Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Witch's Finger Cookies

These are a little late... okay, about 12 days late, to be exact... but now you will be super ready next Halloween when you have a party to attend and need some sort of creepy but still delicious treat to bring with you.  I had such a scenario when I was heading to Dani's annual Halloween fiesta.  Due to this year's party not being on the same day as a wedding, a blizzard, or a hurricane, this was the first time I could actually attend, so I was excited and definitely wanted to make something.  Knowing Dani's love for all things creepy and Halloweeny, when I saw these super gross witch's finger cookies, I knew I had to try them out.  Looking back, I realize that bringing almond-flavored cookies topped with an almond was probably not the nicest thing to bring to a nut-allergic friend's house, but I was just excited to make a cookie that looked like a finger.

The dough is a basic sugar cookie, but with almond extract (which I love).  You do need to refrigerate the dough for an hour, so plan ahead accordingly!  I will also say that I suggest adding the green food coloring to make the fingers even creepier.  For whatever reason, my food coloring would not blend in.  It stayed speckled no matter how much I stirred.  I didn't want tough cookies (ha), so I gave up after a while and said my fingers were moldy (even grosser if you ask me)

Then you form the dough into fingers.  My mom was a big help with that since mine just looked like rolls.  Then she used a knife to cut knuckles into the fingers, and we topped each with an almond painted with food coloring.  I didn't used blanched ones as it suggested so they didn't look as red as I'd liked... also Rachael, Mom and I repainted them at the last second to get them darker, and thus the food coloring spread when we painted the cookies with the egg wash.  Ah well; it just made the cookies "bloodier."  I recommend painting a little extra food coloring on the "stumps" of the fingers for added macabre fun.

To compound the grotesqueness, I served the cookies in a bowl of crushed chocolate cookies (I used Oreos and chocolate Teddy Grahams simply because that's what Mark picked up for me) so it looked like fingers hanging out in a bowl of dirt.  I will tell you that I saw quite a few people snacking on both the fingers and handfuls of "dirt!"

Besides looking awesome, everyone loved these cookies.  I brought the leftovers home from the party and my family was happy to finish them off (and much of the dirt) over the next few days.  Happy belated Halloween!


witch's finger cookies
from Annie's Eats
yield about 32 cookies

1-2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
32 blanches or roasted whole almonds
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour
green food coloring (optional)
egg wash: 1 egg, lightly beaten


1) Place the red food coloring in a small bowl.  Use a clean paintbrush to paint the food coloring onto one half of each almond.  Set aside and let dry.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the egg, egg yolk, almond extract and salt, and mix until incorporated.  Mix in the flour on low speed just until combined.  If desired, tint the dough with green food coloring.  Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

3) When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Working with one half of the dough and keeping the other half chilled, divide into 16 equal pieces.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll each piece into a finger shape about 4 - 4 1/2 inches long.  Pinch each piece of dough in two places to create knuckle shapes.  Use the back of a small paring knife to lightly score the surface on the knuckles.  Transfer the shaped fingers to the prepared baking sheets.  Repeat with the second half of the dough.

4) When all of the cookies are formed, lightly brush with egg white and place an almond nail at the end of each finger pressing lightly to attach.  Bake until set, about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  If the cookies have spread or lost shape at all, reform them gently while they are still warm but cool enough to handle.

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