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Dead bones (Sicilian original recipe)

Hard and spicy for the Feast of the Dead

by Ada Parisi
5 min read
Ossa di morto (ricetta originale siciliana)

Finally I can give you the original Sicilian recipe of Bones of the dead (morticeddi): very hard and strongly spicy biscuits which are traditionally eaten on the occasion of the Feast of the Dead, how Copper of Naples. They are so called because the white part should simulate a bone, and indeed with a little’ of fantasy really recalls the whiteness of the bones. The ingredients are only 3, in addition to spices: water, sugar and flour. The characteristic and strongly aromatic taste is given mainly by the cloves, as well as a pinch of cinnamon. They are very traditional biscuits, such as the BEANS OF THE DEAD which are typical of Lazio.

On the days around the first and 2nd of November, Ossa di morto biscuits can be found in all Sicilian bakeries and I have always loved them immensely. Since I live far away I can no longer eat them. Because unlike other typical sweets of some holidays but which are found all year round, come i DINNER SANDWICHES or the NAPLES COPPER, the Bones of the Dead are really only found in November. Ossa di morto biscuits are an original Sicilian recipe, Very traditional and very typical.

Ingredients and Procedure for Perfect Dead Bones

So I tried several times to prepare them at home, but without great results. The miracle of these cookies is that a dough only during baking gives life to a biscuit that has a white part, empty and crumbly, and a very hard golden. Is’ the reaction of sugar to cooking, which brought to temperature comes out of the dough. I therefore asked for advice from a friend of the Messina baker who kindly put me on the right path.

Now, reading the ingredients you might be scared, because flour and sugar have the same weight. But I assure you that it is impossible to eat more than one of these cookies, because they are really hard. You will have to dissolve them slowly in your mouth, as if it were a pastime. The only thing you have to pay attention to is the dough: you have to work it while it is still warm enough, otherwise it crystallizes and stiffens. Then put on two pairs of disposable latex gloves. It is essential that the biscuits dry at room temperature for 2 days at least before cooking. Have a good day!

Dead bones (Sicilian original recipe)

Ossa di morto (ricetta originale siciliana)

DEAD BONES, original recipe of Sicilian biscuits

Portions: 6 Preparation: cooking:
Nutrition facts: 250 calories 20 fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 3 voted )


200 grams of flour 00

200 grams of caster sugar

50 milliliters of water

a pinch of fine salt

a pinch of cinnamon

5 cloves


Weigh the sugar, water and flour. Put the sugar in a saucepan and pour water over it. Add the finely pounded cloves and cinnamon.

Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes: over medium heat: you will see that a slightly foamy liquid will form and full of bubbles. Pour the flour into the saucepan and mix very quickly with a wooden spoon. It does not matter if the flour is not completely absorbed.

Pour the mixture on the floured work surface. Be careful, because it will be very hot. There is nothing that burns more than melted sugar, I recommend. Knead the mixture with a spatula so that, with movement, you start to lose temperature.

This is the hardest part: while the mixture is still warm enough to be easily workable, obtain a series of cords with a diameter of 1,About 5 cm. Then divide them into chunks of the size you prefer. I like small and delicate biscuits. At this point, you can engrave on the biscuits of the thin strips: in Messina they do them like this, but they are also found smooth. Put the biscuits on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, cover them with another sheet of parchment paper and leave them for at least 2 days at room temperature in a dry place (no fridge, I recommend).

After the two days, Preheat the oven to 170 degrees static. Bake and bake: you will see that after 10-15 minutes the sugar will separate from the flour and that the biscuits will consist of two parts. An upper white and a lower one that, Cooking, will turn golden. After 25-30 minutes the cookies will be ready and dry. Once cold, they will become very hard. So watch out for your teeth. Needless to say, these cookies are very preserved, very long. Bon appétit!

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