Tarantula Cookies

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So, let me first say these are very, very, very, very, time consuming to make. And they’re really messy. You’ll probably be finding spider pieces all over your kitchen for months. But if you like spooky chocolate spiders, you’ve found the right recipe!

Tarantula Cookies

These were a hit at work, although most people referred to them as “cute” rather than spooky. But still, a fun Halloween treat.

Happy Halloween!

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugaar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 bag (8 ounces) thin, short pretzel sticks
1 large bag (11 1/2 ounces) milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Chocolate sprinkles
Small red candies

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture and cocoa powder. Beat to form a smooth dough.
  5. Roll a tablespoon-sized ball of dough, and place it on a baking sheet. Arrange eight pretzel sticks around the ball like spokes on a wheel. Press the tips of the pretzel sticks firmly into the dough ball. Continue with the rest of the pretzels and dough.
  6. Bake until cookies start to brown around edges, about 7-10 minutes.
  7. Lift the cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula, and place on wire cooling racks. Let cool completely. Place the racks on sheets of aluminium foil or waxed paper.
  8. In a double boiler (or the microwave), melt the chocolate chips with vegetable oil.
  9. Pour the melted chocolate over each cookie. Coat with chocolate sprinkles. Press in two red candy eyes on the front of the head. Eeek!

Recipe from Epicurious.

Halloween Finger Cookies

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I’ve been seeing these scary finger cookies all over the Internet and knew I had to bring them into the office. The cookie itself tastes like a cross between a sugar and a butter cookies. Not too sweet, yet not bland either.

Bloody finger cookies

By the second cookie sheet, I realized I needed to make the fingers a little skinnier, otherwise I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out. I’ll probably be making these again next year.

Halloween Finger Cookies

Photos of the process here.

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon almond extract)
Almond slices
Red decorating gel

Preparation
Preheat oven to 325° F. Combine dry ingredients. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla, beat in dry ingredients. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Working with one-quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remaining dough refrigerated, roll heaping teaspoons full of dough into finger shape for each cookie. Press an almond firmly into one end for nail. Squeeze in center to create a knuckle shape and use a paring knife make slashes in several places to form knuckle.

Place cookies on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for three minutes. If desired, lift up almond and squeeze red decorator gel onto nail bed and press almond back in place so gel oozes out from underneath. (I skipped this part.)

Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

Yields 3-4 dozen.

Notes

  • You can paint the nails by using some red food coloring that’s been diluted with water and brushing it on with a clean artist’s brush. Or, color frosting red and dilute it with water, then dip the bottom of the finger in it.
  • Awesome step by step instructions for creating finger shapes here.

Recipe from Fabulous Foods.

Candy Corn

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I saw this recipe over on The Urban Housewife and immediately decided this recipe was a must-try. I have to admit this was my second attempt at making these. The first time, I followed the directions perfectly and ended up with a super stiff ball of dough and was extremely disappointed. After doing some research, I noticed other candy corn recipes said to boil the mixture for five minutes over low heat. This recipe calls for medium-high heat. So, the second time around I boiled the mixture over low heat, and it was a success!

Homemade Candy Corn
My amazingly talented friend Lauren made the spooky shapes. Aren’t they awesome?

These are good. A slightly different flavor from store-bought candy corn and a completely different texture. I had hoped these would firm up a bit more to get that more solid shell around the outside but that didn’t happen. I’m thinking maybe a medium rather than low boil would do the trick.

Homemade Candy Corn

Note from Epicurious
When you’re at the grocery store, pick up some plastic gloves. They’ll make it easy to knead the dough without ending up with food-coloring-stained hands.

Photos of the process here.

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup non fat milk powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Red and yellow food coloring

Preparation
Bring first 4 ingredients to boil over high heat in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-high (I reduced to low) and boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Sift powdered sugar, milk powder, and salt into medium bowl. Add powdered sugar mixture to pan; stir to combine. Let mixture stand until slightly warm to touch, about 20 minutes.

Divide dough into 3 equal pieces; place each piece in small bowl. Add several drops of yellow food coloring to one piece of dough. Using plastic gloves to protect hands, knead food coloring into dough until smooth and color is even, about 15 minutes. Repeat using red and yellow food coloring (to make orange) with second piece. Leave last piece white; knead dough until smooth. Roll each piece into a thin rope (don’t roll too thin or dough will break). Push three ropes together to form long rectangle. Using sharp knife, cut ropes into triangles. Using fingers, shape candy corn as desired. Store at room temperature in airtight container, separating layers with pieces of waxed paper to prevent sticking.

Or: If you’re feeling creative, color dough various colors and shape into spooky shapes!

Yields about five million pieces. OK not really, but a lot.

My notes:

  • I boiled at low rather than medium-high like the recipe calls for.
  • I separated each of the colors into four ropes rather than one long rope.
  • Make sure you have a lot of free time, because these things take forever to cut.
  • I got tired of cutting after about the twelve millionth piece, so by the time I got to the third rope, I cut them larger.
  • I didn’t have gloves, so I put sandwich size Ziplocs over my hands until the color was somewhat kneaded in.

Recipe from BA Blog on Epicurious via The Urban Housewife.

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