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Ladies' Fingers and Men's Toes

This ghoulishly good recipe for ladies' fingers and men's toes is from "Best of Martha Stewart Living -- Halloween."

  • Yield: Makes 4 dozen
Ladies' Fingers and Men's Toes

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, October Fall 2006/2007

Ingredients

  • Red or green food coloring, (optional, for fingers)
  • 24 blanched almonds, halved lengthwise
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees), plus 3 quarts, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • Sea salt
  • Fried rosemary (optional, for toes)

Directions

  1. Place a small amount of food coloring, if using, in a shallow bowl, and, using a paintbrush, color the rounded side of each split almond; set aside to dry.

  2. Pour 2 cups water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment. Add sugar; stir to dissolve. Sprinkle with yeast, and let stand until yeast begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Beat in 1 cup flour into yeast on low speed until combined. Beat in coarse salt; add 3 1/2 cups flour, and beat until combined. Continue beating until dough pulls away from bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour. Beat 1 minute more. If dough is sticky, add up to 1 cup more flour. Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, 1 minute.

  3. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 6-quart straight-sided saucepan over high heat; reduce to a simmer. Add baking soda. Lightly coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Divide dough into quarters. Work with one quarter at a time, and cover remaining dough with plastic wrap. Divide first quarter into 12 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each piece back and forth with your palm forming a long finger shape, about 3 to 4 inches. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. Or, to make toes, roll each piece so that it is slightly shorter and fatter, about 2 inches. Pinch in 1 place to form the knuckle. When 12 fingers or toes are formed, transfer to simmering water. Poach for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fingers to the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, blanching each set of 12 fingers or toes before making more.

  5. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzel fingers and toes with the egg wash. Using a sharp knife, lightly score each knuckle about three times. Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary, if using. Position almond nails, pushing them into dough to attach. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

Cook's Note

Fingers and toes are best eaten the same day; or store, covered, up to 2 days at room temperature.

Reviews (21)

  • weheartmartha 20 Oct, 2010

    I made these for a party for my 4H girls but baked them soft - they are amazing! Thanks again Martha :) I mixed up the dough and when breaking it into fourths I added parsley to one, garlic to one, onion to one just for variety.

  • mariekoran 12 May, 2010

    one of the first comments asked what can be used instead of almonds, due to an allergy . I believe thick shaved coconut should work fine. Unless you color it, it'll be extra white. But it will have a nice thin, curled, frail look to it that would look like a bad fingernail. One way to color coconut, though I've never done it is to shake it in a bag with some food coloring diluted in water first.

  • marthaspears 31 Oct, 2008

    I just made these last night for my halloween party tonight and they are awesome! If you bake them for less time, they're softer, if you bake them longer, they get crispy. I prefer the soft ones while my boyfriend likes them crispy. *TIP* If you make these in advance (like I did) they get chewy the next day. Toast them in the toaster oven quicky and the fresh baked taste/texture is back. *note* I found these to be on the salty side. Go easy on the sprinkling of salt on top.

  • deidrewolf 31 Oct, 2008

    I made similar fingers just using breadstick dough, cutting them shorter, rolling and scrunching them and adding the sliced almond 'fingernails' and they came out great! http://s53.photobucket.com/albums/g48/deidrewolf/?action=view

  • ravensnest5 7 Oct, 2008

    I have made these in the past. I put them in a hinged lid chest lined with an old lace napkin. (fingers pointing up, of course) They are very cute, but, they aren't sweet, as the article states. They are basically finger shaped pretzels. Make sure you put the baking soda IN THE WATER, not the dough, as I did the first time. Oops, boy was that a big mistake! Also, make sure they are completely cooled before you store them. The condensation makes them rubbbery and ruins the "manicure".

  • ravensnest5 7 Oct, 2008

    I have made these in the past. I put them in a hinged lid chest lined with an old lace napkin. (fingers pointing up, of course) They are very cute, but, they aren't sweet, as the article states. They are basically finger shaped pretzels. Make sure you put the baking soda IN THE WATER, not the dough, as I did the first time. Oops, boy was that a big mistake! Also, make sure they are completely cooled before you store them. The condensation makes them rubbbery and ruins the "manicure".

  • ravensnest5 7 Oct, 2008

    I have made these in the past. I put them in a hinged lid chest lined with an old lace napkin. (fingers pointing up, of course) They are very cute, but, they aren't sweet, as the article states. They are basically finger shaped pretzels. Make sure you put the baking soda IN THE WATER, not the dough, as I did the first time. Oops, boy was that a big mistake! Also, make sure they are completely cooled before you store them. The condensation makes them rubbbery and ruins the "manicure".

  • ravensnest5 7 Oct, 2008

    I have made these in the past. I put them in a hinged lid chest lined with an old lace napkin. (fingers pointing up, of course) They are very cute, but, they aren't sweet, as the article states. They are basically finger shaped pretzels. Make sure you put the baking soda IN THE WATER, not the dough, as I did the first time. Oops, boy was that a big mistake! Also, make sure they are completely cooled before you store them. The condensation makes them rubbbery and ruins the "manicure".

  • ravensnest5 7 Oct, 2008

    I have made these in the past. I put them in a hinged lid chest lined with an old lace napkin. (fingers pointing up, of course) They are very cute, but, they aren't sweet, as the article states. They are basically finger shaped pretzels. Make sure you put the baking soda IN THE WATER, not the dough, as I did the first time. Oops, boy was that a big mistake! Also, make sure they are completely cooled before you store them. The condensation makes them rubbbery and ruins the "manicure".

  • DollyB 7 Oct, 2008

    Try making the spot for the toe nails and painting the nail with melted white coating chocolate after they are done baking and cool.

  • DollyB 7 Oct, 2008

    Try making the spot for the toe nails and painting the nail with melted white coating chocolate after they are done baking and cool.

  • DollyB 7 Oct, 2008

    Try making the spot for the toe nails and painting the nail with melted white coating chocolate after they are done baking and cool.

  • DollyB 7 Oct, 2008

    Try making the spot for the toe nails and painting the nail with melted white coating chocolate after they are done baking and cool.

  • DollyB 7 Oct, 2008

    Try making the spot for the toe nails and painting the nail with melted white coating chocolate after they are done baking and cool.

  • DollyB 7 Oct, 2008

    Try making the spot for the toe nails and painting the nail with melted white coating chocolate after they are done baking and cool.

  • DollyB 7 Oct, 2008

    Try making the spot for the toe nails and painting the nail with melted white coating chocolate after they are done baking and cool.

  • DollyB 7 Oct, 2008

    Try making the spot for the toe nails and painting the nail with melted white coating chocolate after they are done baking and cool.

  • LeesaBlum 7 Oct, 2008

    My sons are allergic to tree nuts and peanuts, what could I subsitute for the almonds?

  • LeesaBlum 7 Oct, 2008

    My sons are allergic to tree nuts and peanuts, what could I subsitute for the almonds?

  • sparkleplenty 22 Aug, 2008

    I've made these twice to take to an annual Halloween party. They are really good, and are well worth the effort to make the dough. I've taken them in a brown paper bag that's rolled down a little-makes them look like they're freshly harvested-and doesn't take up much counter space at the very crowded party!

  • liztodd 31 Jul, 2008

    If your time is limited, use the breadstick dough the comes in the pop open tubes in the dairy case. They can be molded like finger as well. They are almost as cute as the homemade dough ones.....

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