Baked goods: Witch finger cookies


Finger-like cookies that creep everyone out (though it does not stop people from eating them).

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
raspberry jam, deseeded

In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together, then add to wet and stir thoroughly. Cover and chill (from 30 minutes to overnight).

Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll a scant tablespoon of dough into a thin snake-like shape (4 or so inches long). Create knuckle shapes and cut slashes where you form the knuckles. Press almond firmly into the end of the cookie to form nail shape, remove almond and fill with a dot of jam, then replace the almond. They should be thin and gangly because they will puff up when baking.

Put cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 325F/160C oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for a few minutes.

You can also make slashes in the finger and fill them with “blood”.

(With the leftover dough and jam, I was able to make some “normal” cookies. To make these, simply roll teaspoons of dough into a ball and make a thumbprint in the center. Fill the thumbprint with a tiny amount of jam. The cookies do puff up/spread a bit; too much jam will make a big mess when the cookie spreads. See this variation below.)

Baked Goods: Basic chocolate cupcakes for Halloween


I have a standard go-to chocolate cake recipe; this time I have different ingredients on hand and wanted something very simple to make Halloween cupcakes. The decoration was a spiderweb design (basic chocolate frosting and gel icing for the web). I am not a big fan of chocolate but think that these cupcakes were fine. People ate them, after all.

Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F/175C.

Cream sugar, shortening and eggs until fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa with hot water, set aside to let it cool slightly. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Once cooled, add milk to the cocoa mixture. Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture to creamed sugar-shortening mixture. Add vanilla. Pour into well-greased cake pans dusted with flour or sugar. Bake in a preheated 350F/175C oven for 35-40 minutes. (Or put into well-greased cupcakes molds or cupcake papers and bake for about 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.)

Frost and decorate as desired.