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spooky treats for
your Halloween fete
by Yee-Fan Sun
continued from page 3
Adapted from britta.com
(a great source for general Halloween party inspiration), this recipe is
essentially an almond-flavored sugar cookie dough, but instead of using
a cookie cutter, you'll be shaping the dough into creepy finger shapes.
Yes, they'll gross folks out with their disturbingly realistic look, but
the cookie itself is surprisingly tasty. You can make the cookies up to
a couple of days ahead of time, and just store in an airtight container.
1 cup salted butter (2 sticks),
softened to room temp
1 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-2/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup of whole blanched almonds
a tube of red cake decorator's gel
additional confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
about 5 dozen cookies
the oven to 350F.
the butter, sugar, egg and extracts together in a big bowl until creamy.
Add a little of the flour and the baking powder, stirring well. Keep
adding the remaining flour in batches, and continue to beat until the
flour's all incorporated and you have a smooth dough. Cover the dough
with plastic wrap, and pop in the fridge to chill for an hour or so.
take each almond and gently split it in half. The easiest way to do this
is to hold each almond on its side on a cutting board, and wedge the tip
of a short paring knife where the two halves of the almond meet. Do this
very carefully, so as to avoid chopping off your little fingers.
Alternatively, you can just use whole almonds (in which case you'll need
about ¾ cup of almonds -- I like the look of the halved almonds better,
a quarter of the dough to work with, and keep the remainder in the
fridge. Scoop out a rounded teaspoonful of dough and roll it into a
long, skinny cylinder. You'll want it to be much thinner than the
finished finger, say about ¼" or so in diameter (the cookie will
get flatter and a lot puffier as it bakes). Now create two
"knuckles" by giving the dough a slight squeeze around either
side of where you want each knuckle to sit, bunching up the dough to
make a bump for the knuckle (make the bump fairly prominent). You'll
basically just be pinching and squeezing and rolling the dough between
your fingers until you have a vaguely finger-like form. Now place the
cookie on a lightly greased baking sheet. Make a few light slashes at
the knuckles with a paring knife. Press an almond firmly into the
"fingertip" end as a nail. Repeat this step until you have
enough fingers to fill the sheet, making sure to leave at least an inch
around each finger to give it room to expand.
for about 10-12 minutes, until the fingers are a very lightly golden
color. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then pull
off each almond, squeeze out some red decorator's gel, and squash the
almond back into place so that some of the gel oozes out around the
"nail." Let the cookies continue to cool on baking racks, and
shape and bake the rest of the cookie dough.
the cookies out on a flat surface and dust with confectioner's sugar
(pour some confectioner's sugar into a fine-mesh sieve, and shake over
the cookies). Arrange the cookies onto a platter and creep out all your
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