Maltese 'Dead Men's Bones' Are The Halloween Treat You Need To Try

Each year on October 31, many people around the world get together to celebrate Halloween, a spooky holiday that's become a commercial success over the years. In fact, it's so successful that in 2022, Americans are expected to spend $3 billion dollars on frightening costumes and Halloween candy alone for trick-or-treats (via Statista). 

However, Halloween is not only about candy and scaring your friends and loved ones in the process — there's a great variety of delicious foods involved. Although many seasonal recipes call for pumpkin as the key ingredient, there are also delicious Halloween cookies, which are not made only in the U.S. but in other parts of the world as well. 

For example, in the Spanish region of Catalonia, you can try panellets. They are traditional Halloween cookies that can be found in most bakeries and consist of eggs, almonds, sweet potatoes, pine nuts, and sugar (via The Local). Italy also has its own Halloween cookie, called fave dei morti, which means ”fava beans of the dead.” These cookies are intensely flavored with almonds as well (per La Cucina Italiana). And in Malta, there are Halloween cookies that might just be the tastiest of them all.

Dead men's bones are almond-flavored cookies covered with icing

The Republic of Malta is an archipelago that's actually one of Europe's smallest countries. It's famous for its beautiful landscapes, great climate, and a few of the oldest temples in the world (via Nations Online). Malta has some great local food as well, and one of the country's specialties are delicious cookies. TasteAtlas made a list of some of them, which includes figolla cookies filled with marzipan and shaped into bunnies or lambs during the festive Easter period. On the other hand, the eight-shaped ottijiet cookies are flavored with vanilla, cloves, orange juice and zest, aniseed, and sesame seeds

And at the end of October and throughout November, the Maltese people make their traditional Halloween cookies called għadam tal-mejtin, which literally translates as ”dead men's bones.” These chunky cookies are shaped into bones and the exterior is a shortcrust dough flavored with vanilla, but on the inside, there's another dough made with almond flour, and it's flavored with cloves, cardamom, and sometimes aniseed. The top of the bone-shaped cookies is spread with white royal icing for a shiny glaze (per Atlas Obscura). 

For those who don't like royal icing, there are also versions with icing sugar or melted white chocolate on top (via Apron And Whisk). And if Malta is a bit too far away, you can try making these unique Halloween treats in your own kitchen and be the cookie king or queen of Halloween in your neighborhood this year.