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Witch’s Finger Bread Sticks with Maple Mustard Dip Recipe

Published in Gourmet Live 10.26.11
Recipe by Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez, With Food Styling by Paul Grimes

We guarantee you’ll be cackling with delight as you roll and stretch bread dough into these shockingly realistic gnarled fingers, from the fungus-green almond-slice nails with bloody cuticles, to the pretzel-salt warts. Turn these into the centerpiece of a Halloween party and get your kids or your friends in on the action. Give prizes for the scariest and most realistic. Above all, let your freak flag fly high!

Makes 4 dozen fingers and 1 1/4 cups dip
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 1/2 hr

INGREDIENTS

For Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For Fingers:

  • 10 drops green food coloring
  • 48 sliced almonds or peanut halves
  • 8 drops red food coloring, diluted with 1/4 teaspoon water
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)
  • 1/2 tablespoon pretzel salt or coarse sea salt

For Dip:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup coarse-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or mild honey

EQUIPMENT

  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment and dough hook; 1 or 2 small paintbrushes

INSTRUCTIONS

For Dough:

  • Stir together water, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until sugar is dissolved; let stand until yeast bubbles, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in 1 cup of flour on low speed until combined.
  • Clean dough from paddle, then attach dough hook. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 1/2 cups flour to mixture and beat until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 3 minutes. (If dough is too sticky, add enough of 1/2 cup remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is no longer sticky.)
  • Oil a large bowl and transfer dough to bowl, then turn dough over to coat it with oil. Cover bowl with a dry towel, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until it is double in size, about 1 hour.

For Fingers:

  • While dough is rising, place green food coloring in a small bowl, and using a paintbrush, paint one side of the almond slices or the rounded side of the peanut halves.
  • Heat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Divide dough into quarters. Work with 1 piece at a time, and keep remaining dough covered.
  • Roll one quarter into a 12-inch log, then cut it into 12 (1-inch) pieces.
  • Dust work surface with additional flour, if necessary, to facilitate rolling. Roll and stretch each piece into a craggy 5-inch “finger.” Transfer fingers to baking sheets and let stand at warm room temperature, loosely covered with a smooth kitchen towel, until fingers are slightly puffed, 15 minutes.
  • Pinch top of fingers to look like knuckles, then lightly score each knuckle with a sharp knife.
  • Brush fingers with egg wash, then press on nails. With cleaned paintbrush, dab a little red color around the cuticles. Sprinkle fingers all over with pretzel or coarse sea salt.
  • Bake fingers until deep golden, about 15 minutes (form more fingers while first batch is baking). Transfer to a rack to cool.
  • Repeat forming and baking in batches with remaining dough.

For Dip:

  • Whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, and maple syrup until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

COOKS’ NOTES

  • Witch’s Finger Bread Sticks are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be made 1 day ahead and kept, tightly wrapped, in a resealable plastic bag, or frozen 1 week. Remove from bag and rewarm on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven before eating.
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