Prep time: 1 hour
Rise time for dough: 1 hour
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes 48 "fingers"
Dave and Jacqueline Maples of Carmichael are special-education teachers and wanted to bring something fun to class for their students for Halloween.
This recipe comes from "The Best of Martha Stewart Halloween Handbook," ($9.95). Your kids can help by painting the "fingernails" with the red food coloring.
Another fun idea is to float frozen "hands" in a punch bowl. Fill clean, non-powdered, non-latex gloves with water or punch. Twist the "wrists" tightly and wrap tightly with a rubber band to prevent leakage. Place flat on parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze overnight.
Briefly run tepid tap water over gloves to loosen, cut rubber bands off with scissors and peel off glove. Float "hands" in punch.
Red food coloring, optional
24 blanched almonds, split lengthwise
2 cups warm water, 110 degrees
1 tablespoons sugar
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce package)
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
Place a small amount of food coloring in a shallow bowl. Using a paintbrush, color the rounded side of each split almond to make "fingernails." Let dry.
Pour the warm water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand until yeast begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.
Beat 1 cup flour into yeast mixture on low speed until combined. Beat in coarse salt then add 3 1/2 cups flour. Beat to combine. Beat on medium speed until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add 1/2 cup flour and beat 1 minute more. If dough is sticky, add up to 1 cup more flour, a little at a time. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.
Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a 6-quart saucepan of water to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Add baking soda. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Divide dough into quarters. Work with one quarter at a time and cover remaining dough with plastic wrap. Divide the first quarter into 12 pieces.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece back and forth with your palm into a long finger shape, 3 to 4 inches. Pinch dough in 2 places to form knuckles. When all 12 fingers are formed, transfer to simmering water. Poach for 1 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fingers to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, poaching each set of 12 fingers before making more.
Brush pretzel fingers with egg wash. Using a sharp knife, lightly score each knuckle about 3 times. Sprinkle with sea salt. Position almonds, push into dough to attach. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Fingers are best eaten the same day, but can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days at room temperature.
Per "finger": 59 cal.; 2 g pro.; 11 g carb.; 0.58 g fat (0.08 sat., .27 monounsat., 0.16 polyunsat.); 4 mg chol.; 280 mg sod.; 0 g fiber; 9 percent calories from fat.
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