October means one thing. Spooky Halloween treats. Like Witchy Fingers. Big green witchy shortbread fingers.
Witchy fingers can be mixed and ready to bake in under thirty minutes and they are great make-ahead cookies because shortbread flavor always improves after sitting around.
It’s fun to make gnarly fingers (don’t squint or they look like asparagus). Don’t let the green scare you. It’s gluten-free AmeriColor gel and while it’s prudent to wear gloves when mixing the stuff with your hands, it isn’t necessary. It washes off. Eventually. But feel free to leave out the color. I’m sure not all witches have green fingers, right?
Almonds make the best fingernails. But I bet a black jelly bean would be awesome, too. It might even ooze a little while baking which would only enhance the gnarly look.
Be sure to let the cookies cool completely in the pan before transferring to a rack because while warm they are very fragile. They will be pretty sturdy when cool. They also keep forever so feel free to make these way ahead of time. Don’t skip the refrigeration before baking because the finger shape keeps if the dough is cold going into the oven, but if the butter is warm, the fingers will spread and the ridges might be lost.
As long as Halloween is all about the weird, it will always be my favorite holiday. Gnarly fingers especially included.
|Witchy Shortbread Fingers|| |
- 195 grams unsalted butter, room temp (13 tablespoons)
- 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 300 grams Canteen blend (2⅓ cups) (see notes)
- 3-6 drops of AmeriColor green gel (or to suit)
- 24-28 whole almonds (one per finger)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl break up the butter into pieces and mash the butter slightly. Add the granulated sugar and blend until the mixture is fully combined. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Using a large wooden spoon stir in the flour until the mixture looks sandy (don’t worry – it will come together). Add drops of green color and stir again. Keep adding color until you begin to see the final color you like. Then stir the mixture pressing against the sides of bowl. Eventually use clean hands and knead the dough in the bowl (I like to use disposable gloves so my hands don’t turn green). Once the dough is fully mixed and the color evenly distributed, the dough should look like a giant playdough ball.
- Divide dough in half and then half again. Roll each piece using your hands into long logs on the counter top. Slice off as many fingers per log as you can using the first one as a guide. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet. Yield 24-28 fingers. You might yield more if you make skinny, short sticks for smaller hands.
- Press the ends of the sticks into a point and press an almond into it as a fingernail, pointy side facing the end. Press down the center of the stick a bit so it looks slightly fat (like a gnarly knuckle). Pinch in the dough a bit right under the almond fingernail. Then take a toothpick or some other handy little instrument and press lines above and below the knuckle (three to a side).
- Refrigerate pans for 20 minutes before baking. Meantime, preheat oven to 325°F. Bake cookies 15-18 minutes. They won’t brown but they will look dry which means they are baked. Cool completely in the pan (very fragile while warm).