Witches’ Finger Cookies And Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

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Witches’ finger cookies served with red velvet hot chocolate ‘blood’ make a spooktacular treat for Halloween!

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Ingredients

Witches’ Finger Cookies

  • 225 g (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
  • 145 g (1 cup) icing (powdered) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 360 g (3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 110 g (3/4 cup) blanched almonds halved
  • ground cinnamon
  • red gel food colouring
  • a little melted chocolate if needed

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate (per 1 cup):

  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese (regular or low fat is fine)
  • 240 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 40 g (1.5 oz) dark chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • red gel food colouring

Instructions

Witches’ Finger Cookies

  1. To make the witch finger cookies: Place the butter and icing sugar in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until just combined. Add the egg and vanilla and almond extracts and whisk again to mix.
  2. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and add to the bowl; fold it in until it forms a dough. Cover and place in the fridge for half an hour.
  3. Line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment. Working with ¼ of the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the fridge, measure out ½ Tbsp quantities of dough (don’t use more than this or your cookies will end up way too big). Roll each into a ball then roll out into a log shape.
  4. Press a blanched almond into one end to form a fingernail, then lightly flour your hands and use them to shape it into a knobbly finger shape. The cookies will spread a little in the oven so you need to make sure that you make them quite thin – thinner than you want the cookies to end up. Use the back of a knife to make indentations in the knuckles to make them look more like fingers.
  5. Place the shaped cookies well spaced apart on the prepared baking sheets then place them in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, until frozen solid (this helps stop them spreading in the oven).
  6. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until pale golden. You will need to bake them in batches, keep the rest of the cookies in the freezer.
  7. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray. When you are ready to decorate, use a little melted chocolate to stick on any fingernails that have come loose. Rub a little bit of ground cinnamon into the creases in the joints to make them look dirty.
  8. Use a fine, food-only paintbrush to paint some red gel food colouring around the edge of the nails and on the ‘stumps’. If you find that the colouring is too thick to paint or too dark in colour then you can thin it with a drop of vodka or water. Once the food colouring has dried, store the cookies in an airtight container.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate:

  1. To make the hot chocolate, stir together the cornflour and a drop of the milk to form a slurry. Place the cream cheese in a saucepan and whisk in the cornflour slurry until smooth. Gradually whisk in the rest of the milk. Add the chocolate, vanilla extract, sugar and salt to the pan and place over a medium heat.
  2. Cook, stirring regularly, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in some red gel food colouring, a little at a time, until you reach the desired shade.

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