Bones of the Dead Cookies, aka Ossi dei Morti Cookies, are Italian almond flavored cookies that are baked to celebrate the Day of the Dead each year, but are also fitting for Halloween. These cookies have a crunchy exterior and soft interior. They’re perfect for dunking in coffee.
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.
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 a day filled with LOVE. A celebration to honor and give respect to all family members that have passed. It’s a beautiful tradition.
What countries eat almond flavored cookies called Bones of the Dead Cookies?
Italians, and many others, celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Known to some as the Day of the Dead.
Why are these cookies called Bones of the Dead Cookies?
Ossi dei Morti, means bones of the dead in Italian. These cookies are named not only for the day they are eaten, but because of their shape, coloring and texture, which is similar to a bone.
The cookies have a crunchy exterior and soft interior. Making them perfect to dunk into coffee or even dessert wine. The Bones of the Dead Cookies are made with almonds, lemon zest, cinnamon and cloves. They smell as amazing as they taste.
Store the Bones of the Dead cookies in an airtight container.
For more spook-tacular recipes try our Balsamic Roasted Grape and Brick Cheese Crostini!
Bones of the Dead Cookies
Bones of the Dead Cookies
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 lemon - zested
- 1 egg white
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- powdered sugar - to dust
- Into the bowl of your stand mixer, add butter and mix until creamy. Add sugar, lemon zest, egg white and continue mixing.
- Into a separate bowl add: flour, cinnamon, almonds, and cloves. Whisk together. GRADUALLY add in 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 wrap and transfer to refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 20 - 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 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.Cut a slit in each end of sections. Use your fingers to shape into a bone. Continue until all dough has been rolled, cut and shaped.
- Transfer pieces to a rimmed baking sheet lined lined with a silicon mat. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and dust lightly with powdered sugar.
- Store cooled, uneaten cookies in an airtight container.
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Heather (Heather's Dish) says
i LOVE that picture…what a beautiful photo to begin sharing memories with your children 🙂
Lynne (MyGourmetConnection) says
These cookies look and sound wonderful. I love Italian cookies, they’re always so unique!
Mary at Deep South Dish says
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!
Tina Marie says
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!
Belinda @zomppa says
These look so amazing – the powdered sugar…the texture looks perfect!
The Food Hunter says
I will be making these real soon.
Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers says
OH YUM. i love ANYTHING w/ powdered sugar dusted on top!
Jane Deere says
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!
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.
I tried them during my stay in Toledo, Spain. They call them Huesitos de Santo. I’m glad to have the recipe. Thank you
penny aka jeroxie says
I thought they did look quite scary. But thanks for the explanation.. now they seem more delicious
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???
Carla Meine says
Thanks for the wonderful recipe. This will be a fun treat to make.
Dana Zia says
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
Vera from Lady and the Blog says
You are always so amazing!! Love keeping up with your recipes.
Lana @ Never Enough Thyme says
A lovely tradition. And a lovely and delicious treat. Thank you for sharing not only the recipe, but your photo of your precious grandparents.
Lora @cakeduchess says
Che bei ossi! Beautiful photos. Love your nonni. Super recipe to try:)
The cookies look wonderful, but the photo of your grandparents is truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox says
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.
WOW These look amazing! I can not wait to make these!
chocolate freckles says
In Mexico we have something similar.. a sweet treat.. bread of the dead… it is my favourite tradition!..
Patricia Turo says
Very nice post and beautiful photo’s. But the best part are to biscotti.
Ashley K says
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 🙂
Tickled Red says
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 😀
Kathy S says
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!
How many cookies does this recipe make? I have to make some for school. Thanks!
I just made these for a Day of the Dead dinner and they were amazing!
I needed more water than was suggested. I just kept adding one more tablespoon until the ball formed properly.
Everyone loved them and one said they reminded her of Christmas cookies. Wel….Christmas is coming!
So glad you enjoyed these Kelly. Thanks for sharing your results.