Ossa dei morti cookies

November first is a catholic holiday in Italy. We celebrate All Saints’ Day. Schools and businesses are closed, and usually an excuse to spend a long weekend home (not this year – it’s falling on a Sunday). Since the following day, November second, is All Souls’ Day, the weekend usually include a visit to the cemetery to find family and friends who have passed.

When I was a child I was really looking forward to this weekend – not for the cemetery visit I would say☺

Where I grew up, in Asola in the plain East of Milan, the town that weekend would be animated by the town’s local festival with amusement park, stands selling typical food specialties and artisanal artifacts, and, more recently, art exhibitions and cultural events.

This holiday would also symbolize, in my area, the start of winter and my mom would buy me a new coat to show off☺.

This day was a nice break from the cold and fog that usually characterizes this time of the year, and each one of us was truly looking forward to it. And, this time of the year people would cook ossa dei morti, or dead’s bones, a yummy cookie that would be symbolizing the festivity in the same black humor of the American Halloween. Those biscotti would be named in other areas of Italy brutti ma buoni (ugly buy yummy) or stracadent, a dialect word that literally means tooth-tiring because of their consistency, hard and chewy at the same time.

Here is the recipe. Makes 10-12 biscotti.

Active time: 10 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes


  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of almonds or hazelnuts or a combination of the two
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Grated peel from 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs white
  • A very small amount of oil or butter to grease the baking pan and cutting board



  • 1 cutting board
  • Mezzaluna or chef’s knife
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 regular knife
  • 1 baking pan (I like silicone)
  • a regular knife.
Ingredients ossa dei morti cookies
Heat the oven to 300°F.Roughly crush the almonds (or hazelnuts) with a mezzaluna or chef’s knife.Combine in a bowl with sugar and flour. Add the grated peel of a lemon. step 1 for ossa dei morti cookies
Using a stand mixer beat the eggs white until stiff, and incorporate to the mix. ossa dei morti step 2
You will obtain a quite sticky batter. ossa dei morti cookies step 3
Slightly grease your cutting board (use oil or butter), your hands and the baking pan.Using your hands shape the batter into a 1 ½-inch wide, ½-inch tall fat noodle. Using a knife, cut ¾-inch slices and place them onto the baking sheet. ossa dei morti cookies step 4
Cook for 40 minutes at 300°F.  ossa dei morti step 5


Ossa dei morti cookies done!

Buon Appetito!


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