Enjoy tricks and treats this Halloween

Get into the spooky spirit with these creepy creations.

Certainly spooky: Savor these scary treats on Halloween.

By Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon

It’s the end of October and soon those vile vampires, ghostly ghouls and other hideous trolls will come forward seeking favors and fortune from you. Before Election Day, though, comes Halloween, which has evolved into a national day of fun.

Have you ever considered the connection between Halloween and Election Day? Kids look forward to mostly treats on Halloween. Election Day, however, seems stacked with lots of promised tricks and trickery from politicians, but who really gets the treats? If a pol hands you a bag of goodies — beware! Those brown bags could get you in trouble.

It would be a voter’s treat if term limits could be imposed on Philly’s Council members, state legislators and Congress members…and maybe there would be less tricks, too. Let’s face it, everything but honey has a shelf life. Some candidates could dress as dinosaurs for Halloween — they’ve been in office for so long.

Properly baked, these severed, crooked fingers will not be as sticky as those of some politicians.

CROOKED FINGERS

2 sticks butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 & 2/3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

almonds, blanched whole or slices

cocoa powder

red jam (seedless raspberry or strawberry)

In a large bowl, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and egg.

Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat.

Mix together the flour and salt and add this to the butter mixture. Mix just until blended. Wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.

Shape 3 teaspoons of dough into a log shape, then roll the log to form a thin rope about the length of your pointer finger.

Squeeze each finger in the middle to create a bulging knuckle, and squeeze again toward the top of the finger to make another bulge where a joint would be, below the nail area.

Press an almond or almond slice into the end of the finger to make a nail.

Using a knife, mark little lines or slits on each knuckle area and below the nail at where the joint would be.

Using a dry pastry brush, very lightly dust around the nail area and over the knuckles and slits, filling the lines with cocoa powder. Place fingers on lightly greased baking sheet(s).

Refrigerate for 20–30 minutes.

Put a few tablespoons of jam into a small plastic bag and poke a tiny hole on one end. Pipe a little jam around the nail, on the finger, and on the severed end of the finger.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25–30 minutes. Cool.

Serve fingers with a small bowl of seedless raspberry or strawberry jam, for dipping.

Makes about 30 fingers.

Use these coiled snakes as crackers on a cheese tray — no venom, or attacks — you do the biting.

SNEAKY BREADSTICK SNAKES

1 cup flour

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature

5 Tbsp. ice water, plus extra tsp., if needed

black sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add butter, pinching and mixing with your hands.

Add ice water, and mix to form a smooth dough, adding 1 tsp. of water, if necessary.

Divide dough into 12 balls. Roll each ball into a 12-inch, pencil-thin rope.

Gently flatten one end, like a snake’s head, and pinch the other end as a tail. Gently push 2 black sesame seeds into each snake’s head.

Roll each rope-snake into a loose coil, and carefully transfer to the prepared pan.

Bake for 30–35 minutes until golden brown.

Cool and serve with hummus, dip, or on a cheese tray.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Don’t forget:

Send in your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 ShopRite gift card. Mail your recipe to Readers’ Recipes, c/o Northeast Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Or email your recipe to WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com. Please include name, address and telephone number.