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Bones of the Dead: An All Hallows' Eve Treat

Christians all around the world have a special bread or treat that they make for All Hallows' Eve and All Saints’ Day. In Portugal they make Pão-por-Deus (Bread for God), in Mexico they make Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead), in France they call it Pain des Morts (Bread of the Dead). This bread is often shaped like a coffin or a cross. They make a sweet called Huesos de Santo (Saint's Bones) in Spain. In Austria, they make Allerheiligenstriezel, a sweet braided bread often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.

Make Ossa dei Morti or Bones of the Dead. These almond-flavored, bone-shaped cookies are made to honor the deceased and are often enjoyed with a glass of wine.

Ossa dei Morti or Bones of the Dead

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 1/2 ounces ground almonds

1/2 cup (4 ounces) all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

Powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Then line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the sugar, extract, and egg in a medium-sized bowl until blended.

Stir in the almonds, baking powder, flour, and salt, and stir just until combined. Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured hard surface and gently knead for a minute or two with your hands until smooth. (Dough will be sticky)

Divide the dough into three pieces, and roll each into a 1-inch log. Cut the log into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces, then use your fingers to roll each piece into ropes about 4 inches long.

Place the cookies 2 to 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies begin to brown and the tops feel set when touched with your fingertips.

Cool completely, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy!

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