December 3, 2012 by another1bitesthecrust
In the spirit of partially-grotesque-yet-oddly-appealing Halloween treats, I tried my hand at some severed witch fingers (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Sadly, I can’t find the link to the original version that I used to re-create my own. I found a recipe for sugar cookie dough online and decided to use a bit of Wilton Juniper Green icing color to give the cookies a realistic dirty green tinge. (FYI: this color makes a horrible choice for icing but worked perfectly for the witch fingers!)
The fingernails call for whole blanched almonds. I figured Trader Joe’s would have them but I was surprised to find that they didn’t. Safeway didn’t, either, so I called Draeger’s and they had them. I considered using almond slivers if I couldn’t find the whole blanched almonds but I’m so glad I hunted them down – they were so perfect for the nails, especially the shape.
After making and chilling the sugar cookie dough (and of course, taste testing…), I pulled off a small chunk of dough and rolled on the counter into a fat, short “snake” with my hand.
I tried two different ways of creating the finger – putting the almond nail on first, then squishing the dough to create the knuckles, or creating the shape of the finger first, then adding the nail. Neither really seemed like a winner, they both resulted in the same thing.
After shaping the finger and adding the nail, take a paring knife and make a few slices in the knuckle to create a realistic effect. Don’t be afraid to make some serious knuckle wrinkles, the sugar cookie dough expands when it bakes and they will fill in too much if they’re not deep enough.
**On that note, I must admonish myself for picking a dough recipe at random and not specifically looking for one that doesn’t spread in the oven. I haven’t made sugar cookies in years and don’t remember them spreading as much as this recipe does, I was sorely disappointed that my fabulously crafted, gnarled fingers came out looking like the poor witch’s appendages were run over by a steam roller.
As soon as the cookies came out of the oven, I did some reconstructive surgery on them while they were still hot. I took two teaspoons, and using the back of each spoon, pressed both sides of the indented parts of the fingers in to retain as much of the shape as I could. These suckers cool quickly, I had to work fast.
Remove the almond from the cooled cookie (you bake the cookies with the nails on), pipe a little bit of red icing, and press the almond back on, letting the “blood” ooze out on all sides of the nail. Gives me the heebie jeebies a little bit…
On the original image of the fingers that I first saw, the knuckle wrinkles looked “dirty”, maybe a sprinkle of cinnamon or something. They looked awesome but I didn’t attempt it this time. Overall, the cookies turned out great. I was super happy with the color and the blanched almonds really “nailed it” (yup, still can’t resist…). In my opinion they looked so much better raw than baked because of how much the dough spread, so next year I’m considering making them with marzipan to keep their shape. That or I just need to make a lot of sugar cookies to find the right recipe 🙂