Witch Finger Cookies (without food coloring!)

These healthier witch finger cookies use jam in place of food coloring! They can be made with all-purpose flour or with white whole wheat flour for a 100% whole grain version. The perfect, gory Halloween dessert!

I’m preparing for a Halloween party and had no intention of posting these bloody witch fingers but after seeing how they came out, I just have to!

I’ve been struggling to come up with Halloween desserts that are totally free of processed food so I was ridiculously happy to have come across these. It’s been done a thousand times before, I know, but these are a little less processed.

These bloody witch finger cookies use jam in place of food coloring! Can be made with all-purpose flour or with whole wheat for a 100% whole grain version. The perfect Halloween recipe!

All of the witch finger cookies I found use red decorating gel. Food coloring doesn’t normally bother me (I know it should) but the thought of eating red decorating gel makes me queasy.

So here we have some awesome strawberry jam. And it complements the almond flavor perfectly.

I also used it in 3 of the 4 recipes I link to below. It makes for some awesomely delicious blood.

These healthier witch finger cookies use jam in place of food coloring! Can be made with all-purpose flour or with whole wheat for a 100% whole grain version. The perfect Halloween dessert!

Make sure to use a jam that doesn’t have large chunks of strawberries in it. I guess you could, if you want them to be messy and have the appearance of blood clots. That could be interesting. :D

To be honest, I think these shortbread cookies are kind of boring tasting without the jam. Strawberry jam helps out with the taste a lot. Raspberry jam would also be great but for the blood effect, I think strawberry is better.

I’m not a crunchy cookie kind of girl. I think out of all my cookie recipes, only 2-3 aren’t soft and chewy. But these are an exception! We absolutely love these shortbread cookies.

If you don’t have white whole wheat flour, you could use all-purpose flour in these witch finger cookies. I’m guessing whole spelt would also work well! You may need to add a tiny bit of extra flour if the dough is extra sticky.

Unfortunately, I haven’t tried to make them gluten-free yet. It’s on my list!

Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-free Baking Flour would probably work, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure.

So what kind of desserts are you making for Halloween? I’m bummed I’m just now getting on the Halloween bandwagon. These bloody witch finger cookies are so fun!

For a fun healthy Halloween drink (also without food coloring!), try this Halloween punch with eyeballs from Food Doodles!

Update: people freaked out over these witch fingers at the Halloween party! Definitely a hit. :)

Looking for more Halloween desserts that can be made healthier?

Eyeball Cupcakes
Eyeball Cupcakes for Halloween
Spider Cupcakes for Halloween
Spider Cupcakes
Halloween Cake with Eyeballs
Halloween Cake with Eyeballs
Healthy Halloween Monster Mouths
Healthy Halloween Monster Mouths (paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Bloody Witch Fingers (easy and without food coloring)

  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 60 cookies


  • 1 cup butter (226 grams), softened
  • 1 cup (115 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 large (50 grams, out of shell) egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups (334 grams) white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour (or a mix of the two)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (105 grams) blanched almonds
  • 1/2 - 1 cup (118 - 236ml) strawberry jam


  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract and mix. When well combined, add the flour and salt. When thoroughly combined, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Take about a fourth of the dough out of the fridge and begin rolling out the fingers. I rolled them out the size of my pinky, both in length and thickness. Add an almond to the tip for the fingernail and press down to make sure it's secure. Form a knuckle by squeezing (see the picture above!) and then use a knife to make some creases. Place on a Silpat on a cookie sheet (or just a cookie sheet), leaving about a centimeter between them. Repeat with the rest of the dough until the cookie sheet is full.
  3. Bake for 17 - 22 minutes or until slightly golden. Let the cookies cool, and then remove the almonds from the cookies. Add some jam in the cavities and then put the almonds back, making sure you used enough jam for them to ooze a little. Also add some jam around knuckles for extra nastiness. I used about 1/2 cup jam and used the rest as "dip."
  4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can also keep them in the fridge to keep them for longer (about a week).


  • If you live in Germany, you need to use half Type 550 for the all-purpose flour and half Type 405 (which is the normal kind you find everywhere). You can get Type 550 at any non-discounter. For the almond extract, I used two vials of Bittermandel Backaroma.

