Bones of the Dead Cookies


Ossi dei Morti Bones of the Dead Cookies.

Ossi dei Morti means bones of the dead in Italian. This might sound a little creepy but I assure you these “bones of the dead” are not. They are actually little crunchy snow capped bites of deliciousness that have a beautiful significance behind them.

Bones of the Dead Cookies

On November 1st and 2nd Italians {and many others} celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Known to some as the Day of the Dead. Instead of being a solemn day, it is instead a day filled with LOVE. A celebration for all of their family members that have passed. A day of honor, a day of tradition and respect. A day to remember. And remember they do. Filling the cemeteries with beautiful flowers and even picnics. You knew there was going to be food involved didn’t you ; )

Ossi dei Morti {or bones of the dead in Italian} are a part of this celebration. They are named not only for the day they are eaten but because of their shape, coloring and texture, which is indeed similar to a bone. A “bone” of the delicious sort that is ; )

Bones of the Dead Cookies

They are biscotti like in that they have a crunchy {powdered sugar dusted} exterior. Making them perfect to dunk into your espresso or even dessert wine {ah, vin santo}. They are filled with almonds, lemon zest, cinnamon and cloves which will almost hypnotize you as those smells waft from the oven.

I simply HAVE to eat one straight out of the oven {I’m weak and impatient LOL} They’re soft and very chewy straight out of the oven but once you’ve tasted their deliciousness and set them aside to cool they magically transform into this crunchy exterior. They get better each day {if you’re lucky enough to have any leftover} and store beautifully in an airtight container or tin.

Today, I’m going to eat ossi dei morti and share stories and pictures of my beloved grandparents {that’s them on the right}.  I miss you Grandma and Grandaddy xoxo!

For more spook-tacular recipes try our Balsamic Roasted Grape and Brick Cheese Crostini!



Bones of the Dead Cookies

Total Time 0:00


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 lemon - zested
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almonds - ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • powdered sugar - to dust


  1. Into the bowl of your stand mixer, add butter and mix until it is creamy. Add sugar, lemon zest, egg white and continue mixing.
  2. Into a separate bowl add: flour, cinnamon, almonds, and cloves. Whisk together. GRADUALLY add in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl until a ball has formed. Add a tablespoon or two of lukewarm water if necessary to help form a ball. Wrap your dough in plastic and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 20 - 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Onto a lightly floured surface, take small portions of the dough and roll into ropes that are approximately the size of your finger. Cut into 2 - 3" sections. Continue until all dough has been rolled and cut. Transfer pieces to a cookie sheet lined lined with a SILPAT or other silicon mat. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and dust lightly with powdered sugar.
  5. Store uneaten cookies in an airtight container.


4.0 rating
1 reviews



  1. 1

    i LOVE that picture…what a beautiful photo to begin sharing memories with your children 🙂

  2. 2

    These cookies look and sound wonderful. I love Italian cookies, they’re always so unique!

  3. 3

    It’s a big day down south for cleaning up and tidying up loved ones grave sites with our Catholic community too! Or at least it used to be, since I think that it’s sort of died down from the event it once was. Those cookies remind me a little bit of my mama’s finger cookies!

  4. 4

    I love the old photo! The cookies are a must try for me…when I do, I will link up to your site. Thank you for that very interesting post!

  5. 5

    These look so amazing – the powdered sugar…the texture looks perfect!

  6. 6

    I will be making these real soon.

  7. 7

    OH YUM. i love ANYTHING w/ powdered sugar dusted on top!

  8. 8

    What a wonderful way to spend the day. I really love how you honor those who are gone and make sure they’re remembered. This recipe looks delicious…thanks for sharing!

  9. 9

    I can honestly see a resemblence between you and your grandmother. I think it’s around the smile and cheeks. 🙂

    The cookies look fantastic. I have a similar receipe using walnuts or pecans but not exactly the same. I make them as snowballs for Christmas as a tradition.

  10. 10

    I tried them during my stay in Toledo, Spain. They call them Huesitos de Santo. I’m glad to have the recipe. Thank you

  11. 11

    I thought they did look quite scary. But thanks for the explanation.. now they seem more delicious

  12. 12

    I’m putting together a list of things that I’d like you to send me. 🙂

    Cabonara is one, this is the other! I love anything that goes well with vin santo [but really, what doesn’t???]

    we really do need to do a foodie trip to italy, don’t we???

  13. 13

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. This will be a fun treat to make.

  14. 14

    Wow! great picture of your grandparents! I do love the day of the dead. Almost every year I hold a day of the dead party at our house and have everyone bring a picture of their honored departed and their favorite food. Then we pass the pictures around and talk about them as we eat. It is always a great celebration. Next year I will make these cookies. Great find! Thank you

  15. 15

    You are always so amazing!! Love keeping up with your recipes.

  16. 16

    A lovely tradition. And a lovely and delicious treat. Thank you for sharing not only the recipe, but your photo of your precious grandparents.

  17. 17

    Che bei ossi! Beautiful photos. Love your nonni. Super recipe to try:)

  18. 18

    The cookies look wonderful, but the photo of your grandparents is truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  19. 19

    Gorgeous photo of your grandparents! So lucky to have photos of them in their youth.
    And beautiful cookies. Definitely would dunk in vino. May have to include some in the shipment to hub’s Sicilian folks in New York.

  20. 20

    WOW These look amazing! I can not wait to make these!

  21. 21

    In Mexico we have something similar.. a sweet treat.. bread of the dead… it is my favourite tradition!..

  22. 22

    Very nice post and beautiful photo’s. But the best part are to biscotti.


  23. 23
    Ashley K /

    I am doing an Italian project for my class. Perfect recipe! It includes all of the different regional spices or ingredients that are changed. I get to make them and bring them to class, but I’m sure a few won’t make it to the cooling plate 🙂

  24. 24

    Awww…I love the photo of your grandparents. The recipe looks delicious and it’s actually one I have never tried before, I can’t wait 😀

  25. 25
    Kathy S /

    Just made these. They are amazingly good. I can’t wait to open the bottle of Vin Santo I have been saving and dip them in the wine. Thanks!

  26. 26
    Adeline /

    How many cookies does this recipe make? I have to make some for school. Thanks!


  1. Tweets that mention New Post} Ossi dei Morti {Bones of the Dead Cookies} -- - [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paula, Joni Wilson Berryman. Joni Wilson Berryman said: RT @bellalimento: {New Post}…

Leave a Reply