for later.
Cut 8 brownie bars that will easily fit inside the hollow skulls. (Mine were about 1.5” x 3”, but yours might vary depending on your specific mold.) Set the bars aside, and crumble up the remaining brownies to make brownie “dirt.”
Divide the brownie dirt between 8 wide, shallow bowls. (Dessert plates with a high lip will also work.) Add a few fresh raspberries scattered around the dirt.
Place the bottom of a skull on top of the dirt on each plate, and put one of the brownie bars inside each hollow skull. Add fresh raspberries on top.
Re-melt the extra white coating, and place it in a small piping bag or paper cone. Pipe a thin layer of white coating around the edges of the skull, and carefully place the top of the skull on the base. Run your finger along the edge to remove any excess coating and make it smooth.
Combine the red candy coating and cream in a large bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, whisking often to prevent overheating. You want the red “blood” to be completely smooth and fluid, and also hot to the touch—even bubbling a bit around the edges is okay!
Immediately transfer the red ganache to a container with a spout, and pour it on top of a white chocolate skull. Continue to pour as the heat from the ganache melts the white chocolate and causes the skull to disintegrate, revealing the brownies and berries inside. Enjoy while it is warm!
The red ganache can be made hours or even days in advance—just press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top so it doesn’t form a skin. Reheat right before serving, until hot, and then pour as described above.