Long dirty fingernails punctuate irregularly-shaped fingers. An extreme paleness gives them a ghostly appearance, while thick red puddles form around their severed ends. Strewn across an old chopping block, the fingers suspiciously point to a nearby meat cleaver and to a handwritten note that says, “For Dessert.”
Severed Finger Cookies
Recipe from Rachel Ray Magazine
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla, then mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Using your hands and working quickly, roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a finger shape. Place the fingers about 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Stick a sliced almond on one end of each for the fingernail. Use a table knife to make three crosswise knuckle marks in the middle of each cookie.
3. Bake until lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook the jam over low heat until it reaches a saucy consistency. Once liquefied, remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl; dip the severed end of each cookie into the sauce.
Makes about 50 cookies
1. I made the dough the night before, took it out the next morning, and let it sit on the counter for a little bit, until it was pliable enough to shape.
2. I covered my cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3. Sort through the sliced almonds before you begin and put “nail-worthy” ones in a small bowl. This will make the assembly of the “fingers” faster. Carefully press the sliced almonds onto the dough fingers. If you press too hard, you can break the almond slices. However, if you do not press them into the dough well enough, they fall off after the cookies are baked. A few almond slices fell off my cookies, but I just stuck them back on with a dab of jam. It created the look of “bloody cuticles.”
4. These are sturdy and not delicate cookies. They seemed a little dry to me, so the next time I make these, I will make the fingers a little smaller and adjust the baking time. Their texture makes them good cookies to dunk, though!
5. After 15 minutes in the oven, take a look at the cookies. The cookies won’t be golden at this point, but you do need to keep an eye on the thin almond slices. They can darken or burn quickly, so don’t set the timer for 25 minutes and walk away.
6. I used cherry jam instead of raspberry jam. I strained the jam for cherry chunks before heating it. I also microwaved the jam instead of putting it in a saucepan. It just seemed simpler to do that.
7. I put a wire rack over a piece of waxed paper. After dipping the severed ends of the cookies into the jam, I put them on the rack. Any sticky jam drops fell onto the waxed paper.
Enjoy these Halloween cookies!