Recipies for the Feast of the Dead

Bones of the Dead


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, confectioners' sugar, baking powder, and ground cloves. Add beaten eggs and almond extract; mix well.
  2. Roll dough into 1/2 inch balls and place firmly on a well greased cookie sheet. Cover cookies with a tea towel and let stand over night. Cookies will rise and spread.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Bake cookies for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Ossa dei Morti - Piemonte, Bones of the Dead Cookies

Begin with a large bowl: combine the flour, egg whites, sugar, and lemon juice. Work in the nuts, leaving them whole, and continue kneading until you have a fairly firm dough.

Roll the ball of dough out with your hands on your work surface so as to obtain a snake; cut the snake into half-inch thick slices and shape the bit into bones with your hands.

Preheat your oven to 360. Butter your cookie sheet, dust it with flour, lay the bones on it, and bake them for about 20 minutes. Let them cool before serving them.

Ossa dei Morti - Lombardia, Bones of the Dead Cookies

Blanch the almonds, peel them, and chop them finely (it's easiest to do this by giving them short bursts in a blender -- don't liquefy them or they'll five off their oil).

Combine all the ingredients except the egg in a bowl, mixing them with a spoon until you have a firm dough (this will take a while). Dust your hands and your work surface with flour, and roll the dough out between your palms to obtain a snake that's about a half inch thick. Cut it into inch-thick pieces shape them into fava bean shapes, grease and flour a cookie sheet, and set the beans on it. Lightly beat the eggs, brush the surfaces of the beans, and bake them in a 330-350 oven for about 20 minutes. Serve them cold.

Ossa dei Morti Biscotti - Bones of the Dead Men Cookies

These Italian cookies are traditional for for All Souls Day, but make a great Halloween treat.


  1. Mix all the ingredients together, except the egg yolk.
  2. If you need to add moisture a small amount of liqueur or Marsala wine works well. Don't use Amaretto.
  3. Pinch off small pieces, the size of a fava or lima bean. Form them into bean shapes and place on a greased and floured cookie sheet.
  4. Lightly whisk the egg yolk. Brush the cookies with the egg yolk.
  5. Cook at 350F for 15 minutes.

All the recipes above were emailed to me. Below is a recipe a friend from a Sicilian family gave me. He made the Bones of the Dead back in 2007. I was finally able to pry the recipe out of him in 2011. It's similar to the one above, but I decided to include it here.

Bones of the Dead Cookies

In a large bowl, beat eggs with wisk. Add sugar and mix in. Add vanilla and mix in.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and cloves. Add to egg mixture one spoon at a time. Transfer to floured surface and kneed until smooth.

Cut into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into 1/2 inch thick roll. Slice diagonally into long slices, about 3/4 inch wide.

Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and cover (not with paper) for 24 hours.

Bake 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. Loosen from warm pan. Yields 80 cookies. Main Index Page