We are down to the final 7 days of my 31-days of October blogfest! We're also inside a week of All Hallows Eve (cue spooky Bach music)! In honor of that, let’s shift to more Halloween-oriented offerings. I’ll be bringing you some spooky treats and a couple easy crockpot meal options for the big night.
Today I’m kicking things off with five creepy treats:
1. peanut butter cookies topped with candy spiders,
2. chocolate-covered pretzels dressed up as ghouls,
3. malted milk ball inchworms,
4. pretzel spider webs,
5. gruesome green toes (an annual household classic)
These are all quite simple to make because we take help from packaged items like candy, pretzel sticks, cookies (pre-made & ready-to-mix), and jazz them up with all kinds of candy (i.e. candy melts, candy eyeballs, actual candy, and sprinkles.)
Today is less about cooking and more about dressing things up! Much like Halloween!
So let’s BOO this. (haha!)
The Glue That Holds it All Together – Making Piping Chocolate
First, I’m going to show you how we make and use our “glue” – which is basically just melted chocolate chips in a makeshift piping bag. You’ll see in some of the photos that I used chocolate chips, but I’m going to steer you to use candy melts instead. Candy melts, once hardened, stay hardened. Melted chocolate chips can get soft when they come back to room temperature. While that didn’t spell disaster for most of my treats, it was an issue for the spider web. The good news is you’ll use the same process to work with candy melts as chocolate chips, and I think you’ll find them a lot more user-friendly.
You’ll need a bag of milk chocolate (dark would work, too) candy melts and a 1-quart sized freezer bag. Use of an actual freezer bag is important because of the thickness of the plastic. I’ve tried doing this with regular baggies and it has occasionally worked. However, I’ve also had a few disastrous messes wherein the bag split open and chocolate oozed everywhere. So, please, do yourself a favor and use the heavier-grade plastic bag that is a freezer bag. Don’t let my mess have been in vain!
|Start with a freezer bag & cut off the zipper part|
|Place the baggie into a glass to better hold your filling|
|Fill the baggie with your filling (in this case, melted chocolate melts)|
This same general method can be used for icing.
|Twist the baggie in the middle to seal off the top|
(so chocolate doesn't ooze out the top while you work)
and you're ready to pipe!
Peanut Butter Spider Cookies
I found photographic inspiration for the spider cookies lots of places on Pinterest (for instance, here and here.) but I combined different ideas and didn’t bother making a from-scratch cookie. Instead, I used a bag of Betty Crocker cookie mix because I wanted to spend more time decorating and less time baking. I briefly considered ditching the peanut butter cookie as a base in favor of sugar cookies, instead, but after consulting my friend, decided to stick with peanut butter. (Funny side note: my friend was unequivocally ANTI-Whopper as the spider bodies. She kept trying to encourage me to use basically any candy other than Whoppers because she hates them. We went back and forth about it over text for a good 30 minutes. It was hilarious. I stuck with the Whoppers because I had already bought them and because everyone in my house enjoys them. However, if you are similarly anti-malted milk ball, then by all means swap it out for another candy. Milk Duds would likely work, as would mini Reese’s cups, Rolos, half of a truffle or even Ferrero Roche. Just use what you like.)
Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie mix + ingredients on pouch
5oz box Whoppers
Wilton eyeball candies (small sized)
Milk Chocolate candy melts
|Here's your supplies. However, as I noted above, instead of using|
chocolate chips, I'd suggest using candy melts instead because they
stay firm once they set, while the chocolate chips can be soft at room temp.
|Allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the pan.|
Then, gently press 2 Whoppers into each cookie to serve as
the spider body and head.
|Remove to a wire rack to COOL COMPLETELY prior to the next step.|
|Once cookies are COMPLETELY COOLED, you can pipe on your legs.|
Gently squeeze out 8 chocolate "legs" starting at the body and running
down the sides of the cookie.
|To apply eyes: place a small dab of chocolate melt to the back|
of each candy eyeball, and carefully place onto one of the Whoppers.
|Here's looking at you, kids!|
Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Ghouls
I saw a zillion different photos of spooky pretzels on Pinterest, but I didn’t consult any specific “recipe” for them. In fact, I cheated on these and bought Flipz chocolate covered pretzels just so I could cut out a step of coating my own. Sometimes I’d go through that trouble, but not this time.
