Ossa dei Morti – Bones of the dead

Crisp almond flavored cookies made to celebrate All Saints Day. While North America celebrates October 31st, Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, In Italy, November 1st is a Roman Catholic holiday that Italians celebrate. It is called All Saints’ or All Souls Day, and this is a day for remembering your deceased family members. There are many different traditions followed on this special holiday, and each region has their own favorites. Some folks set a place at the table for their departed loved ones, while others will leave the door unlocked to welcome their spirits. Typically, on November 1st, Italians will take flowers to their family member’s graves and say prayers. Although this day may seem to be a sad one, for many people, the graveside visit is an opportunity to thank their ancestors. It is a celebration of their lives and a chance for adults and children alike to remember those loved ones that have passed. In some regions, folks have even been known to enjoy a family picnic at the graveside. The flower of choice to bring to the cemetery are usually a bouquet of chrysanthemums, which are at their colorful peak at this time of year.

Ossa dei Morti, or bones of the dead. These cookies are also called Fave dei Morti, or even All Saints Day cookies. You can find so many variations of these cookies across Italy, with some being quite crisp while others are very soft, but these are our favourite.


  • 200g/1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 150g/2 1/2 Ounces Ground Almonds
  • 300g/1/2 Cup (4 Ounces) All-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt

To serve

  • Powdered Sugar


Preheat oven to 180C/325F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, extract, and egg until blended.

Stir in the almonds, baking powder, flour, and salt, and stir just until combined.

Add mixture onto a lightly floured hard surface and gently knead a minute or two with your hands until smooth.

Divide the dough into three pieces, and roll each into a 1-inch log.

Cut the log into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces, then use your fingers to roll each piece into ropes about 4-inches long and press down a little on each to resemble bones.

Place the cookies 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies just begin to brown and the tops feel set when touched with your finger tips.

Cool completely, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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