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Witch finger cookies are a classic Halloween treat! These tender almond-flavored sugar cookies are shaped into fingers and topped with a blood-red almond fingernail for a creepy finishing touch.
🧙♀️Halloween Finger Cookies
These witch finger cookies are Halloween classics! Not only are they delicious, but they give you the perfect opportunity to offer people a plate of “lady fingers” in a creepy voice. (And don’t forget to add a mad scientist laugh at the end!) If making gross-out Halloween desserts and extra-cheesy puns is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
My Witch Finger Cookie recipe is an almond sugar cookie, made with almond extract, almond flour, and–of course–whole almonds for the fingernails. They have a soft and tender texture, with a bit of a crunch on the outside that works well with the crunchy, blood-red almond fingernail. They’re delicious on their own, but even better when dipped in a mug of Red Velvet Hot Chocolate!
These creepy finger cookies will set the mood for a scary movie night or Halloween party. If you love all things spooky, check out my Witch’s Brew Halloween Punch, Donut Hole Eyeballs, Bloody Truffles, Melting Chocolate Skulls and Brain Cupcakes, too!
🧾 What You’ll Need
The witch fingers might be scary, but the list of ingredients is definitely not. Chances are you have almost everything you need already! Here’s what you need to know to make these cookies a success. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)
- Butter: You’ll want unsalted butter. Leave it at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before making the recipe, so it’s soft and mixes well with the sugar.
- Powdered sugar: Using powdered sugar gives the cookies a more delicate, tender, slightly crumbly texture.
- Egg: We want the egg to be at room temperature too, so it incorporates easily into the dough.
- Vanilla and almond extract: The combination of vanilla and almond makes these cookies irresistible.
- Almond flour: Almond flour is very finely ground almonds. You can use “almond meal” if that is what is available, but the texture is coarser and the cookies will probably be crumblier.
- All-purpose flour: If you don’t want to use almond flour OR meal, you can replace it with an additional 3/4 cup (3 1/8 oz) all-purpose flour.
- Blanched almonds: Using blanched almonds (almonds with the skins removed) is ideal if you want to paint them with food coloring. You can buy them blanched, or you can follow my easy instructions for blanching almonds here.
- Red gel food coloring: Coloring the almonds is optional, so if you want to skip it, feel free! If you do want blood-red almonds, gel food coloring gives a better bang for your buck as opposed to liquid. I use Americolor Super Red coloring.
How to Blanch Almonds
Can’t find blanched almonds? No sweat, it’s SUPER easy to make your own! You’ll want to do this step first, before you make the cookie dough.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the almonds, and let them boil for 60 seconds. Alternately, boil water in a kettle and pour the boiling water over a bowl of almonds. Let them sit for 1-2 minutes.
- Strain the almonds, run them under cool water, and then squeeze them between your fingers to quickly remove the almond skins.
📋 How to Make Witch Fingers
Ready to start baking? Here’s a quick picture tutorial showing how to make Witch Finger Cookies! Full instructions are included in the recipe card down below.
1. Paint the almond fingernails
- Pat freshly blanched almonds dry before coloring them.
- Use a small food-safe paintbrush and red gel coloring, and paint the top of each almond until it is bright red.
2. Make the cookie dough
- Whisk together the flour, almond meal, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and beat for about a minute.
- With the mixer running on low, add the egg and both extracts, and beat until they’re incorporated.
- Add the flour to the dough, and mix just until most of the flour streaks disappear.
3. Shape the dough into witch fingers
- Take a walnut-sized ball of dough, and roll the dough between your palms until it is a long thin snake.
- Press your finger about halfway down the dough to widen it for the knuckle.
- Use a toothpick to press horizontal lines into the cookie above and across the knuckle. Repeat until all of your cookies are formed.
- Press a red almond into one end for the fingernail.
- Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until they’re puffed and have lost their raw shine.
- Not an almond fan? It’s easy to turn these into regular sugar cookies instead. Replace the almond flour with an additional 3/4 cup (3 1/8 oz) all-purpose flour, and omit the almond extract.
- Change the flavoring extract and use lemon, orange, or coconut extract instead.
- If you don’t want to bother with blanching and painting almonds, skip the food coloring and just use regular whole almonds instead.
- Add a dollop of red jam under the almond nail to make the nails look bloody.
- Swap the whole almond for a slivered almond, or use another nut entirely, like peanuts or cashews.
- Add food coloring to the dough for extra Halloween vibes. You can make green, purple or orange witchy fingers!
- Dip the ends of the cookies in jam right before serving to make them look bloody.
💡 Tips and FAQs
Red Velvet Marshmallow Spiderweb Cake
Witch Finger Cookies
- 48 whole blanched almonds, see Note below
- 2 tsp red gel food coloring, I used Americolor Super Red
- 8 oz butter, at room temperature
- 8 oz powdered sugar, (2 cups)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 15 oz all-purpose flour, (3.5 cups)
- 2.5 oz almond flour, (¾ cup)
- 1 tsp salt
To make the almond fingernails:
- Use a small food-safe paintbrush and red gel food coloring, and paint the top of each almond until it is bright red. Let them sit on a sheet of paper towel and dry. The almonds can be painted several days in advance.
To make the cookies:
- Whisk together the flour, almond meal, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
- Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium speed for about 1 minute, until fluffy and well-combined.
- Add the egg and both extracts, and beat on medium-low speed. It is natural for the mixture to look separated at this point.
- With the mixer running on low, add the flour to the dough, and mix just until most of the flour streaks disappear. Stop the mixer and finish mixing with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl very well. The dough should be soft and smooth but not sticky.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Take a walnut-sized ball of dough, (if you have a scale, I used about .75 oz per cookie) and roll the dough between your palms until it is a long thin snake, about 4-5 inches long.
- Place the dough on a baking sheet and press a red almond into one end for the fingernail. Press your finger about halfway down the dough to widen it for the knuckle. Use a toothpick to press horizontal lines into the cookie under the almond, and across the knuckle. Repeat until all of the cookie “fingers” have been shaped.
- Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. The cookies should lose their raw shine and look puffed up, but they will not take on much color. Cool them completely on the baking sheets.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If some almonds fall off during storage, you can always stick them on using a little melted candy coating as glue.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
About Elizabeth LaBau
I’m Elizabeth, but you can call me SugarHero! I’m a former pastry chef turned blogger, cookbook author, and baking instructor, and I consider myself sugar’s #1 fan. Learn more from my About page, or connect with me on social media: