Spider cookies, 2010 edition

Last year, our spider cookies were a hit, but this year I invented some extra creepiness! So I’m updating you with the recipe and a few simple modifications.

Photo: Real spiders have curved legs; so should your cookies. Here they are sans their coating of chocolate and jimmies.

We’ve been making these Tarantula Cookies (originally from Clare Crespo’s awesome book, The Secret Life of Food) for years now. They have become a true Halloween tradition at the Boyd house.

Photo: Rosie knows these will crawl right into her mouth before long!

But this year, I tried using pretzel rings broken in half to form semicircles (instead of straight pretzel sticks) for the legs, and it’s a huge improvement — both in appearance and structural integrity.

I also wanted to try something new for the eyes (since the basic recipe’s M&Ms always seemed overly large), and we’ve found that Nerds lend an excellent lumpiness and pop of color. Jon even said their tangy flavor was “pleasantly bug-like.” (Not that he would really know what spider eyes taste like.) We hope you enjoy these arachnids as much as we do! Happy Halloween!

Spider Cookies

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
10 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pretzel rings
12 oz chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
chocolate jimmies
a box of Nerds candies

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a few cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Sit down with a bowl of pretzel rings and break them in half.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until well blended. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat to form a smooth dough.

Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into balls and flatten slightly. Poke eight broken pretzel pieces into the sides of the dough rounds, creating “legs.” You might need to smoosh the dough onto pretzels a bit to get it all to stick. Put the creation on a prepared cookie sheet and repeat.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, until they seem pretty firm and solid.

Lift cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, nuke for one minute, and stir. Nuke one or two more times for 30 seconds, stirring after each one. When the chocolate is mostly melted, keep stirring and it will probably all melt, or zap it for a bit longer. Add the vegetable oil and stir together.

Using a pastry brush (we have a silicone one that works great), brush the melted chocolate over each cookie, covering the body and legs. Sprinkle chocolate jimmies all over. Place two Nerds (for eyes) on the front of the head. Let rest for awhile until the chocolate is nicely set.

You’ll probably have some chocolate left over. This is good for dipping just about anything — pretzels, strawberries, peanuts, graham crackers, or just your fingers!

I have had success freezing these, but it is important to pack them carefully in a plastic container so that they don’t break!

Makes 30-35 cookies.

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