Flipz Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Wilton eyeball candies (small or medium sized)
Milk Chocolate candy melts (alternately, you could use another color melt – green, orange, red, yellow would all look cool)
|On a piece of parchment or waxed paper, arrange the |
chocolate-covered pretzels in a single layer.
|Squeeze a small amount of the candy melts into the top|
two openings of each pretzel. You want the melt to be about
flush with the top of the pretzel.
|While still wet, carefully place candy eyeballs into the center|
of the filled wells you just made.
|Allow to set completely before removing from the waxed paper.|
Malted Milk Ball Inchworms
I had extra Whoppers leftover so I put these together myself. Insects count as gross and keep with my theme. I only made a few of these with my leftover Whoppers, but by all means, use a whole box of Whoppers and go to town.
Wilton eyeball candies (small sized)
Milk Chocolate candy melts
|Pipe a small dab of candy melt on a Whopper, then carefully attach another|
Whopper to it. Continue applying candy melt dabs and attaching candies
until you reach the desired length. Allow to set before attempting to move it.
|Apply the candy eyeballs as directed in the spider post above.|
(Small dab on the back of the candy eyeball,
then gently affix to the front Whopper.)
Pretzel Spider Webs
As with the inchworms, I only made a few of these with leftover supplies (mainly the melted chocolate) and stuff I had on hand (the pretzel sticks). If I hadn’t already used all my Whoppers, I might have added a “spider” to the web using 1 Whopper and 2 candy eyeballs.
Pretzel sticks (the thin kind)
Milk chocolate candy melts
(optional “spiders”) Wilton eyeball candies (small), Whoppers
|Pipe a large dollop of chocolate onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment.|
(My dollops were about quarter-sized, but I'd say go bigger.)
|Use the circle of chocolate as a center-point and add thin|
pretzel sticks coming from the center in a starburst pattern.
Gruesome Green Toes
I’ve been making these for years. I don’t even recall where I first found the idea, but I’m sure I credited it in the past as I’ve featured these on my blog at least two times. Oneand two. (Just read through those old posts and yep. I saw a version of them in Taste of Home magazine in 2010. Thank you, trusty archive.) Over the years, I’ve swapped out the toenail candy several times, but I think I’ve finally hit on one that works both aesthetically and flavor-wise: the peanut butter M&M.
Package of Nutter Butter cookies
Dark green candy melts (I used 18oz, which is 1.5 bags of Make n Mold brand)
Coconut oil or Crisco
Peanut Butter M&Ms
|Melt candy melts according to package directions.|
I add 1 teaspoon of either Crisco or coconut oil to my melts
to improve the consistency.
|Turn these 3 things into toes!|
Working one at a time, dip a Nutter Butter cookie into the green
candy melt. I use my fingers for this. (I've tried a fork and it overcomplicates things.)
After the cookie is fully coated, remove to a piece of waxed paper or parchment.
The section you were holding will likely need to be smoothed over with the
tip of your finger. There will be enough candy melt on the outside of the cookie
to easily give it a small swirl to cover any missed section.
The good news is these things are meant to be ugly so they're quite forgiving.
|While the melt is still wet/hasn't yet set, add an M&M to the top|
section to serve as a toe nail. Allow to set completely before removing
from the waxed paper. (It doesn't take long. The first ones will set before
you finish the last ones.)
|If you have remaining candy melt, you can toss thin pretzels into it|
and then mound them in small piles on your parchment.
You can call them Swamp Stacks.
They've got a delightful sweet & salty thing happening.
Bonus Candy Decoration
If you have any leftover melt, you can pipe it onto any candy you have on hand and jazz it up with festive sprinkles. Not complicated at all, but it offers a fun way to dress up plain candy. (As if it needs it…)
|Plain ol' Reese's|
|Pipe on some chocolate right on top|
(Those pretzels are horrified!)
|Sprinkle on some holiday jimmies/sugar/non-pareils, and|
BOOM! This Reese's just won first prize in the costume contest.
|Plain old Payday|
|Pipe on some chocolate melt|
|Top with ghosts quins and black jimmies|
**I have no affiliation or relationship with any of the brands mentioned or linked in this post. All opinions and experiences expressed herein are my own.**