If you google this holiday in Italy, you will come across all sorts of getaway holiday offers for this long weekend. There is probably more excitement to be off from school and maybe work than to realize why these days are really a holiday.
What Saints are celebrated on November 1st?
Here is a list of the Saints celebrated on November 1st (there are quite a few!):
St. Caesarius & Companions
St. Caesarius & Julian
St. Cyrenia & Juliana
St. Jerome Hermosilla
St. John & James
St. Mary the Slave
Bl. Paul Navarro
Bl. Peter Onizuko
Bl. Teodor Romza
St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa
Bones of the Dead Dookies (Ossa di Morto)
Halloween isn’t an Italian holiday, although I know it is becoming more and more popular with kids (and even adults) in Italy. You can even find many Italian food bloggers posting fun and spooky Halloween recipes. But traditionally, this time period was always very solemn in Italy. Today (All Soul’s Day-Giorno dei Morti)is a day when you are supposed to pass by the cemetery and bring flowers to remember your loved ones. While you’re there, you should spiff up the graves of your family members and you may even find some people spending time there in remembrance of their loved ones for hours. But that may happen only in Sicily.
My dear cousin Alessio sent me a photo this weekend of my family’s grave in Sicily. The granite marker has the photo of my dad, my nonno Giuseppe (my grandfather), my nonna Mattia (my grandmother), my zio Giovanni (my uncle Giovanni that I never met that died on his 19th birthday), my great grandparents from my nonno Giuseppe’s side. All 6 of them are buried in this family grave. So much history can be found walking around the cemetery. So much of my own family history can be discovered exploring the different angles of this peaceful resting place overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Sicily.
When you really think about the name and the shape of the cookie, it is sort of macabre and even creepy. I couldn’t tell my kids that these were “bones of the dead”, as they probably would run instead of thinking they were cool!The cookies are shaped long and skinny and when you pile them all up together, it does look like a bunch of bones. But they sure are delicious and creepy cookies!!
1. First thing you need to do is grind almonds, if they aren’t already ground.
2. Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla.
3. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. Mix together the dry and wet ingredients and the Italian liqueur (if you’re using it).
5. Chill the dough.
6. When dough is ready to bake, roll into logs.
7. Cut the first long log in half, and then cut it into small sections.
8. Cut each piece about 3 inches long.
9. It makes about 3 trays with 12 cookies.Each cookie will not end up being the same, and I suppose that also makes them look more “bone like”.I offered them to our friends that came over for an impromptu barbecue before trick or treating last night, and everyone loved them. Just warn your loved ones and friends before they take a bite, as I did, that they are very crunchy. I added a little bit of whole wheat flour, but feel free to use only all-purpose flour. I have seen recipes that use yeast and some that use baking powder. This recipe is without any leavening agent.
BONES OF THE DEAD COOKIES-OSSA DI MORTO
- 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg white lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- grated zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teasoon of ground cloves
- 1-2 Tablespoons Nocino or another Italian liqueur, white wine or even water
- confectioner's sugar for dusting
- Line 3 cookie sheets with a parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar. Add in the egg white mixed with the vanilla and beat on medium speed for a minute or two until combined.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, grated lemon zest and spices.
- Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined, stopping the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl and combine all the flour.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of the Nocino (or other liqueur or water). Add in more 1 teaspoon at a time if needed until the dough is combined (but not too wet).
- Remove the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let chill for about 30-45 minutes. While dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Lightly flour a clean counter or a pastry board. Cut the dough into 4 parts. Roll the first part of dough into a rope that is about 18 inches long. Cut the rope into two parts. Cut the first section into cookies that are about 3 inches long and about 1/2 inch thick. Line them up with some space between them on a the first baking tray. Press down a little on the cookie. Continue the process with the other parts of the dough.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Dust with confectioner's sugar.