It’s nearly Hallowe’en, folks, which means I have yet another excuse to dress up as a Harry Potter character without even considering whether or not that fits the usual spooky criteria. I just don’t care! It’s all about the robe potential.
Precisely zero points for guessing who I was meant to be*. Arguably there is nothing more terrifying as an adult than the idea of returning to school, but that might just be me…
Anyway, as usual with these things I had absolutely no chill and decided to bake cookies and brownies; while the brownies went down an absolute storm, I’ve put a similar recipe up here before, so I didn’t want to dedicate a whole post to them. Instead, I’ve linked to the original brownie recipe and included my substitutions for this batch.
The cookies, however, were both adorable and delicious, and deserving of their own post. I haven’t posted any cookies on here before (although the recipe may look somewhat familiar if you’ve ever gazed upon these Triple-Decker monstrosities) — and I think it’s time for me to address that unfortunate oversight.
White Chocolate & Pecan Spider Cookies (Vegetarian)
Makes 12-14 cookies
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Mixing bowl; hand or electric whisk; baking trays/sheets (around 35cm long) and parchment paper for lining; medium ice-cream scoop or a metal spoon; spatula; cooling rack; three cats winding their way around your ankles because they just really want the butter you’re using, okay?
- 110g butter/spread
- 180g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 175g plain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g white chocolate chunks/chips
- Handful pecans, chopped (+12-14 whole ones – one per cookie)
- White chocolate writing pen (or melted white chocolate in a piping bag)
- Edible googly eyes
- Set your oven to 200 and let’s get started. Beat together the sugar and spread for a couple of minutes until pale and fluffy, then crack in your egg and add your vanilla, continuing to beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure every scrap has been included.
- Pour in your flour – I mix this by hand with a silicon spatula, but you can use your beaters if you don’t mind covering everything you own and love with a fine white mist. Fold the flour in as gently as possible, making sure there are no random pockets of the stuff hanging around. Finally, fold in your chopped pecans and white chocolate chunks.
- Line your baking sheet(s) and spoon or scoop six evenly-spaced spheres of dough onto the paper. There will be some spreading but six should fit comfortably without any inter-spider activity going on during the baking process. Get your whole pecans and press one down gently into the centre of each cookie. I bake one batch at a time but if you can fit a couple of trays in the oven then go for your life, buddies. Place your tray(s) on the middle shelf for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are golden brown at the edges.
- Once baked, take out the cookies and leave them to cool for a minute or two on the paper before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat this process until you’ve used all your mix. Let the cookies cool completely before icing.
- If using a white chocolate writing pen, follow the instructions on the back of the packaging for use. Put a spot of white chocolate on the back of each eye and place them at the head of the central pecan (what a weird sentence), then carefully pipe four legs onto each side of your spider’s nutty body. Leave to cool, then consume with gusto.
These are inherently easy to customise to your tastes – I love white chocolate and nuts in cookies, but I know that not everyone does! You can use milk or dark chocolate chips, swap out the pecans for walnuts (an excellent spider body), or even leave out the nuts altogether. Pecans have a delicious earthy sweetness that goes well with white chocolate but there are plenty of other options.
In fact… go nuts.
I’ll see myself out.
BONUS RECIPE: Peanut butter cheesecake brownies
Follow the recipe for Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Brownies, but substitute the chocolate orange pieces for Cadbury Peanut Caramel Crisp (or other peanut-based chocolate bar), and add two heaping tablespoons of peanut butter to the cheesecake mix.
These were so well-received that I had people I’d never met at this Hallowe’en party coming up to me to make general noises of satisfaction. Trust me when I say they will make you very popular.
*But 100 points to your house of choice for knowing off the top of your head what house this character was in. The black & white photo doesn’t give you much of a clue!