Hands on: 40 minutes Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes Makes: 48 fingers
These fingers taste just like pretzels, and they're best eaten on the day they're made. For a shortcut, bake these from canned bread stick dough. Wouldn't a nice bowl of bloody marinara make a creepy accompaniment? To really creep out your guests, dye the marinara black using a combination of green and blue food coloring.
2 cups warm water
1 (21/4-ounce) package dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons baking soda
48 whole almonds
In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine water, yeast and sugar and allow to sit 5 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 5 cups flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture and run mixer to combine. Beat until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Add more flour in 1/2-cup increments until dough is smooth.
Remove bowl from mixer and pour in oil. Turn dough to cover all sides with oil, cover bowl and let sit in a warm place 1 hour or until dough is doubled.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 quarts water and baking soda until it comes to a boil.
Remove dough from bowl and place on work surface. Divide into quarters, and then divide each quarter into 12 pieces. Using well-oiled hands, roll each piece between your slightly opened fingers to form finger shapes 4 to 5 inches long, with ridges for knuckles. When you have formed 12 fingers, move them to the boiling water and poach for 1 minute. Remove from water and arrange on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
When all fingers have been formed, in a small cup, whisk egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush egg wash onto fingers and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Press almonds into one end of each finger to form fingernails. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool fingers on wire rack.
Adapted from the Best of Martha Stewart Halloween Handbook magazine
Per finger: 87 calories (percent of calories from fat, 35), 3 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams fat (trace saturated), 4 milligrams cholesterol, 295 milligrams sodium.