Bloody Witches' Fingers

October 10, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 3-4 dozen, depending on size
Author Notes

I got this recipe originally from a long-forgotten holiday website for pre-schoolers - ironic since it's been my experience that little kids won't touch them...they're too creepy! I substituted powdered sugar for the granulated sugar called for, increased the butter and ended up with a tender shortbread. It's important to use a concentrated food coloring paste for the 'blood' to keep the gore factor up. It's not candy but it's definitely Halloweeny and great for trick-or-treat. p.s. It just hit me that I was watching Dexter while submitting the recipe :-) —svbooker

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (less if using salted butter)
  • 36-50 whole, blanched almonds
  • red food coloring paste
  • red decorating gel, if needed to attach nails
  1. Cream butter,sugar and egg, beat in extracts.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt (I don't sift this). In two additions, mix dry ingredients into creamed mixture until well combined.
  3. Wrap and refrigerate dough for 30-45 minutes. You don't want it to get so hard that the cookies are difficult to form.
  4. Put your feet up and study one of your fingers for a minute.
  5. Using ~1 T dough, roll into a finger-length cylinder and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. You may want to experiment with the amount...for me, a narrower shape looks more realistic. If you use much more dough, they tend to flatten out.
  6. Press an almond into the dough to make a fingernail, positioning it so that 1/3 of the almond extends beyond one end of the cylinder. Push a small amount of dough over the edges of the almond by gently pressing in the sides of the cylinder at that point.
  7. Make slight indentations on either side of the cylinder above and below where you want the knuckle to be.
  8. Using a paring knife or the bottom (large) end of a piping tip, make shallow cuts on the surface just below the nail and on the knuckle. The piping tip makes a more realistic, curved mark.
  9. Bake in a pre-heated, 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly colored. Best if the cookies don't darken at all.
  10. When cool, using a fine brush or a q-tip, apply the food coloring to the bottom end of the finger - and anywhere else you want! Allow the 'blood' to dry before covering.
  11. TIPS: 1) If a nail falls off, glue it back on with a little red gel decorator icing (in the cake mix aisle). I haven't tried this yet, but it might work to apply a little egg wash to the back of the almond before you first press it into the raw dough. 2) Rough up the bottom end of the finger with a knife before baking...looks a little gorier that way. 3) This looks like a lot of work, and it is, but it goes pretty quickly if you do each step on a tray worth of cookies at once...in other words, don't make each cookie individually from beginning to end, make all the cylinders, insert all of the almonds, etc.
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18 Reviews

Sadassa_Ulna October 15, 2010
I played with your recipe subbing in grated cheese and ground nuts for the sugar. The dough was really thick so I added some olive oil. I added ground thyme (my favorite herb this week) and ground pepper in place of the flavorings. The recipe came out really well as a cracker on its own (I rolled it out), and worked well for making what I will call "witches' pinkies." I made a ketchup based glaze for the blood and that was really tasty. I posted the recipe in the hors d'ouvres & snacks section with a few photos: http://www.food52.com/recipes/7128_savory_glazed_shortbread_or_witches_pinkies
svbooker October 15, 2010
They look wonderful! The pistachios are even better than almonds as fingernails. I'm sure they're delicious and can't wait to try the recipe. Thank you!
Sadassa_Ulna October 13, 2010
I made a savory version and they were fun to make. I used a melon-baller to get the knuckle marks, and you are right, the smaller the better to avoid too much flattening and distortion. Thanks for sharing this great idea!
svbooker October 14, 2010
I'd love to know how you made these!
Leilani October 12, 2010
I made a version of these for a 3rd grade Halloween party, and had to experiment quite a bit to get a dough that would not spread. I'll definitely try yours. For the kids, all nuts have to be omitted (in case of allergies), so I sliced dried papaya for the fingernails. Do you think there's any problem with using all vanilla instead of vanilla and almond flavorings?
svbooker October 14, 2010
That's a great idea - I bet it looked good. Using all vanilla would be fine. I'm not crazy about almond flavoring so I cut back on it and increased the vanilla - that's how the recipe is written here. But, I ended up really liking the flavor this little bit of almond gives - more complex than vanilla alone.
TiggyBee October 11, 2010
How fun!!
sugarcake10 October 11, 2010
These look so fun.I will make these for my grandchildren halloween party.Thank You!
sugarcake10 October 11, 2010
These look so fun.I will make them for my grandchildren halloweem party.Thank you!
Sadassa_Ulna October 11, 2010
These are amazing. It sounds like you use the curved edge of a piping tip to get those curved knuckle marks - that is genius, probably goes very quickly.
Do you - or other bakers - think a savory version could work? Maybe subbing parmesan for the sugar and some cayenne for the flavoring? I don't make cheese straws but something along those lines?
Thank you for posting these!
svbooker October 12, 2010
thanks! I think a savory version is a great idea. You'll really have to test out some substitutions - and you could take a look at cracker recipes for some ideas. I don't have time to play with this now, but I'd love to hear from you when you come up with a great recipe!
luvcookbooks October 11, 2010
This week is bringing out the artists!! These are too creepy to be beautiful, but they're art!! I feel a Halloween party coming on.
Loves F. October 11, 2010
I make these every Halloween!!
svbooker October 11, 2010
Don't all you friends love them! Do you have any suggestions for people who might want to make them?
svbooker October 11, 2010
Thank you!
mrslarkin October 10, 2010
Gross! I love it! What tool do you use to make the indentations?
svbooker October 11, 2010
If you mean the slight indentations on the sides of the cookie, I just used my fingers. For the lines on top, I used the large end of a piping tip. Glad you like them!
lapadia October 10, 2010