Adapted from Allrecipes

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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59 comments on “Witch Finger Cookies (without food coloring!)” — Add one!

2 comments are awaiting moderation!

  • Dr rashmi says
    October 30, 2020 @ 5:30 am

    Hi… id jus like to know if u did add baking powder or not? I made mine with baking powder n they puffed up n looked weird.pls do reply

    • Erin replies to Dr rashmi
      October 30, 2020 @ 5:49 am

      There’s no baking powder listed in the recipe. Since you added baking powder, that’s why they puffed up. Why did you add baking powder?

  • Larkin says
    October 25, 2019 @ 10:00 pm

    Ok to leave the dough in the frighted overnight?

    • Larkin replies to Larkin
      October 25, 2019 @ 10:01 pm

      I meant *refrigerator

    • Erin replies to Larkin
      October 26, 2019 @ 1:32 pm

      It is! Hope you’ll enjoy them. :)

  • lisa says
    October 24, 2019 @ 6:10 am

    Thank you Erin for this recipe! I will do them for halloween. Just a question: how do you store them and how long in advance can we make them?
    Many thanks for your answer

    • Erin replies to lisa
      October 24, 2019 @ 9:09 pm

      You’re welcome! Thanks for pointing out that that info was missing. Just added it! Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also keep them in the fridge to keep them for longer (about a week). :) I’d love to hear how they come out!

  • Sawyer says
    March 22, 2019 @ 5:46 pm

    Hey Erin,
    Do you have any video tutorial of this recipe?

    • Erin replies to Sawyer
      March 27, 2019 @ 7:47 pm

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! Unfortunately I don’t. :)

  • Karen says
    October 25, 2018 @ 2:12 pm

    Have you tried making these gluten free? I’m wondering if I could substitute gluten free all purpose flour or almond flour. Any thoughts?

    • Erin replies to Karen
      October 28, 2018 @ 6:24 pm

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question! I’m probably too late now but for anyone else wondering, almond flour won’t work but a GF 1-to-1 flour might. But I’m really not sure since I haven’t tried it. Sorry again!

  • Mary says
    October 29, 2017 @ 5:08 pm

    These didn’t work out for me, they all came out completely thin & flat. I’m not sure what I did wrong. In the recipe it lists 1 1/3 cup of flour twice, so was it supposed to be 2 2/3 cups of flour total? I assumed it was accidentally listed twice, so only did the 1 1/3 cups. Is that where I messed up?
    Thank you!

    • Erin replies to Mary
      October 29, 2017 @ 5:20 pm

      Hello! The recipe is correct, so that’s indeed where you went wrong. You can see my comment about the flour in this comment. I’m sorry about that! I’m not sure of how else to list it to divide it up properly.

  • Beverly says
    October 25, 2017 @ 5:11 pm

    Cool creative spooky cookies.
    I’m going to bake some today. Can I put the jam on and then the almond nail before I bake them?

    • Erin replies to Beverly
      October 25, 2017 @ 5:43 pm

      Thanks! It’s been a long time since I posted these but I think I tested out both versions (putting on the jam before and after baking) and they looked nicer when you add the jam afterwards. Hope you’ll enjoy the cookies!

  • Nicole says
    October 12, 2017 @ 9:03 pm

    Love these! So cute and creepy.

  • Liza says
    May 7, 2017 @ 2:57 pm

    Hi,can i use unsalted,salted or sweet butter?

    • Erin replies to Liza
      May 7, 2017 @ 9:53 pm

      I used unsalted but any kind will work fine!

  • Andrew webb says
    October 14, 2016 @ 3:13 pm

    Hi Erin, can I use an image and link to your recipe for our Halloween food round up for http://www.theculturetrip.com

  • Sheri Vernet says
    October 25, 2015 @ 11:40 pm

    These devilish digits are so finger licking good. Thanks so much for the Wonderful recipe!

    • Erin replies to Sheri Vernet
      October 27, 2015 @ 10:20 pm

      So happy you liked them! Thanks a bunch for your feedback. :)

  • Bonnie says
    October 27, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

    I am new at pinterest, so I am hoping this works. The flour was listed twice on the recipe. Was that a type o or was that how much flour to actually use? Thanks.

