Gnarly Witches’ Fingers

A shortbread recipe for ugly witches’ fingers, made more realistic with almond fingernails and optional “blood”. Gruesome yes, but tasty!

Gnarly Witches' Fingers

Gnarly Witches’ Fingers


  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups whole, unblanched almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Sift flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, icing sugar, egg and extracts together until well-blended.
  3. Add flour and salt mixture and stir just until combined. Cover dough and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough into a log the diameter of an adult’s finger (about 1/2 - 3/4”). Cut log into 4 inch lengths. Place fingers on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Place a whole almond at one end to make a fingernail. Just behind the “nail”, pinch the dough to form the upper knuckle. Pinch again further down to make the lower knuckle. Take a knife (if the kids are doing this part, use a dull knife) and mark lines across the knuckles to make them realistic. Continue with the rest of the dough.
  5. When fingers are done, place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
  6. Decorating:
  7. To make the fingers even more gory looking, lift the almond off the finger when the cookies come out of the oven and squirt a bit of red decorating gel into the nail bed, then reinsert the almond. This is a job for mom or dad, not kids.

Author: Jennifer Arnold

Jennifer Arnold is the pastry chef and owner of The Sweet Kitchen in Lindsay. You can reach her by email at

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