I only discovered this recently, but Ossi di Morti, or bones of the dead cookies, are one of my mom’s favorite treats. How did I not know this? Apparently, my grandfather would often make the trek to North Beach in San Francisco and return with these cookies from Victoria Pastry for his girls. Sorta like the story in the Italian nursery rhyme my mom always sang, Batti le Manine. Although these cookies are traditionally meant to be part of the All Saints Day/All Souls Day celebrations, these were an everyday treat for my family. Crunchy and rich from the meringue style base, dotted with hazelnuts and almonds, it’s easy to see why.
This week for #SundaySupper, we’re offering an array of devilishly good recipes to make your Halloween special–from Candy Corn Martinis to Witches’ Fingers, we have it all below.
Celebrations of Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, date back to ancient times, originating from the Celtic festival “Samhain” (sah-win) — a harvest festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “season of darkness and cold.” While the festival itself was one of joy, the Celts believed “Samhain” to be the “Lord of Death” who allowed spirits to return to their former homes on earth, only on October 31. Many of today’s Halloween traditions stem from these early rituals.
In Italy, the Roman Catholics instead celebrate All Saints Day (November 1), honoring the Saints, and All Souls Day (November 2), honoring loved ones lost. Ossi di Morti are a staple in those celebrations. The recipe varies depending on where you are, but the sentiment remains the same. This recipe is based on the Piemonte version and is adapted from a recipe I found on About.com.
Just a few ingredients are involved–let’s pull those together.
Using a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients (except the nuts), and mix until the dry ingredients are completely moistened.
Lightly crush the nuts (I just put them in a ziplock bag and gave them a good whack with a mallet), then stir the nuts into the cookie dough mixture.
Lightly knead the dough and form into a ball. Cut into quarters, working with one at a time.
On a floured surface, use both hands to roll the dough out into a snake shape.
Cut strips about 2 inches in length and roll out slightly more into bone shapes (OK these look more like fingers).Â Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
Bake about 20 minutes or until they just start to turn golden on the edges. You really don’t want these cookies to brown. Let ’em cool completely.
These cookies are great straight or dunked in coffee. Enjoy!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 egg whites
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch of Cloves
- Pinch of Cinnamon
- 4 ounces hazelnuts, lightly crushed
- 4 ounces almonds, lightly crushed
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, egg whites, and lemon juice.
- Stir in the nuts and knead dough until fairly firm and form into a ball. Cut into quarters.
- Working with one quarter at a time, roll the dough out with your hands a floured surface into a snake shape.
- Cut off 2 inch pieces and shape into bones with your hands.
- Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, and lay the bones on it.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until they just start to turn golden on the edges.
- Cool completely before serving. Makes about 3 dozen.
On the menu for our Trick-or-Treat #SundaySupper Halloween Party:
- Shrunken Heads in CiderÂ -Â Girlichef
- Candy Corn MartiniÂ -Â The Messy Baker Blog
- Trick-or-Treat Wine Pairings for HalloweenÂ -Â ENOFYLZ
- Steak Bites with Bloody Mary Dipping SauceÂ –Â I Run for Wine
- Eggs in PurgatoryÂ -Â My Catholic Kitchen
- Mini Jack-oâ€™-Lantern Sloppy Joe PiesÂ –Â Small Wallet Big Appetite
- Baked Mummy Cheese DogsÂ -Â In the Kitchen with KP
- Meat HeadÂ -Â Ruffles & Truffles
- Goblin EggsÂ -Â Bobbiâ€™s Kozy Kitchen
- Mummy Hot DogsÂ -Â Damn Delicious
- Spooky Kid PizzasÂ -Â Sustainable Dad
- Pumpkin Chili, Pumpkin Dip, & Wicken Witchâ€™s BrewÂ -Â Daddy Knows Less
- Monster MashÂ -Â Cindyâ€™s Recipes & Writings
- Sloppy Worm SandwichesÂ –Â La Cocina de Leslie
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Biscoff CreamÂ -Â The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Spooky Ogre Eye CookiesÂ -Â The Realistic Nutritionist
- Jack Oâ€™ Lantern CookiesÂ –Â Magnolia Days
- Spooky Good Popcorn Snack MixÂ –Â The Weekend Gourment
- White Chocolate & Coconut Dipped Strawberry GhostsÂ –Â Sueâ€™s Nutrition Buzz
- Monster BitesÂ -Â Cravings of a Lunatic
- Vegan Halloween Sugar CookiesÂ –Â Hezzi-Dâ€™s Books & Cooks
- Monster CookiesÂ –Â Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
- Tunnel of Doom CakeÂ -Â That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Candy-Stuffed Rice Crispy Treat PumpkinsÂ –Â Chocolate MooseyÂ
- Crispy Graham BonesÂ -Â The Meltaways
- Dulce de Leche Bat CookiesÂ -Â Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends
- Witchâ€™s FingersÂ -Â Noshing with The Nolands
- Sweet Intestines with Broken GlassÂ -Â The Little Ferraro KitchenÂ
- Graveyard BrowniesÂ –Â The Wimpy VegetarianÂ
- Boo Candy Corn & Chocolate Chip CookiesÂ -Â Hip Foodie Mom
- Bleeding Devil CakesÂ –Â Mommaâ€™s Meals
- Pumpkin Halloween MunchÂ -Â Big Bearâ€™s Wife
- Halloween Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cake PopsÂ -Â Juanitaâ€™s Cocina
- Jack-O-Lantern Carrot CakeÂ -Â Galactosemia in PDX
- Ghostly Chocolate Orange TartsÂ -Â Happy Baking Days
- Messy Monster CookiesÂ –Â MarocMama
- Bewitchingly Delicious Butterscotch Broomstick Cake PopsÂ -Â Mama.Mommy.Mom.
- Halloween Popcorn CakeÂ -Â Pippis in the Kitchen Again
- Witches Morning GruelÂ –Â In the Kitchen with Audrey
- White Chocolate & Dulce de Leche GhostsÂ -Â Vintage Kitchen NotesÂ
- Peanut Butter Candy Bar CookiesÂ –Â The Cookie A Day Challenge
- Monster Cookie Revel BarsÂ -Â Baker StreetÂ
- Halloween Cereal BarsÂ –Â Basic N Delicious
- Ossi di Morti (Bones of the Dead Cookies)Â -Â Webicurean
- Pumpkin Pie PinwheelsÂ -Â Midlife Road Trip
Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day, this Sunday (October 28th) during #SundaySupper. Â Weâ€™ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm (Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where weâ€™ll talk about all things Halloween. Â All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupperÂ hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat.
Weâ€™d also love to feature your favorite Halloween recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.