Creepy Witch Fingers Bread Sticks for Halloween

Savory with little sweet surprise. You tell if it is Trick or Treat?

I am sure, you are no stranger to bread sticks. Sold almost in all Italian restaurants around and all over the world, these long and thin bread sticks are commonly referred as "Grissini" in Italian. Some restaurants serve'em complimentary as your wait for food and some serve with soup. 

Crispy and crusty taste of Grissin dipped in marinara is my special favorite!

previously.... I used to hate bread sticks....

okay! I admit.... until yesterday I hated'em....

why? Well!! I had not-so-good experience with bread sticks and tomato soup while traveling a few years ago. Even though underlying cause was clearly something else, I cursed that tomato soup and bread stick combo while lying on hospital bed. Afterwards.... the taste of tomato soup and bread sticks never agreed with me again.

Recently, after eating a few roasted garlic-tomato bowls at Boudin, my love for tomato soup has certainly returned.... but... bread sticks!!! these were still sitting apart... knocking on my door-steps every-time I visit any Italian eatery.... but I was never ready to...

Total Time: Prep Time: Cook Time:
Difficulty: Intermediate
Yields: 32 long breadsticks Serves: 12
Notes: if making small/large sticks like I did, you can make good 50-55 sticks

Ingredients

    Bread Sticks

  • 1/2 Cup Semolina (yellow or white semolina flour)
  • 2.5 tsp Active Dry Yeast (one package)
  • 3 Cup All-Purpose Flour (plus 2 tablespoon)
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil (plus extra for greasing parchment paper)
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 Cup Water (use only lukewarm water)
  • Halloween Theme Witch Fingers

  • 1/4 Cup Blueberries (i used dried blueberries, you can also use raisins)
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds (for witch finger-nails)
  • 2 Cup Marinara Sauce (use deep red marinara, for fixing finger nails, and for serving)

Directions

  • 1. Bread Stick Dough - In a wide mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 1 tbsp sugar and sprinkle yeast on the top. Set aside for foaming action.
    Additional Notes:
    If using store bought dough, simply jump to step 12.
  • 2. Yeast takes about 10 minutes to foam. If it does not foam, it is no good. While yeast foams, in a small bowl, take all of semolina flour, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, and salt and mix well.
  • 3. Add semolina-flour mix to bowl with yeast. Add olive oil.
  • 4. Also add rest of 1 cup lukewarm water (105 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 5. Use a spatula to combine all ingredients.
  • 6. Mix should be creamy and without lumps. (mix for a minute)
  • 7. Now add 1 cup more flour and then 1/2 cup at a time until dough starts to come together. I often use spatula up-to this point. You can also use machine with paddle attachment (takes 1-2 minute)
  • 8. Now transfer content to machine's mixing bowl (if you were not mixing in same bowl already), attach dough hook and knead for minimum 6 minutes, adding 1-2 tbsp flour at-a-time until dough pulls away from side. Use scraper in-between to remove any extra flour stuck to bowl.
  • 9. Transfer the dough to a working board dusted with semolina flour. Divide it in two large dough balls.
  • 10. Roll each into a large rectangle to about 1/2 inch thickness. Brush top with oil and cover with plastic wrap, then with dry kitchen towel.
  • 11. Leave to rise at room temperature until double in size. about (1 and 1/2 hours).
  • 12. When ready to work on finger sticks, set oven to preheat at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Also line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Grease paper with thin coat of oil. Slice each dough half into another half. We have total 4 flat half at this point. Keep 3 halves covered and spread blue-berries-pine-nuts on one of the flat portion evenly.
  • 13. Slice this using sharp knife to 16 long strips. Strips will be of different size which will look cool at creepy fingers. Fold each strip in half, roll to make thin cylindrical long stick. Keep placing all sticks on a sheet with parchment paper, about 1/2 inch apart.
    Additional Notes:
    Use space wisely as we have a lot of sticks to accommodate!
  • 14. Using a pairing knife, mark three slits about 1 inch apart on all sticks, making sure you don't slice it in half.
  • 15. Soak 1 pumpkin seed at a time in marinara and stud it in one end of each stick to make it look like a finger. Repeat for all sticks.
    Additional Notes:
    Press it little hard or seeds will fall out during baking and rising of stick dough.
  • 16. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until sticks are firm and very little brown on top.
    Additional Notes:
    If you have less number of baking sheets, put one batch in oven, then roll rest while first one is baking.
  • 17. Transfer baked sticks to wire wrack for cooling. Serve dipped in marinara, sliced in half or as is and enjoy halloween!!

Savita's Notes:

If using store bought pizza dough to make these Halloween Witch Finger sticks, then prep time will reduce to just 10 minutes.

You can also make dough in advance and freeze in a clear zip-able plastic bag. Thaw the flour in fridge overnight, in morning keep at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling the bread sticks.

Bread stick dough makes excellent crispy and thin-crust-y pizza base. Use half dough to make witch fingers and throw some cheese on the second half for a cheese pizza treat for kiddos!

Happy Halloween!!!

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