We are officially in my favorite season of the year! The gradual change of the color of the leaves is a process that fills my soul with reverence for life. Because Ecuador lies directly on the Equator, we don’t experience fall season (darn you Equator line!). However, Day of the Dead flavors and traditions always brought the spirit of reverence and introspection to my soul.

Our Day of the Dead festivities in Ecuador are as old as time. It finds its roots in the Inca civilization who had a tremendous devotion to their dead. That spirit of respect and remembrance is felt on the first two days of November when my home country literally shuts downs so families can visit cemeteries and partake of the Day of the Dead traditional food.

While Day of the Dead in Mexico is represented with altars, marigolds, sugar skulls and Catrinas, the Day of the Dead in Ecuador centers on family time and guaguas de pan, sweet breads shaped into babies like figure. The Quechua word “guagua” means baby, and it you see carefully, these traditional breads resemble babies swaddled in a blanket.

I remember how much I loved decorating my guaguas de pan when I was a little girl. I carefully chose the colors and ingredients that I will use to decorate the face of my guagua. It was always with chocolate morsels! Seriously, what can be more delicious than that?

Since Día de Los Muertos is coming up and I am all for keeping traditions alive, I am going to share my easy peasy Guaguas de Pan recipe. This is a recipe that brings family together which it’s awesome because family time is a key component of this time of year as well as remembering through food, drinks, and gatherings.

A cemetery in a little town in the Andes in Ecuador.
Preparing for Day of the Dead

Guaguas de Pan Recipe

What You Need:

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ oz. (7 grams) active dry yeast (1 envelope or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 4oz of unsalted butter
  • Icing and sprinkles.


  1. Mix the yeast over milk. Add 1/2 cup of flour and let the dough rise and fall.
  2. Combine the sugar, eggs, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and flour to the yeast mixture and then add butter.
  3. The consistency needs to be elastic. Let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
  4. Roll out the dough until it is about one inch thick and make shape of a baby to cut out the bread dough figures.
  5. On a baking sheet, place the bread figures and let them rise for about 15 minutes.
  6. Brush the tops of the guaguas de pan with the egg yolks which acts as glue when you decorate.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden.

Now, this is the fun part: Decorate using chocolate Morsels, icing and sprinkles!

My kids look forward to decorate guaguas de pan every fall. I think it’s a great way to celebrate family and traditions during Day of the Dead.


How Do You Celebrate Day of the Dead?


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