Friday, October 28, 2005


Last night, I made fingers. Many, many fingers. Oh, and toes. Big toes, little toes, stubbed toes.

Have I mentioned just how much I love Halloween?

When else could I spend an hour making severed digits out of almond dough, carefully applying red "blood" and making them look as realistic and gross as possible? More importantly, when else could I do this without having someone come and lock me up?

...and when else could I say, "honey, could you give me a hand?" and have him answer like this?

Halloween Fingers
These are not only scary but quite nibble-able as well. Crisp, almond flavored shortbread that tastes better as you store them.

Yield: 5 dozen

1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Almond extract
1 tsp Vanilla
2 2/3 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Almonds, whole blanched
Raspberry jelly or jam (you can use red decorator gel, but it won't taste as good)

In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt to make a very stiff dough. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll about a tablespoon full (I used a 1 oz. cookie scoop) of dough into a thin log shape about 4" long for each cookie. Squeeze in center and close to one end to create knuckle shapes. Press almond firmly into the end of the cookie for nail. Using paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckle. You want them a bit thin and gangly looking, since they'll puff a little when you bake them.

Place on lightly greased baking sheets; bake in 325F oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, stir a little of the jam until it's thinner or warm for 30 seconds or so in the microwave (or use decorator gel straight from the tube). Lift up almond, squeeze red decorator gel onto nail bed and press almond back in place, so gel oozes out from underneath. You can also make slashes in the finger and fill them with "blood." Breaking one and adding jam to the end makes a pretty impressive severed finger, too.