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+ servings
Freshly baked ossi di morto cookies.

Ossi di Morto, Bones of the Dead

Ossi di Morto, Bones of the dead are traditional Italian cookies that are typically baked for Festa di Morti celebrated on the 2nd of November to honour the souls of deceased loved ones. They're almond flavoured with a delicate lemon scent and a wonderful chewy texture.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Ossi di Morto, Bones of the Dead, Cookies
Servings 2 dozen
Author Marisa


  • 1 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/4 plus 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • egg whites from 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • powdered sugar for dusting over the cookies


  • Place the almonds, 1/4 cup sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse til you get a sandlike consistency.
  • In a medium size bowl, whip the egg whites with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar just until you get a white and shiny mixture.
  • Stir in both the the vanilla and almond extracts.
  • Add the ground almond mixture, almond flour and baking powder to the egg white mixture and stir until well combined
  • Transfer the cookie dough to a work surface and knead a little until you get a cohesive and compact dough.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Shape Cookie Dough into Bones

  • Cut off pieces of dough and roll into logs about 3/4 inch in diameter and 8 inches long.
  • Cut the rope roughly into 3 equal pieces .
  • Using 1 piece at a time, place your index and middle finger over the centre of the dough and gently roll with a back and forth motion. (The centre will thin out while leaving the ends slightly bigger and rounder.)
  • If it gets too sticky you can lightly dust your work surface with a little almond flour if needed. (I used approximately 1 tablespoon throughout the rolling process)
  • While holding the rolled cookie with one hand, use the other hand to gently push in each end with your free index finger. (This will give the appearance of old bones)
  • Transfer the shaped cookies onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake one tray at a time in the preheated oven for about 10 to 12 minutes for a softer and chewier cookie or up to 15 minutes for a crunchier cookie.
  • Let the cookies cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.
  • Whether you like the softer or harder variety they're simply wonderful dunked in Vin Santo or your favourite liqueur.