Traditionally, these cookies are made every year in Italy to celebrate All Souls' Day on November 2, in remembrance of the deceased. This is not a morbid or scary day but a celebration of life.
These are very crisp cookies, not quite as hard as biscotti, but definitely designed to be dipped into coffee or wine before being eaten. They get their name from their color and brittle texture.
After looking at six or more recipes, I finally decided on this one because I loved the photography. They could be made spooky for Halloween...
...or take on a much more refined appeal served with your afternoon tea :)
Ossi di Morti Cookies (the Saveur spelling)
Adapted From a Recipe Found Here
Be advised, they are not a light and tender cookie but hard and crisp. Probably not well suited to the taste of children.
3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon good quality cinnamon
1 1/2 cups superfine or Baker's sugar
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/8 cup water
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with a silicon liner or parchment paper.
Cream the butter, vanilla, lemon zest, cinnamon, and sugar. Add the egg white and beat. Stir in the flour and ground almonds. With the mixer running, add the water slowly until a dough forms. Add a little more, if necessary. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper, and chill for 30 minutes.
Very lightly flour a work surface. Cut the dough into 4 parts. Working with one section at a time, roll it into a rope that is approx 1 inch thick. Cut into 2 inch sections and roll each piece into smaller ropes that are about 1/2-inch thick. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Cool and dust with powdered sugar.