Ghadam Tal-Mejtin Recipe 

This almond "cookies" recipe will probably give you the creeps but it's sooooo yummy :) These almond "cookies" or fingers are pretty hard to describe, because they don't look like your usual cookies. Read on for an overview of why they are shaped that way and also for the recipe.

On the 1st and 2nd of November, the Maltese people celebrate the feasts of All saints and All souls. This is a time to remember the loved ones who have now passed away. This remembering goes on throughout the whole of November. These two days are school holidays and so kids do not go to school. 

almond cookies recipe malta

A cute but creepy sounding Maltese tradition is to bake Ghadam tal-Mejtin during this time. Ghadam tal-Mejtin literally means dead men’s bones! Although creepy sounding, these are nothing but yummy pastries :)

These cookies or almond fingers are basically little bone-shaped pastries filled with ground almonds. Not that widely available in the shops, these unusually shaped almond cookies are usually prepared at home and can be consumed throughout all of November. There are many almond fingers recipes out there, but if you want to try something different from the norm, then try this unusual sounding recipe from the island of Malta. 


(For the pastry)

160 grms (or 5.64 oz) sugar

240 grms (or 8.46 oz) margarine

480 grms (or 1 lb and 0.93 oz) flour

2 eggs (whisked)

1 teaspoon baking powder

One fourth of a teaspoon Vanilla essence

1 lemon rind

(For the filling)

200 grms (or 7.05 oz) ground almonds

200 grms (or 7.05 oz) sugar

2 egg whites

Vanilla Essence

1 lemon rind

(For the decorating)

200 grms (or 7.05 oz) icing sugar


How to make the pastry

Mix the margarine with the sugar in a bowl, until the sugar melts. Add the eggs and the vanilla essence. Combine the baking powder and the lemon rind and add to the mixture, bit by bit. Mix well to form a pastry dough. 

How to prepare the filling

Mix the ground almonds, sugar and lemon rind. Whisk the egg whites and add the vanilla essence. Combine and mix this with the almonds, sugar and lemon rind mixture. 

How to make the "bones"

Roll out the pastry thinly and cut out several 15 cms X 10.5 cms rectangles. Take spoonfuls of the almond filling and place down the middle of the pastry rectangles. Dampen the edges with water. Roll the pastry and form into wide strips. Close the edges and shape the edges (or try to) into legs bones! :) This is where the name of this recipe comes from. The cookies should end up looking like legs bones. 

Baking Procedure

Put a baking sheet in the baking tray and place the “bones” in the tray. Do not put them too close to each other. Bake in a moderate oven for some 15 to 20 minutes. Leave to cool before you decorate with icing sugar. 

Decorating the Dead Men’s Bones

Melt the icing sugar in some water. (The texture has to be a bit thick.) Spread and paste the mixture on top of the bones. And that's it!

We hope that you will try this tasty recipe from the fascinating island of Malta :)

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