Trying to get into the Fall festive spirit has been trying in the past week. My lil’ dog Josh is doing well, but the stress of possible back surgery looms heavy in our home. Fall is my favorite season and I told Ralph I can’t shake the nervousness of Josh. Later that day Ralph e-mailed me a scripture, it was long but the general gist of it was “Be thankful for this day.” Reading those words was like having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, Today Josh is good, and he is alive and happy. My family and friends are happy and healthy, as are Ralph and I. I will not let this bring me down, I’m taking complete advantage of this wonderful day God has given me….I’m basking in it.
Today I will decorate; I will get the Fire Place ready/decorated for Fall. I will make a wonderful dinner, enjoy my dogs and relish in Ralph’s company. Ralph had mentioned making pretzels like the ones we made last year, WITCHES FINGERS! This will surely get us in the fall festive spirit.
- Red or green food coloring, (optional, for fingers) I used red :o)
- 24 blanched almonds, halved lengthwise
- 2 cups warm water (110 degrees), plus 3 quarts, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
- Vegetable oil
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 large egg
- Sea salt
- Fried rosemary (optional, for toes)
Ralph loves the Cinnamon & sugar ones so I may add this to this batch!
- Place a small amount of food coloring, if using, in a shallow bowl, and, using a paintbrush, color the rounded side of each split almond; set aside to dry.
- Pour 2 cups water 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. Beat in 1 cup flour into yeast on low speed until combined. Beat in coarse salt; add 3 1/2 cups flour, and beat until combined. Continue beating until dough pulls away from bowl, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour. Beat 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 6-quart straight-sided 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 first quarter into 12 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each piece back and forth with your palm forming a long finger shape, about 3 to 4 inches. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. Or, to make toes, roll each piece so that it is slightly shorter and fatter, about 2 inches. Pinch in 1 place to form the knuckle. When 12 fingers or toes are formed, transfer to simmering water. Poach for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fingers to the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, blanching each set of 12 fingers or toes before making more.
- Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzel fingers and toes with the egg wash. Using a sharp knife, lightly score each knuckle about three times. Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary, if using. Position almond nails, pushing them into dough to attach. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.
Fingers and toes are best eaten the same day; or store, covered, up to 2 days at room temperature