How to Make Ossi Dei Morti Biscotti and Struffoli At home

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How to make Ossi Dei Morti Biscotti and Struffoli at home

When asked about their favorite Italian cookies, most Americans say that they love those colored, layered Rainbow cookies. There are 20 distinctive regions in Italy. And, there are provinces, cities and villages within each region. Each region has its own delicious and authentic Italian cookies recipes. These recipes hardly make it out of the region.

A lot of cookies available in Italian bakeries in the US actually have no Italian roots. Italian cookies are expensive to make. The majority of traditional cookies recipes contain nuts and/or citrus which are easily available in Italy. In this article, we bring you the top 2 Italian cookies recipes that are not popular outside of the country.   

Ossi Dei Morti Biscotti — Piedmont 

These cookies are also known as ”bones of the Dead” and made to celebrate the Day Of The Dead. It is the day of love and celebration. The best way to celebrate is to celebrate with sweet. Ossi Dei Morti Biscotti are long and flat cookies with shape greatly resembling that of bones.      

Ossi Dei Morti Biscotti Recipe 


  • Toasted unblanched almonds - 1 cup (5 ounces)
  • Granulated sugar - 1 ½ cup (3 ½ ounces)
  • Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Kosher salt - ⅛ teaspoon
  • All-purpose flour - 1 ¼ cups (5 ⅜ ounces)
  • Almond extract - ¼ teaspoon
  • Fresh lemon juice - 1 ½ teaspoon
  • Large eggs - 2


Step 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 3: Finely ground almonds in a food processor. 

Step 4: Blind baking powder sugar and salt in a bowl on low speed. 

Step 5: Beat in one egg at a time.

Step 6: Beat almond extract and the lemon juice.

Step 7: Add ground almonds and flour.

Step 8: Beat on medium-low speed to achieve dough’s texture that is sticky, soft and elastic. It takes around 3-4 minutes.

Step 9: Make a ball of dough on a floured work surface. 

Step 10: Make small baseball-size balls from the dough and use a damp kitchen towel to cover some of the dough. Don't let the dough dry otherwise you will not be able to form the cookies.

Step 11: Roll balls of dough out into 24 inches long and ½ inch wide thin rope.  

Step 12: Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut this rope into 3 inch long pieces. Now, you have eight three-inch long pieces per rope.  

Step 13: Keep the cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. 

Step 14: Bake it for 15-20 minutes until the cookies become golden and fragrant.

Step 15: Let cookies firm up and then cool completely by transferring to a wire rack.

Step 16: Repeat the same with the dough covered under a damp kitchen towel.

Step 17: Your cookies are ready and you can eat with your family or keep them in an airtight container. 

Struffoli Recipe


  • Flour - 2 cups, plus extra flour for dusting
  • Large lemon, zested - 1 (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Large orange, zested - ½ (about teaspoons)
  • Sugar - 3 tablespoons
  • Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
  • Hazelnuts, toasted - 1 ½ cups
  • Canola oil
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Powdered sugar
  • Fine sea salt - ½ teaspoon
  • Baking powder - ¼ teaspoon
  • Unsalted butter (cut into ½ inch pieces) - ½ stick (2 ounces)
  • Large eggs - 3
  • White wine - 1 tablespoon
  • Pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
  • Honey - 1 cup
  • Sugar - ½ cup
  • Sugar sprinkles 


Step 1: Pulse baking powder, salt, sugar, orange zest, lemon zest and 2 cups of flour in a food processor bowl. Add butter and pulse to get a mixture resembling a coarse meal. Add wine, vanilla and eggs and pulse to form a ball from the mixture. Wrap this ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a half-hour.             

Step 2: Cut the ball of dough into 4 pieces of equal size and roll each piece on a lightly floured surface. Once each piece is ¼ thick, cut into ½ inch wide strips. Now cut each pastry into ½ inch pieces. Roll each piece into a small hazelnut-sized ball. Dredge dough balls lightly in flour and shake to remove any excess. Fill a heavy-bottomed saucepan about a third. Heat until the temperature reaches 375 degrees F. Fry the dough in batches until lightly golden and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.           

Step 3: Combine sugar, honey, and lemon juice over medium heat. Boil, cook and occasionally stir to dissolve sugar. Remove the pan and add hazelnuts, fried dough and stir to coat in the mixture of honey. Cool down the mixture for 2 minutes in the pan.

Step 4: Spray some vegetable oil on the outside of a small water glass. Place that glass in the center of a round platter. You can use a large spoon or damp towel to arrange the hazelnuts and Struffoli around the glass and form a wreath shape. Drizzle the mixture of honey over the struffoli. Allow it to set for 2 hours. Remove the water glass and serve.

It takes time and effort to perfect these recipes. However, If you can’t make these cookies in your kitchen, you can always order italian cookies online as well. 

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