If you want to amaze, intrigue and scare the beejeebers out of your family or friends, make up a plate of these raggedy looking torn-off fingers for Halloween.
Kids of all ages will be delighted to munch bloody stumps for dessert, or for a grade-school classroom party. They would also be the hit of a Halloween potluck at the office.
They are a simple, yet sophisticated tasting almond cookie, and are surprisingly easy to make. It’s a good family project, should you want to involve your children in the baking and easy assembly.
When my daughter was 7, she helped in making these easy cookies, and after preparing our first plate of them, she said soberly, “Mom, I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, but these are really disgusting.”
They’re easy to make
Get ready for some finger jokes while you make them!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Red decorating gel
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and extracts. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt to the creamed mixture, mixing well. Divide dough into fourths; cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, or until easy to handle. (If dough is too warm and soft, it will be difficult to shape properly.)
Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator at a time, roll quickly into 1-inch balls (15 balls per quarter portion of dough), and then shape balls quickly into 3-inch by 1/2-inch fingers, tapering the finger tips very slightly. Using the flat tip of a table knife, make an indentation on the finger tip for a fingernail. With the unsharp edge of a knife, make two sets of three slashes on each finger for knuckle areas (consult your own finger for accuracy!). Using knife held vertically, score bottom end of finger, to create ragged “torn off” look.
Place fingers 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. They will not spread out. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 5-10 minutes, and then squeeze a small amount of red gel on nail bed, outlining edge of nail bed. Press a sliced almond over gel for nail, allowing gel to ooze around nail. (Choose well-shaped almonds and turn them so the whitest side is facing up.) For maximum gross-out effect, squeeze a bit more red gel to decorate the bloody stump end of the finger. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 60 cookies.
Make ahead: Plain cookies may be made several weeks ahead, wrapped tightly and frozen without gel and fingernail. Thaw, then decorate with gel and fingernail almonds to serve.
Source: Adapted from Taste of Home magazine.