Halloween recipe: Cheese witch fingers with added revenge
Around a certain time of year, you’ll find about a million Halloween recipes for cheese witch fingers floating around on the web. We just love cooking up the fingers of witches, don’t we?
As if there’s no payback. As if any self-respecting witch is going to just let you get away with that.
This here is a lovely recipe for cheese witch fingers which serves up to 36 and takes an hour to make. If you do it just right, you will not suffer the witch’s revenge… this time.
Mixing the dough in a bowl
I fancied making a bit of DIY piping…
These gnarled lovelies are going in the oven…
Here’s the recipe, and I’ll tell you how to avoid my mistakes, so you don’t get a Halloween trick at the end…
- 1/2 pound (or 230g) of extra mature grated cheddar cheese
- 6 tablespoons (or 80g) of soft unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon of ground salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (smoked, if you like)
- 1 cup (or 125g)of plain or all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water stirred in
- Example decorations: black or green olives, fresh rosemary, sliced almonds, sliced, chorizo for meat-eaters
How to prepare:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add the butter, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and grated cheese to a bowl. Please measure your cheese and butter if you’re not a confident cooker or you will end up with a delicious flaky pastry lake instead of shapely fingers. Process until smooth (I did this with a hand-held food processor). Add the flour and pulse until it’s all mixed in, or use a fork. Plop the dough out onto a work surface and knead until smooth.
Divide the dough into 36 pieces and roll out each piece to make a finger that’s about 4 inches long. Alternatively, you can make home-made piping by cutting a small hole in the corner of a freezer bag, and putting the dough into that to squeeze out onto the trays. Arrange the pieces on baking sheets lined with baking paper or foil, and brush with the egg glaze.
Making the fingernails: You can use sliced almonds, olives or chorizo. They’re all easy, but with sliced almonds you just press them onto the end of each finger to make the fingernail. With olives, quarter them lengthways. With chorizo, cut into slices, remove the outer skin then quarter.
Making the knuckles: Witches have knuckles, don’t they? You can score these with a fork, midway up the finger, but for taste and extra hairiness I prefer to nip a few spines off a sprig of rosemary.
Refrigerate the cheese fingers for about fifteen minutes until they’re firm. Please do this – I did not do this.
Bake the cheese fingers in the top and bottom of the oven for around 25 minutes until they’re golden, then cool and serve.
Your witch fingers will NOT look like this. Here’s where mine went wrong…
1) I’ve made this recipe before to great success, but this time I didn’t measure the cheese and butter properly. I did it by eye. By greedy eye. That’s why my fingers spread. I love cheese and butter so much.
2) I didn’t refridgerate the fingers for 15 minutes once I’d made them.
3) The oven heat requirements in this recipe are accurate, but I forgot I was using a new super-hot fan oven and should have dropped the temperate to accommodate the fan assistance.
I still served my witch fingers at an office Halloween party, because they were delicious. Cue comments like “well, Halloween is supposed to be about horror.”
I re-named the dish Melted Cheese Witch, in honour of this…
Contrary to popular belief, witches are probably quite reasonable, pragmatic people. The surest way to avoid suffering the vengeance of a witch is to at least cook her fingers properly, not the way I did. It’s a pride thing. Witches are proud.
Another way to stay vengeance-free is to simply not eat her fingers.
A final method probably needs to be supplied in detail by a better baker than I am, and that is to at least take the trouble to come up with recipes to serve up the rest of her, from boot to pointed tip. Waste not, want not!