Bone cookies or ossi dei morti are crunchy almond cookies made in Italy to mark All Soul’s Day-Nov. 2. You bake these cookies to purify your house from the souls of the dead.
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When I was a child, I was visited.
I was staying in a bedroom on the second story of my grandfather’s house (a house, by the way, that once belonged to Vincent Price).
The air grew cool. And the lights flickered.
I felt like I wasn’t alone.
I ran downstairs to the safety of the living room, with the fireplace
crackling and in one corner, near the bay windows, a television set, which
was almost always on.
I think I could have used these bone cookies to feed the spirits and send them on their way.
These Italian cookies aren’t terribly sweet so they would go well on a fruit tray or a cheese tray.
Whether you’ve got dead souls lingering around or not, you’ll enjoy these cookies, which are lightly crunchy and fragrant with almonds.
You can leave them plain, which is what I did.
Or you can make a powdered sugar glaze to pour over them.
Here’s what you’ll need for bone cookies:
- Almond flour
- Toasted Almonds that you’ll grind in a food processor or coffee grinder
- Almond extract
- Lemon zest
You’ll mix all the ingredients together to form an elastic dough. You’ll see bits of almond that you’ve ground up.
To make the cookies, you’ll grab balls of dough, about the size of your fist.
Roll out each ball into a snake-like strand. Start doing this between your palms then finish rolling on a piece of parchment paper.
Then you’ll bake–at a low temperature 300 degrees F–for 16 to 18 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges begin to brown slightly.
- ½ cup toasted, chopped almonds
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
Using an electric mixer, blend the sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the lemon juice and almond extract.
Add the flours and ground almonds.
Beat on medium-low speed about 3-4 minutes.
Flour a work surface and transfer the dough making a uniform ball.
Take a piece of dough about fist-size and use your hands to roll the piece of dough into a rope about 12 inches long. .
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth to keep dough moist.
Slice the rope into one inch pieces or however long you'd like them.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake until the cookies are golden and tops begin to crack, about 18 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Repeat with the rest of the dough.
You can leave them plain which is traditional.
Or make an icing 1 cup confectioners sugar, 2 Tbsp melted butter and 1 tsp lemon juice.
The cookies will keep at room temperature, well covered, for a couple of weeks.
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Have you ever made bone cookies? Leave a comment!