Halloween cookies from Italy
Ossa dei morti
In Italy this Halloween cookies recipe is a sweet treat known as ‘Bones of the Dead’ made to celebrate Ognissanti.
As a cultural protestant I’ve always found the celebration of All Saints’ Day kind of morbid, which may explain my fascination with the Italian traditions. From Puglian friends I’ve heard of family picnics to the graveyard on November 1st, and when the kids wake up the next morning on All Souls Day November 2nd, they’ll find a sweet treat from dead relatives. One of the sweets could be ‘Ossa dei Morti’ or ‘Bones of the Dead’ – a tooth breaking cookie in the shape of a bone.
I’m not sure whether the tradition is still practiced in modern Italian families, but I kind of like the cookies. They are particularly good when served as an extra spoon with a creamy mousse or sorbet and a sweet vino dolce wine.
150 g ground almonds
150 g flour
150 g powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
grated lemon zest
2 egg whites
Powdered sugar for dusting.
Beat the egg whites to form stiff, firm peaks.
Mix flour, almonds, sugar, cinnamon and grated lemon zest and fold it into the egg whites.
Dust you hands with flour and roll knob of dough into fingersized sticks.
Place the sticks on non-stick paper and bake at 170 C/350 F for 15-20 minutes.
The cookies burn easily so keep an eye on the oven.
Let the Halloween cookies cool before dusting them with powdered sugar.
They get better – less hard – after a couple of days.