• 24 blanched almonds, halved lengthwise (hard to find, so start looking early)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 scant Tbsp. active dry yeast (one ¼ ounce package)
  • 5 ½ to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Dried rosemary (optional)
  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray

  1. Place a small amount of food coloring in a shallow bowl and add the almonds, stirring to cover with food coloring. Set aside on paper towel to dry.
  2. Pour 2 cups warm water (110 deg.) 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.
  3. Beat 1 cup flour into yeast on low speed until combined. Beat in salt; add 3 ½ cups flour until combined. Beat until dough pulls away from bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add ½ cup flour. Knead 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat 3 quarts water to boil in a 6-quart 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 the first quarter into twelve pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each piece back and forth with your palm into a long finger shape, about 3-4 inches. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. When all twelve fingers are formed, transfer to simmering water. Poach for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fingers to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, blanching each set of 12 fingers before making more.
  6. Beat egg with 1 T. water. Brush pretzel fingers with egg wash. Using a sharp knife, lightly score each knuckle about three times. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary, if using. Position almond nails; push into dough to attach. Bake until golden brown, 12 -15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Fingers are best eaten the same day; or store, covered, up to 2 days at room temperature.

Recipe from The Best of Martha Stewart Living Halloween book