Recipe courtesy of Hedy Goldsmith

Bonz of the Dead: Ossa dei Morti

Getting reviews...
I love making these for Halloween, not just because of their name, appearance or texture, but because I really love them! Known by Italians as Ossa dei Morti, these cookies are super hard and super crunchy, so be careful when biting down! I've added toasted ground anise seeds, which give them cool licorice flavor. Bake these all year round...and totally dunk them in your espresso.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 25 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 35 min
  • Yield: 45 to 50 bonz
Share This Recipe



  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Toast the hazelnuts on a sheet pan until lightly golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Lightly toast the anise seeds either in the oven or on the stove in a saute pan over medium heat constantly shaking the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the seeds from the pan, allow to cool, and set aside. 
  2. Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor pulsing until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Place in a bowl and set aside. Grind the anise seeds in a small spice grinder until the seeds are half their size, and place in the bowl with the nuts. 
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar, butter and lemon zest until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg whites and vanilla and mix on low speed until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. 
  4. Working in the bowl with the ground hazelnuts and anise, add the flour, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and salt and mix with your hands to combine. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in the stand mixer on low speed until a smooth ball of dough forms, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and flatten slightly. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. 
  5. Divide the cold dough into 8 even pieces. Roll each piece into a rope approximately 15- by 18-inches long by about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the ropes into 5 cookies or for super long bonz, roll each log 8-inches long. 
  6. Place the bonz on a lined baking sheet and allow to sit uncovered in a dry place, 1 to 2 hours or up to overnight. This helps them become super dry and ready for baking. Place the bonz in a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Dust these babies with powdered sugar before serving. 
  7. The bonz can be stored in an odor free airtight container for up to 1 week - if they last that long!

Fudge Factor

Chocolate Desserts

Indulge in our decadent chocolate desserts, from cookies and cakes to puddings, souffles and truffles.

Review: Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert's Chocolate Bar Nov 16, 2012

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert have teamed up with master chocolatier Christopher Curtin to create the "Good & Evil" chocolate b …

How-To: Chocolate Cream Puffs

Make this classic and elegant French dessert using our step-by-step guide.

Over-the-Top-Delicious Treats to Satisfy Your Food Obsession

Are you infatuated with ice cream? Do you lust over lobster? Swoon at the sight of chocolate? Here's the best recipe for each food …

The Craziest Chocolate Creations for American Chocolate Week Mar 17, 2013

It’s officially American Chocolate Week. Check out photos of mind-blowing chocolate creations.

How to Make Truffles

Learn how to make a chocolate lover's favorite treat: the classic truffle made from smooth chocolate ganache.

Essentials: Chocolate Basics Sep 1, 2016

Satisfy that chocolate craving in your very own kitchen. All you need is baking chocolate and a little know-how. It also helps to …

How to Chop and Melt Chocolate

Lots of recipes call for melted chocolate. Follow these step-by-step instructions to do it properly.

Nostalgic, Old-Fashioned and Retro Candy and Candy Bars

Take a sweet trip down memory lane by ogling these old-school candy bars and confections.

Easy Gift Idea: Chocolate-Covered Toffee Feb 7, 2013

Looking for an easy gift idea? Cooking Channel's recipe for Chocolate-Covered Toffee is just the ticket. A touch of coffee in the …

Valentine's Day Four-Ingredient Dessert Feb 12, 2013

By: Cameron Curtis

The best part of this Valentine's Day dessert? It requires only four ingredients: chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar.

Meatless Monday: Chocolate For Dinner Feb 13, 2012

By: Michelle Buffardi

Celebrate Meatless Monday and Valentine's Day (a day early) with Bobby Flay's Poached Eggs in Mole Sauce.