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Author Notes: I got this recipe originally from a long-forgotten holiday website for pre-schoolers - ironic since it's been my experience that little kids won't touch them...they're too creepy! I substituted powdered sugar for the granulated sugar called for, increased the butter and ended up with a tender shortbread. It's important to use a concentrated food coloring paste for the 'blood' to keep the gore factor up. It's not candy but it's definitely Halloweeny and great for trick-or-treat. p.s. It just hit me that I was watching Dexter while submitting the recipe :-) - svbooker
Serves 3-4 dozen, depending on size
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (less if using salted butter)
- 36-50 whole, blanched almonds
- red food coloring paste
- red decorating gel, if needed to attach nails
- Cream butter,sugar and egg, beat in extracts.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt (I don't sift this). In two additions, mix dry ingredients into creamed mixture until well combined.
- Wrap and refrigerate dough for 30-45 minutes. You don't want it to get so hard that the cookies are difficult to form.
- Put your feet up and study one of your fingers for a minute.
- Using ~1 T dough, roll into a finger-length cylinder and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. You may want to experiment with the amount...for me, a narrower shape looks more realistic. If you use much more dough, they tend to flatten out.
- Press an almond into the dough to make a fingernail, positioning it so that 1/3 of the almond extends beyond one end of the cylinder. Push a small amount of dough over the edges of the almond by gently pressing in the sides of the cylinder at that point.
- Make slight indentations on either side of the cylinder above and below where you want the knuckle to be.
- Using a paring knife or the bottom (large) end of a piping tip, make shallow cuts on the surface just below the nail and on the knuckle. The piping tip makes a more realistic, curved mark.
- Bake in a pre-heated, 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly colored. Best if the cookies don't darken at all.
- When cool, using a fine brush or a q-tip, apply the food coloring to the bottom end of the finger - and anywhere else you want! Allow the 'blood' to dry before covering.
- TIPS: 1) If a nail falls off, glue it back on with a little red gel decorator icing (in the cake mix aisle). I haven't tried this yet, but it might work to apply a little egg wash to the back of the almond before you first press it into the raw dough. 2) Rough up the bottom end of the finger with a knife before baking...looks a little gorier that way. 3) This looks like a lot of work, and it is, but it goes pretty quickly if you do each step on a tray worth of cookies at once...in other words, don't make each cookie individually from beginning to end, make all the cylinders, insert all of the almonds, etc.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Halloween Treat