One of my favorite things about graduate school is how seriously most of the people I know take Halloween, and costume parties in general. Gone are the days of purely revealing or unimaginative attire - instead, many people expend considerable effort to pull off witty homemade costumes. A welcome symptom of student procrastination.
Some of my favorites this year included Firefox (the web browser), a nine-foot tall raven, a dust bunny, and an entire village of Spartans. I dressed as Daria and Nick went as Harpo. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and hoping that the grown-up-looking house I share with my roommates means we will have some trick-or-treaters.
I hope everyone has had a great Halloween weekend. If you haven't had your fill of sugar yet, give these ghoulish cookies a try. There are many variations of this recipe available online. I read through a half dozen and distilled my own. A couple versions suggested using red jam to secure the almonds. I didn't have any jam on hand, but I think this would be a great addition.
Severed Finger Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen
1 C butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
2 3/4 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
50 whole almonds (I used raw)
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the egg and extracts, and mix until thoroughly combined. (I found it was easiest to use my hands to mix.) Form the dough into a ball and cover in plastic. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using about a tablespoon of dough, roll the dough into finger length pieces and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Use a sharp paring knife to cut three creases into the "knuckles" and add an almond to one end of the cookie for a "fingernail." Be sure to secure the almond well. I pushed it down and formed the cookie dough around the sides.
Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes or until the edges just being to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving the cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.