For those of you who saw my craft FAIL post from yesterday, you know a craft photographs well doesn’t mean it’s particularly good or going to be a hit.
Happily, not all of my attempts to make things from scratch are a total bust. Take these spooky finger cookies, for instance. My oldest son and I made these together this weekend using a basic butter/shortbread cookie recipe. Unlike the chocolate spiders I attempted, these cookies looked scary and tasted delicious. I plan on spicing up our lunchboxes with these bad boys over the next two weeks.
Before You Start…Organize Your Time
Use Your Get Out of Dinner Free Card. This is the perfect thing to make late on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, right before dinner. Rather than try to juggle dinner prep and making cookies, grab some leftovers (or pizza) from the freezer and feed your children before you start baking.
Use Cooling Time to Get Baths Out of the Way. If they are old enough to bathe themselves, you get time to de-tornado the kitchen. If not, at least it’s an easy way to entertain everyone.
Let “Helpers” Make One. Give any child helping their own space to make a cookie or two. This keeps them busy and you might just be surprised at their handiwork! The finger my 4 year-old fashioned was the best of the lot.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
red food coloring gel
Beat the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extract together until smooth and creamy.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and beat continually until all ingredients are properly mixed into a dough.
Put the dough in the fridge to cool and harden a bit (at least 20 minutes).
When the dough is chilled, take one spoonful of dough and put it on a cutting board. Roll it with your hands into a long finger-like cookie. Place a whole almond on one end as a “fingernail.” Then look at your own hands and pinch the dough finger strategically to create joints. Add lines with a table knife or toothpick. Then transfer the cookies carefully to a baking sheet (I used the same table knife I added lines with to transfer each finger to the cookie sheet and it worked just fine).
Bake for 20-30 minutes. You know they’re done when they start to turn a golden color around the edges.
If you want to add a bit of extra gore, take the almonds off for a moment and squeeze a little dollop of red food coloring gel around the “fingernail bed” and then place the almond back on. The red squishes out in a delightfully frightful way. I also tried adding a bit of red to the base of the finger to make it look like the finger was cut off. But after about 3 cookies, I stopped doing that as it didn’t add that much and made them messier to handle.