Ossi di Morto (Bones of the Dead)

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Hands-on time:
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Yield: appx. 32 cookies

Recipe photo

These Italian cookies celebrate All Souls Day, November 2. There are many variations, but we like our King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion cookbook version, for its slightly crunchy exterior and soft, chewy interior.

Ossi di Morto (Bones of the Dead)

star rating (6) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time: Overnight,
Yield: appx. 32 cookies
Published: 06/26/2012



1) Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Beat in the wet ingredients to make a smooth, soft dough.

3) Transfer the dough to a heavily floured work surface and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter, and 16" long.

4) Cut each rope into 4" pieces.

5) Working with one piece at a time, pinch the center, giving it a slender "waist" about 1/2" thick. Plump the ends into knobs so the whole thing resembles a bone.

6) Transfer the "bones" to the prepared baking sheets and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

7) The next day, remove the cookies from the refrigerator. Allow them to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Towards the end of the rest, preheat the oven to 300°F.

8) Bake the cookies for 15 to 25 minutes. Bake less time for a cookie that's lightly crunchy on the outside and chewy within, and longer for a hard, crunchy cookie.

9) Remove the cookies from the oven, cool, and roll the cookies in non-melting sugar. If you don't have non-melting sugar, coat in confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Yield: approximately 32 cookies.


  • star rating 12/23/2014
  • from
  • star rating 11/20/2012
  • ICE in NJ from Vtown, NJ
  • Made 2 batches! Added MORE extract and instead of the Almond Flour I used fresh ground almonds. Both batches were very "flat" tasting. At this time of the year, it was a giant waste of time. We have a large family, 20+ and NOBODY liked them! Only redeeming comment I got was "well at least the Belgian chocolate drizzle on some of them was good". Had some left over from the Boston Cream Cake frosting and did not want to waste it!
  • star rating 11/05/2012
  • K Paige from Houston, TX
  • I bake by weight and I know that shouldn't make a difference but these were terrible. Very mildly flavored, more cakey than I expected. I wanted crunchy bones and they looked more like ladyfingers. Don't know that I have the desire to retry to see if they come out differently in lower humidity. Really wanted to like them but I can't recommend this recipe. Not worth the $ of almond flour.
    I am sorry this recipe was a disappointment. If you provide us with your address, we would be more than happy to mail a few flour coupons to be used at a grocery store near you. Please call 1-800-827-6836. We are here until 9pm every day. Elisabeth
  • star rating 11/01/2012
  • ciaobuddyp from KAF Community
  • These had great flavor and texture, but I also was dissapointed that they "puffed up" in the oven... I spent a lot of time pre baking forming those little bones to look like the ones in the picture... :( Wonder what would happen if we left out the paking powder? Otherwise a yummy cookie! :)
  • star rating 10/25/2012
  • PeanutsAlmanac from KAF Community
  • I tried to make this recipe "nut free". I substituted AP flour for the almond flour. I used vanilla in place of the almond flavoring. The cookies were VERY bland and too sweet. They definitely need something with a bitter edge in place of the almond ingredients for a nut free recipe. The technique was fun. The cookies puffed up in the oven much more than I was expecting. I think I'll try orange oil next time. Any other suggestions? :)
    I would suggest using Fiori di Sicilia, which is a creamy orange flavor with light floral undertones. If you are looking for a good bitter edge, try coffee extract or espresso powder. ~Amy
  • star rating 07/27/2012
  • RikkiMama from KAF Community
  • I've been making these for the past 2 years around Halloween. They are a huge hit with coworkers & friends. Even had one of my baking instructors, who is from Abruzzo, Italy, ask me for the recipe. It's totally worth the planning ahead to make these fun, tasty cookies. I usually bake mine for 20 minutes for the perfect balance of crunchy exterior and slightly chewy interior.

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