These creepy fingers are the perfect centerpiece for a Halloween party, but they are also tasty. The crisp, almond-flavored shortbread tastes even better after being stored, so make these ahead of time.
Kathy Mayers of Portland, Oregon, developed this recipe and took the pictures. They are used with her permission.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
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
1 tube red decorator gel or raspberry jelly or jam (melted over low heat in a saucepan)
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 heaping spoonful dough into a thin log shape about 4 inches 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 a knuckle. You want the fingers to be a bit thin and gangly looking, since they’ll puff a little when you bake them.
Place on lightly greased baking sheets; bake in 325 F oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for 3 minutes. 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 fingers and fill them with “blood.”
Yield: 5 dozen
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