Dita di Strega, or Witches Fingers, are a popular Halloween-time Italian treat, but they can be severed … er... served for any special occasion. You can use food coloring to create the level of cookie decay you like, from just chopped to falling off the bone. The more detailed you go, the better the fingers look. The trick is to frost under the nails, to get that realistic bloody nail bed look.
There are a number of Witches Fingers recipes out there, including ricotta fingers, fingers stuffed with jam, and extremities of the vegan variety, but I’ve chosen one of the most popular versions from the blog SimplySoGood. They are really easy to make, so, go ahead, whip up a few handfuls!
Witch Finger Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar (confectionery)
1 teaspoon Almond extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon salt if using salted butter)
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
green food coloring
1 tube red decorator gel
In a bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extract; beat in flour, baking powder and salt.
Note: If by chance you do not have unsalted butter, lessen the amount of salt from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon.
Add a few drops of green food coloring until you get the "green" that you want.
Scrape the cookies mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Make sure your blanched almonds are ready to go.
Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into finger shape for each cookie.
* Cook uses an ice cream scoop to measure the dough. That way the fingers will be somewhat uniform in size and shape - somewhat. The cookies will spread out a bit when they cool.
Press almond firmly into one end for the nail. Squeeze in center to create knuckle shape; using a paring knife or toothpick, make several places to form knuckle.
Place on lightly greased baking sheets or parchment lined baking sheets. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for 3 minutes. Lift up almond; squeeze red decorator gel onto nail bed and press almond back into place, so gel oozes out from underneath. Let cool. Makes about 28 large cigar size cookies. If you only use 1 teaspoon of dough, you will get about 4 dozen cookies.