Guys, Halloween is in a week! Sure, sure, Halloween is about the kids. But I don’t have any kids, not many come by my house trick-or-treating, and the cats seem adverse to any efforts of cute Halloween costumes. So, why not cook up some Halloween treats just for the kids at heart, and sneak a little beer into a Halloween classic; spooky witches finger shortbread. *Insert devious cackle here.*
Granville Island Brewing recently sent me a challenge, to modify one of their favourite Halloween recipes, along with the beer to make it happen. I decided to use their small batch Mocha Porter, which has a good balance of coffee and cocoa, and rich enough to notice when added to a cookie. (If you aren’t familiar with their small batch series, see my last post.) The best beer recipes are the ones using large bottles; a classic “some for the recipe, some for me,” which is when I cook at my finest, clearly. There’s nothing scary about adding beer to a recipe, it’s easy…but you may be a little more spooked by how creepy these look!
Drunken witch fingers with mocha porter
1/2 cup chocolate or mocha porter beer
1 tsp corn starch
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup icing sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
24 whole almonds, blanched
2-3 tbsp smooth strawberry jam
1) Mix 1/2 cup beer with corn starch, whisking until fully combined. The rest of the beer is all yours – a secret potion to enjoy while you bake!
2) Pour into a small saucepan and cook on low heat, about 10 minutes. The consistency should be that of a runny gravy and it should have reduced by at least half, to make 1/4 cup of liquid.
3) Stir the cocoa powder into the beer mixture.
4) In a separate bowl, cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
5) Add in flour and mix on medium speed until just combined, the mixture should be very dry.
6) Add the cocoa-beer liquid to the bowl and mix until fully combined, scraping down once to ensure it is fully incorporated.
7) Chill dough in fridge for 30 minutes.
8) Portion into 1″ balls, then roll into logs, to shape like fingers.
9) Using a toothpick, press lines down across the dough logs to make knuckles and wrinkles.
10) Stick one almond into the end of each “finger” and press down halfway to make a nail.
11) Using a piping bag with a fine tip, outline the top half of the nail with jam. Alternatively, you can put a blob of jam on before the almond, and press down so it oozes out the sides.
12) Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees, for 15-20 minutes, or until just starting to golden.
Have a happy Halloween everyone!