Cheddar witches' fingers, also known as spooky cheese straws or spooky cheese fingers, are a treat for Halloween. They are an alternative to sweeter, but likely more sugar-filled similar treats.
- 12 inches of Parchment paper x2
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 ounces (1 cup packed) shredded, extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional)
- 1 large egg
- Coarse salt
- 30 sliced almonds
- Black food coloring gel (Optional)
- Combine your unsalted butter, cheese, flour, cornmeal, and cayenne (if desired) into a food mixer bowl and insert into the machine. Use the pulse setting until ingredients' texture resembles wet sand.
- Transfer ingredients to mixing bowl and add eggs, mixing together until dough begins to hold together. Pour this mixture out onto a sheet of parchment paper and cover with your other sheet of parchment. Press dough into a circle, roughly ½-inch thick.
- Freeze dough for 15 minutes or refrigerate it up to 3 days. Once ready, remove dough and roll it into rectangles about 8 inches wide and 10 inches long. Return to freezer for another 15 minutes.
- OPTIONAL: Paint almonds while waiting if desired. To do this, mix a small amount of food coloring and water. Use a small paintbrush to color your almonds and set aside to dry.
- Remove dough from freezer and preheat oven to 350ºF. Peel off top parchment sheet and use a sharp knife to cut dough into two 8 x 5" segments. Cut these into 30 ½-inch wide strips and place these onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt, to taste.
- Using your fingers, shape each strip by rounding out the edges. Bending them in varying angles to give a knobby look is recommended. Again taking up your sharp knife, score grooves into each to resemble knuckles. Lightly dab one end of each finger - the end chosen to be the "finger tip" - with water and gently press your almond into the dough. Remember, if you do not add the dab of water, many times the almonds will simply fall out.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the fingers are golden and crisp. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.