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Cookies with Nuts
Sicilian fave dei morti pistachio cookies
Fave dei Morti (Sicilian pistachio cookies using butter, white sugar and flour)
Originated from: Sicily, Italy
Occasion: Feast Day of the Dead (November 2nd)
Contributed by: Adapted from "The Art of Sicilian Cooking" by Anna Muffoletto (1971)

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2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and then cooled
2 extra large eggs
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pistachio nuts, ground

Equipment needed
Cookie sheets
Parchment paper
Cookie cutter (bean-shaped)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream sugar, butter, and eggs together.

Stir in flour gradually and beat until smooth.

Add vanilla and pistachio nuts; blend.

Cut small pieces of dough (about 1 1/2 teaspoons each) and form into kidney-shaped beans (One can draw a bean on a plastic sheet, cut it, and then use it as a cookie-cutter).

Place about 1 1/2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until cookies are a nice golden color -- 11 to 14 minutes.

Yield: Approximately 9 dozen.


The recipe in this entry was adapted from "The Art of Sicilian Cooking" by Anna Muffoletto (New York: Doubleday, 1971). The cookbook can be borrowed for free at www.openlibrary.org.... The author, Anna Muffoletto, notes in her book that Sicilians celebrate "The Day of the Dead" as any other feast day. It's not a somber event. Most individuals first go to Mass, then they visit the graves of their departed relatives, and after that, they share a meal with family members. On "The Day of the Dead" children are often given candy dolls, "pupi di zucchero," in the name of those who departed. This custom is especially popular in Palermo, where the sugar-cast statuettes can portray historical figures, "fair ladies and plumed knights." These "pupi di zucchero" appear in pastry shops about two weeks before the "Il giorno dei morte" or "All Souls' Day." Anna Muffoletto suggests that the cookies,"fave dei morti," "beans of the dead," did not originate in Sicily, but originated from other regions of Italy. The cookies, which are shaped like beans and come in a variety of flavors, have become very popular over the years in Sicily. The cookies are sometimes tinted white, pink and chocolate. In other regions of Italy "fave dei morti" are made exclusively with almonds, but it seems that in Sicily, pistachios are added. Photo: Mary Melfi.

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