Ossi Di Morte  – Dead Man’s Bones


This recipe belongs to Nonna Fu Fu my Aunty Dora’s mother who came to Australia from the Isle of Elba, Italy in 1936. Made to look like gnarly bones, traditionally this is a biscuit made for All Souls’ Day, though some of you know this as Halloween.  I have found many Italian recipes for Dead Man’s Bones but all use almond meal.  Using the whole nuts, makes this recipes unique and special.


4 egg whites

2 cups caster sugar

6 ozs Marsala

4 cups almonds (2 cups whole and 2 cups sliced in half)

1 sifter plain flour (start with 4 cups gluten free flour plus extra added as needed)


Preheat oven 150C fan forced. Line three baking trays with baking paper.

Beat egg white and sugar until glossy.

Add and fold through the Marsala, almonds and flour. You might need to add extra flour 1/4 to 1/2 cup to make the dough workable but not stiff.

Line bench with baking paper. Place one half of dough onto paper and with hands and fingers, spread out into a rectangle of about 20 x 30 cm. Try to move almonds in between dough.

Cut into stripes.  Cut smaller pieces of 7 cm. Remove from paper using the blade of a knife and lay onto baking tray. You might need to pat with flour or flatten out dough between nuts with your fingers. You want the dough to be thinner than the nuts.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden. Rest on trays for 5 minutes before transferring and cooling on racks.

Repeat with rest of dough.

There are many recipes for Ossi di Morte but most use almond meal and therefore you don’t get the gnarly look as you do when whole nuts are used.

Eleanora Balwin shares her Nonna’s Piemonte recipe on Aglio Plio e Peperoncino which is the closest recipe I have found to Nonna Fu Fu’s.

One response

  1. deliciouslynell

    Yum! Perfect for Halloween!