Best Halloween Witch Finger Cookies

Make witch finger cookies for Halloween using my favorite 4-ingredient shortbread recipe. The creepy presentation looks just like dirty knobby fingers, and scraped almonds appear to be bloody nails. These are a MUST-make dessert for Halloween parties!

overhead table with silver tray full of finger cookies for Halloween, plus more finger cookies on table scattered

What’s on your Halloween party menu? These realistic witch finger cookies should be! They’re shortbread cookies that look just like severed fingers and I first shared them here in 2012.

I made them one year for Ladies Night and one gal wouldn’t even eat them because they were so realistic and creepy looking!

The trick to getting knobby fingers is in the rolling of the dough. You don’t want finger cookies that are straight up and down. You want them thin with big gnarly knuckles!

witch finger cookies on dark table with plastic spider decoration

Perfect for parties

Creepy Halloween Fingers

These would make great party favors too. Wrap them in cellophane bags or small boxes and add one of our FREE Halloween printable tags to dress them up.

Place the creepy witch fingers upright in mini pots of Oreo cookie “dirt” for a fun way to serve individual portions. I came up with this combination for the ‘dirt’ and it tastes delicious! It’s a pretty free-form recipe but it should be foolproof.

Mix together equal amounts of crumbled chocolate Swiss cake rolls and Cool Whip, plus 1 crushed Oreo, per pot. Top it with more crushed Oreo’s and insert the fingers!

cookies shaped like fingers on white cheese cloth on silver tray

How to Make Shortbread Finger Cookies

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe. Full instructions are in the recipe card below.

  • Prepared shortbread cookie dough recipe
  • Whole Almonds
  • Red food decorator gel
  • Cocoa powder
  • Raspberry or strawberry jam, plus water
  1. Pinch off sections of dough and roll them between your hands like a log. To make “fingers” roll 3 segments, 2 ends and the middle, very thinly and leave two areas thicker for the “knuckles.” Keep them about 5 inches long.
  2. Use a small paring knife or toothpick to cut shallow lines into the knuckles.
  3. Prepare the almond “nails” by scraping off the top layer of the almond {the brown part}, but leaving some striations for effect. Use a small pairing knife to do this.
  4. Press almonds into one end of the dough and bake on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Lightly brush cocoa powder onto cookies to give them a dirty look, and bake.
  6. Remove cookies from oven and let them sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  7. Once the cookies are cooled completely, use the red decorator gel to adhere the almonds to the cookie, and to outline the almond to look like blood.
  8. Heat jam with water in the microwave for 1 minute. Combine well and serve as a “bloody” dipping sauce.
  9. To give the look of severed fingers, add a dab of jam mixture to the plain end of the cookie.
finger cookie dough shapes on baking pan
adding almond nails to finger cookies with red decorator gel

PRO TIP: Make a small test batch first, to make sure you have your shaping technique right. 

If you don’t roll them thin enough you won’t get the proper knuckle to finger ratio and you’ll have straight cookies instead of shapely ones.

Variations to Try

  • Add a few drops of green food coloring when you’re mixing the dough, for green witch fingers.
  • Substitute almond or orange extract for the vanilla when you’re mixing the shortbread recipe.
  • Use sliced almonds for the nails instead of the whole almonds.
  • If you don’t want to use the red decorating gel because of the food coloring, you can substitute red raspberry or strawberry jam to adhere the almonds and get that bloody effect.
Halloween severed fingers cookies with clever and spiders

Make-Ahead Tips

These cookies take time to make and decorate. For that reason I recommend making them up to 3 days ahead and storing them in an air tight container.

You can even freshen them up before a party by warming them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. That will give them a fresh-baked flavor without impacting the decorated effects. Make sure to cool completely before serving.

You can also prep ahead by making the dough and storing it covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to make the witch fingers, make sure you let the dough warm up to room temperature so it’s easier to work with.

PRO TIP: The dough is best to work with when it’s at room temperature, but not too warm. If your cookies start to spread too much during baking, your dough is probably too warm. Put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up before you continue baking.

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cookies look like witch fingers on white gauze with Halloween props, spiders

Best Witch Finger Cookies

Yield: 22 cookies
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Serve the best witch finger cookies for Halloween parties and give them a creepy bloody presentation. Shortbread cookie dough, whole almonds, and decorator gel make these the perfect Halloween dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Whole almonds, unsalted
  • Red decorating gel
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

"Bloody" Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on low.
  2. Add vanilla and combine.
  3. Gradually add flour while continuing to mix on low.
  4. With your hands form a ball with the dough and then press down to form a disk shape.
  5. Cut or pinch off 1/2 inch sections of dough to roll and shape.
  6. To make “fingers” roll 3 segments, the 2 ends and the middle, very thinly and leave two areas thicker for the “knuckles.” Keep them about 5 inches long.
  7. Use a small paring knife to cut shallow lines into the knuckles. Also use it to scratch off the top brown layer of the almonds, leaving some striations for effect.
  8. Press almonds into one end of the dough and bake on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  9. Use a small pastry brush to lightly brush cocoa powder onto cookies to give them a dirty look.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and let them sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. Use the red decorator gel to adhere the almonds to the cookie, and to outline the almond to look like blood.
  12. Heat jam and water together in the microwave for 1 minute. Combine well and serve as a “bloody” dipping sauce. Add a dollop to the ends of fingers too, if desired.

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9 Comments

  1. Hey there! These are awesome! I love the presentation. I plan to make these for our Halloween party. Thanks.

  2. Oh wow… those are clever! I love when people do cool things for holidays even though I never do them myself…

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