    • Erin replies to Bonnie
      October 27, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

      Your comment worked (but you’re no longer on Pinterest. ;)) The flour isn’t a typo. You can either use all all-purpose flour or white whole wheat (2 2/3 cups total) or you can use a mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, if you want. I separated it like that because I don’t recommend using all traditional whole wheat flour, because these will taste very wheaty. My favorite way is with all white whole wheat – it’s all the nutrition of regular whole wheat but not so wheat-y tasting! I hope that makes sense. :)

  • Amy says
    October 18, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

    I made these for our school staff luncheon and they were a hit! Everyone loved the look, and they weren’t overly sweet. I also jokingly said “Arthritic” fingers made arthritic fingers. (Not far from the the truth)

    • Erin replies to Amy
      October 19, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

      Haha. Well, I’m happy that everyone enjoyed them! And what a fun thing to bring for the school staff. :) Thank you so much for the feedback!

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles says
    November 1, 2012 @ 12:29 am

    These look SOOO awesome! I've seen these witch finger cookies before, but they have never looked this good! Or bad. I'm not sure how to say that, but hopefully you know what I mean. These are awesome :D

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
    October 30, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

    Great job with these! Super fun, and the strawberry jam sounds like the perfect dipper!

  • Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations says
    October 30, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

    Uuhh..spooky! But shortbread with strawberry jam sounds soo yummy! And I totally miss having those little vials for flavorings. I know they can be awkward to handle, but somehow they always bring up nostalgic childhood memories of Christmas cookie baking.

  • Fabelicious says
    October 30, 2012 @ 4:05 am

    They actually look delicious, weird as it may sound, lol. I love shortbread and almonds so this is a winner for me. And love the blood too!

    • Erin replies to Fabelicious
      November 2, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

      Haha. Thanks! Happy you think they look delicious. They at least taste that way!

  • Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen says
    October 29, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

    Oh my gosh, these are SO cool! I can't believe you made these, you are so talented!!

  • Lada says
    October 29, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

    They look great, how about painting the nails :-))))

    • Erin replies to Lada
      October 29, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

      Aww, man. Where were you and Loretta from above when I was making these?! You two are genius! Next time I'm definitely painting the nails and making boils. Yuck.

  • eatgood4life.blogspot.com says
    October 29, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    These are awesome….they really look real with the strawberry jam :-) My kids would love them!!

  • Loretta E. says
    October 29, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    Wow, those do look nasty! It would be sweet if some of them had boils as well. Blah! I bet they taste great, though!

    • Erin replies to Loretta E.
      October 29, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

      OH NO! Boils! Nooooo. Why didn't I think of that?! You're genius.

  • angela @ anotherbiteplease says
    October 28, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

    oh my gosh those look crazy real…lol that would be funny to eat.

  • london bakes says
    October 28, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    These are so awesome Erin! I love how creepy they are!

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction says
    October 28, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    these are totally creeping me out!!! I LOVE THEM! so fun.

  • Lora says
    October 28, 2012 @ 1:33 am

    I love your healthy makeover of these. Such a great Halloween treat.

    • Erin replies to Lora
      October 29, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

      I wouldn't call them healthy exactly but I suppose they're a little better. :)

  • Baltic Maid says
    October 28, 2012 @ 1:18 am

    These are AwEsOmE!!! I love them… And using jam sounds soo much better than gel. I am glad you decided to post these. Plain awesomeness!!! :-D Happy Halloween!

    • Erin replies to Baltic Maid
      October 29, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

      Thank you! And happy Halloween to you, too! :)

  • amy @ fearless homemaker says
    October 27, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

    They are, in fact, disgusting, but in the best possible way!! =)

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day says
    October 27, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    Oh my gosh these are adorable, I can't believe how real they look. Amazing job, Erin!

  • Becca says
    October 27, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

    Yes, it's kind of creepy looking, but that's the fun of Halloween. I bet they were a lit at the party, and I like the idea of dipping cookies into jam :) It sounds tasty :)

    • Erin replies to Becca
      October 29, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

      They were! People were all, "EWW!" and "OH MY GOSH!" and a lot of people were even raving about the cookie themselves. I liked them too, but you know, I'm a chewy cookie girl. :)


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