Chocolate Spider Cookies for Halloween

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Halloween is almost here! It’s one of my partner’s favorite holidays (and if we’re being honest, I don’t mind the candy) and that means it’s time to make a treat. This one is a fairly simple recipe, made special by the decorations. It’s a spider!

A simple example of the process of decorating them: web, body, eyes and legs.

I see pictures of cookies like these every year, and I’ve wanted to make them for at least two years now. This year, I finally found the time to do it. It helped that I found some sugar googly eyes in the baking aisle of the grocery store… Of course, I made my own modifications to the recipe.

A lot of these recipes use peanut butter cookies for a lighter-colored base, but I wanted to use chocolate brownie cookies instead. Part of the reason was that I already have several peanut butter cookie recipes on this blog. So, if you want to use something lighter, you can try:

Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, using brownie cookies makes it pretty hard to see icing spider legs. My idea was to try to use food coloring to lighten up the color of the cookies themselves, and use icing to make a web the spider would stand out against. Both worked, and the cookies are red enough to be almost red velvet (at least in person; they’re darker in the pictures.) so I’d say it turned out alright.

Pro tip: To make an easy spiderweb, start by making an overlapping X and + (or an 8-pointed star), then draw in octagons with slight bows inwards. It’s a lot easier than trying to draw individual lines, and the extra icing in the center helps the spider body stick in place.

I went through several batches of cookies to make sure they turned out just right. My first batch had too much salt and too much vanilla extract (I know, right? Who knew that was possible?) and I tried out different cooking times to find just the right texture.

These cookies hold their shape when you bake them, they don’t spread out, so make sure they’re thin enough. I wanted thicker, rounder cookies, but if you want yours thinner, just press them out more and check a minute or two early to see if they’re done.

The spiderwebs are a simple white buttercream icing. The spider bodies are malted milk balls, and the eyes are sugar googly eyes I found at the store. Something like these (Amazon link) work well. If you don’t want to buy sugar eyes, you can just use dabs of white buttercream and smaller dots of chocolate buttercream (the same kind I use for the legs). I used a bit of melted chocolate to hold the eyes in place, but you don’t need that if you’re just using icing eyes.

Feel free to decorate however you want! I kept my spiders cute. I also had some other ideas I might try in the future, like using orange candy balls and green icing to make pumpkin patch cookies. Let your imagination run wild!

Now, without further preamble, let’s get into the recipe. Let me know what you think!

Chocolate Spider Cookies

A spooky treat for Halloween (or just the spider-lover you know)! These are rich, thick brownie cookies decorated with malted milk balls, edible googly eyes, and buttercream icing.
Servings 20 Cookies
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Decorating Time 10 mins
Total Time 27 mins

Equipment

  • Cookie Sheet
  • Silicone Baking Mat
  • Whisk
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Cookie Scoop
  • Piping Bag

Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • ½ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Melted Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1⅓ Cups Flour
  • ½ Tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • Cup Miniature Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tsp Red Food Coloring (Optional)

For the Icing and Decorations

  • 2 Tbsp Softened Butter
  • ½ Cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Milk
  • 1 Tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Box Malted Milk Balls

Instructions

Make the Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Put your baking mats or parchment paper on your cookie sheet.
  • Sift or mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Mix together the brown sugar, butter, cocoa powder, and vegetable oil.
  • Add vanilla, food coloring, and egg to the wet mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  • Spoon or scoop into balls, and press flat with the bottom of a measuring cup or other flat surface. Make them as thick or as thin as you like; since they don't spread out, you can choose now.
  • Bake for 7 minutes. They will set and firm up as they cool.

Make the Icing

  • Cream the softened butter until smooth, then mix in the powdered sugar.
  • Mix this combination until it forms a paste. It will take a couple of minutes.
  • Add in the vanilla and milk, stirring until it comes together. Mix until smooth.
  • Divide in half. Mix in cocoa powder into half of it to make chocolate icing.

Decorate!

  • Use white icing in a piping bag to draw spiderwebs. You can also just ice a smooth surface of white for more contrast.
  • Place a single malted milk ball in the center of the web.
  • Use chocolate icing to pipe legs.
  • Use icing or a bit of melted chocolate to attach googly eyes, or pipe on icing eyes.
  • Enjoy!
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Brownies, Buttercream, Chocolate, Cookies, Halloween, Icing, Spider

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