Getting creative with Halloween can be fun, especially when it comes to food. I remember eating all sorts of Halloween-themed treats as a kid. There's nothing like being dressed up as the grim reaper and eating eyeballs (skinned grapes) or intestines (dyed pasta).
I went to a party this weekend with Halloween-themed food. Along with the aforementioned dyed pasta were meat loaves shaped like miniature rats and tea cookies resembling witches' fingers. The food was great, but it was even more fun to eat thanks to the playful imagery.
The friend who made the tea cookies remarked how easy they were and
gladly shared the recipe (it was adapted from allrecipes.com). If you've got kids and want to get them in
the spirit of the holiday, baking some of these would be a great way to
do it. Or if you're attending an adult Halloween party, how about
turning them into other sorts of spooky appendages? (I'll let your
imagination do the work here.)
Witches Fingers (Russian Tea Cookies)
These cookies aren't overly sweet. Instead, they're crumbly and cakey and go great with a cup of tea or coffee, which you could easy give a "cauldron" theme to. The dough will refrigerate and keep for up to three days. You can also freeze the finished cookies and defrost them later.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole almonds
4-6 drops of green food coloring
1 (.75 ounce) tube red decorating gel (or raspberry jelly)
1. Combine the butter, sugar, egg, almond extract, food coloring, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat together with an electric mixer; gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt, continually beating; refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets with extra butter (or use wax paper).
3. Remove dough from refrigerator in small amounts. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon at a time onto a piece of wax paper. Use the wax paper to roll the dough into a thin finger-shaped cookie. Press one almond into one end of each cookie to give the appearance of a long fingernail. Squeeze cookie near the tip and again near the center of each to give the impression of knuckles. You can also cut into the dough with a sharp knife at the same points to help give a more finger-like appearance. Arrange the shaped cookies on the baking sheets.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are slightly golden in color, 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Remove the almond from the end of each cookie; squeeze a small amount of red decorating gel into the cavity; replace the almond to cause the gel to ooze out around the tip of the cookie.
- Cut the cookies into two halves before baking. Once finished, spread with raspberry or other fruit flavored jam and reassemble.
- Leave out the food coloring and turn them into skulls or cross bones. Ice with cream cheese frosting.
- Add 2 TBS of dark rum and about 1 TBS more flour to the mix for a more adult cookie.