If Halloween night were to find you in a misty graveyard, suddenly feeling the touch of ghoulish fingers on the back of your neck, those fingers would probably bear a strong resemblance to these creepy confections with red-stained blanched almonds standing in for fingernails. Let them beckon to you from beyond the grave, summoning you right over to their serving plate.
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 30 blanched almonds
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats) or parchment paper, and set aside.
Place food coloring in a shallow bowl. Using a small paintbrush, color one rounded half of each almond. Set aside to dry.
Separate 1 egg. Set aside the white. In a small bowl, whisk together yolk, remaining egg, and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add egg mixture, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
Divide the dough in half. Work with one piece at a time, keeping remaining dough covered with plastic wrap and chilled. Divide the first half into 15 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece back and forth with palms into finger shapes, 3 to 4 inches long. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. Score each knuckle lightly with the back of a small knife. Transfer fingers to prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.
When all fingers are formed, brush lightly with egg white. Position almond nails; push into dough to attach.
Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.