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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Zombie Finger Cookies inspired by Hocus Pocus #FoodnFlix

Zombie Finger Cookies
This month for Food 'n Flix, we are watching the 1993 family Halloween flick, Hocus Pocus. I didn't see Hocus Pocus when it originally came out. I'm guessing that's because that was the year I graduated from high school and started college, so it probably wasn't even a blip on my radar at that point. I have caught it on t.v. quite a few times over the (22!) years since, though. But I think this may be the first time I've ever really sat down and watched it with intent.

It's definitely a cute movie for the season. Bette Midler is fantastic because...well...she is Bette Midler. Sarah Jessica Parker is an all-out goofball, but a lovable one. But my favorite characters are probably an adorably young Thora Birch as Dani and Doug Jones (Hell Boy, Falling Skies) as the lovable zombie Billy Butcherson.

In true 90's fashion there are plenty of stereotypes represented in the film: stupid bullies, the new kid in town with a younger sibling who falls for the pretty girl, a talking black cat, aloof parents, and witches with flying broomsticks (and mops and vacuum cleaners...). But personally, I'm always in the mood for cheese, so I'm okay with it.
Zombie Finger Cookies inspired by Hocus Pocus #FoodnFlix
There aren't a whole lot of food-centered scenes, though. You see pumpkins, a jello mold, cheese puffs, and plenty of Halloween candy. There's mention of Mummy Scorpion Pie and Scrod (fish) in breadcrumbs and olive oil. I thought a "witches brew" sort of drink served in a bubbling cauldron could be a fun thing to make, as a nod to the sisters' cauldron.

Billy Butcherson loses his fingers
Ultimately, I chose a scene with the resident zombie, Billy. Billy follows the kids through an underground tunnel in which he has to lift a manhole cover to climb out of. As he looks around with the cover still held up, he hears a motorcycle coming, and as to quickly duck back underground. Well, all of his fingers don't quite make it—they're severed as the manhole cover bangs shut on top of his hand, leaving zombie fingers sitting in the road. This scene (just over 50 minutes into the movie) is the inspiration behind my zombie finger cookies!

You'll often see witches fingers cookies this time of year, and I went into the process with those in mind. I used a fairly basic spritz cookie recipe (the kind you see during the Christmas season a lot) as the base. I wanted to tint it green in honor of Billy's lovely coloring and decided that adding some Matcha to the dough was the way to go. Witches fingers often use almonds as the nail, but I wanted a more craggy, rotting and broken sort of look, so I chose to use pistachios instead. I was pretty pleased with myself because they turned out just as I'd imagined them.

Find more zombie-inspired recipes here!

Zombie Finger Cookies
These rich, buttery cookies with a hint of matcha are shaped like severed zombie fingers to delight kids of all ages during the Halloween season!
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Zombie Finger Cookies
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 30 minutes (active) + 60 minutes (inactive)
Cook Time: 14-16 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert vegetarian soy-free matcha pistachios Halloween cookie American fall

Ingredients (3 dozen)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick / 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Matcha green tea powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 18 pistachios, cut in half the short way (it's good that they look craggy and broken)
  • 2 tablespoons seedless strawberry or raspberry spread, preserves, or jam
Beat the butter, sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extracts together in a medium mixing bowl until light and creamy. Combine the flour, matcha, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, then gradually add it to the wet mixture, beating as you go. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lay a piece of wax paper on your work surface (this is essential as the dough is sticky to work with once it touches the heat of your hands).

Remove dough from the fridge. Spray a 1 teaspoon measuring with nonstick spray, then scoop out a slightly heaping teaspoon of dough onto your wax paper. Use your wax paper to roll the dough into a thin finger-like log.

Press one half of a pistachio into one tip of the log to make a fingernail; press dough around nail a bit to make it look more lifelike. Use a sharp, thin-bladed paring knife to cut a few thin lines in the place where the knuckles would be. Squeeze the dough a bit between the knuckle lines to make them jut out a bit. Transfer finger to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough and pistachios are used up. When lining up the fingers, leave at least an inch between each finger because they puff as they bake.
forming the dough for zombie finger cookies
Slide trays into preheated oven and bake until the cookies have just started to turn golden at the edges, 14 to 16 minutes. If you're baking both trays at once, switch them from top to bottom and front to back halfway through cooking.

Scoop the fruit spread into a small baggie and cut off a tip from one of the corners. While the cookies are still warm, squeeze a thin line of fruit spread all around each fingernail; it's okay if it's a bit messy. It should just give it a sort of "light blood" appearance.

Enjoy immediately or store cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Zombie Finger Cookies
Food 'n Flix Club LogoThis month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Elizabeth at The Lawyer's Cookbook with her timely pick, Hocus Pocus! Submissions are due on October 29th, so if you want to join us this month, you still have a few days to get your Hocus Pocus-inspired food or drink up on your blog.

Also join us next month as we watch The Hundred-Foot Journey, hosted by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.