Brooke Caison is currently a Food Editor at Delish, where she develops recipes and creates recipe videos. She started as a cook, writer, and hospitality expert with an eye for food trends and foolproof techniques. Outside of the kitchen, she hunts for food on the shrinking list of things she has not yet tried because life is too short not to try everything at least once.
Ghouls, goblins, and witches to the front, please! Spooky season is here, and we’re celebrating in style with these scary delicious witch finger cookies. A witch finger cookie is exactly what it sounds like: a shortbread cookie shaped into a severed finger and adorned with an almond nail and a bit of blood-red jam.
For a little added texture and flavor, I added chopped pistachios. As it turns out, pistachio chunks also make for great witch warts. This recipe requires a little effort and some freezer time, but it's worth the effort. The finished cookies make for a gruesome, eye-catching dessert table centerpiece, but these cookies aren’t all flash. They’re nutty, tender, and perfectly sweet.
To get these to come out looking like actual fingers, don’t skip the dough chilling! This is the most crucial step for baking shaped shortbread cookies. Getting the dough freezer-cold means that the butter in the dough will melt slowly in the hot oven, helping the dough keep its shape instead of spreading. Cold dough is also easier to shape and decorate.
Nut-free household? Skip the pistachios and walnuts and use large coconut flakes to make monster fingers instead.
You can make the dough up to 2 days in advance and keep refrigerated, or store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Store baked cookies in an airtight container in flat layers separated by parchment paper at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- 50 serving(s)
- Prep Time:
- 15 mins
- Total Time:
- 1 hr 50 mins
- 1 1/4 c.
(142 g.) powdered sugar
- 1 c.
(2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp.
- 1 tsp.
pure vanilla extract
5 to 6 drops green food coloring
- 2 3/4 c.
(330 g.) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp.
- 1/2 c.
finely chopped pistachios (about 70 g.), plus more for decorating
- 3/4 c.
sliced almonds (about 85 g.)
- 1/2 c.
(135 g.) cherry, strawberry, or raspberry jam
- Step 1In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric mixer) on medium speed, beat powdered sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and continue to beat until incorporated and fluffy, about 1 minute more. Add almond extract, vanilla extract, and food coloring and beat until combined.
- Step 2In a small bowl, whisk flour and salt. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in pistachios. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Step 3Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one-quarter of dough from refrigerator and portion into 12 to 13 (1-tablespoon) balls. Roll each ball between your palms until it starts to form a finger shape, about 3"-by-1/2", or the length of your pinky finger but slightly thinner. Arrange logs on prepared sheet and press an almond slice into each, where the nail would be on a finger. Carefully pinch dough just below almond and halfway down log to create a knuckle. Using a sharp knife, carve horizontal lines of varying lengths into knuckle. Place 1 or 2 pistachio pieces in finger to make warts. Repeat with remaining dough. Freeze 30 minutes.
- Step 4Preheat oven to 375°. Bake, rotating trays front to back halfway through, until edges are firm and tops of cookies are dry, 7 to 9 minutes, Let cool slightly.
- Step 5Gently lift off almond fingernail. Add a tiny dab of jam to tip of finger, then replace almond fingernail, pressing down to make jam ooze out. Spread jam onto bottom of each finger. Let cookies cool completely.
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