Hye Thyme Cafe: Zombie Finger Cookies (A New Twist on an Old Favorite)

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Zombie Finger Cookies (A New Twist on an Old Favorite)

Zombie Finger Cookies : Hye Thyme Cafe

I have seen a bazillion versions of Zombie Fingers online, and aside from maybe coloring them green, they're all pretty much the same; finger-shaped cookies with almond slivers or halves for fingernails. Some press the almond over red icing to make it look like blood along the cuticle, but I don't get why they would be bleeding there. A while back, a friend of mine posted one such recipe on Facebook, and in looking at the photo, it struck me that not everyone is zombified sans manicure, and I would venture to guess that more than a few even have tattoos on a finger or two. That's when I knew I had to make a batch, but I had to wait for an excuse. An office pot-luck was convened at just the right time for me to play.

The reason I'm not posting an actual recipe is that I wanted to bake something that wouldn't rise or spread too much and lose the detail of the fingers, so I found a recipe on a cookie baker's page claiming that they use this particular recipe for just that reason. Well, they didn't turn out too bad, but they definitely did rise and spread, making them larger than I wanted. Also, the flavor of this particular recipe was just OK, so I will definitely play around with these again but figure out my own cookie base.

Not being sure what I wanted to do about the nails, I first bought a box of DOTS candies, intending to use cross-sections for fingernails, rolling them out a bit for different sizes, etc. That would have killed two birds with one stone - they would have nails, and some would be pre-colored/manicured. Then marzipan came to mind. Of course, I always do things inside out, upside-down or backward, so I made the mistake of starting with the DOTS. Once I made a few nails with the marzipan, I went back and ripped off all of the DOTS I had already used to replace them with marzipan.

Dang it!! Typing marzipan just gave me an idea - TOO LATE!  I was contemplating painting a few rings onto fingers too, thinking just because a finger got ripped/chopped off a zombie doesn't necessarily mean their jewelry fell off. I decided against that, but it just occurred to me that the marzipan would have worked great!  Just knead in a bit of color to make it gold or whatever and wrap it around the finger. If you're really patient and have a steady hand, you could even make a design for the top rather than just doing a band. Why didn't I think of that sooner?!?

To shape the cookies, you just pinch off a little dough, roll it into a log, and rip off one end to make it jagged.  You can pinch in the sides a bit to give the knuckles definition. For the knuckle lines, I used a melon baller because it has two different size scoops. I pressed the larger end for the outside lines and the smaller end for the inside lines. You could just use the tip of a spoon.

Zombie Finger Cookies : Hye Thyme Cafe
Zombie Finger Cookies : Hye Thyme Cafe

Zombie Finger Cookies : Hye Thyme Cafe

For the colors, I mixed a bit of powdered sugar with a few drops of milk and a touch of extract in tiny prep bowls and stirred in some Wilton gel coloring. Having seen lots of Zombie Fingers with the open ends dipped in red that was nowhere close to blood red, I first tried mixing the red with a bit of bergundy (turned out to be closer to pink than bergundy), then added a bit of brown thinking it would look more like dried blood. Brush on a bit of cocoa powder to make them look "dirty."

I'm sure that 99.9% of you are perfectly comfortable piping things like this, but I'm known to be heavy handed and presuppose that I will squeeze too hard and gush icing all over the kitchen, so I actually use a lobster pick or tiny paint brush for icing. It's probably slower that way, but it gives me better control. Whatever you find that works for you is great.

I had to laugh when two people came up to me after the pot-luck to compliment me on the cookies but tell me they were too grossed out to eat one. Lucky for them, I also made Pumpkin Bars and Chicken Chili. I had also planned to make a Graveyard Cake, but that imploded on me! I had already baked and written out cookie headstones, piped a chocolate gate, bought other edible decorations, fluffed the frosting, etc., but when I went to invert the cake out of the pan to begin decorating, it completely imploded. I guess using a Devil's Food cake for a little Halloween irony was the wrong choice. :(

Zombie Finger Cookies : Hye Thyme CafeZombie Finger Cookies : Hye Thyme Cafe

Zombie Finger Cookies : Hye Thyme Cafe

Zombie Finger Cookies : Hye Thyme Cafe

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!  


  1. My 14 year old is having a Halloween party, and I asked him if he wanted me to make these. He said no, not because didn't want them, but because he doesn't think I can make them look as good as you did. Sounds like a challenge to me! :)

  2. That's hysterical! They were definitely easy once I swtiched from the candy and another idea I had for the nails to the marzipan. Once thing I should have done but don't think I mentioned was brush the cocoa powder on AFTER I did the nails so they would be "dirty" too. I thought about trying to do a few broken nails but figured the cuts would look to clean and ruin the effect. Have fun if you make them! :)


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