These spicy molasses cookies are slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, just like a spider! Bwa ha ha. I try to put aside my hatred of spiders when I decorate and eat these delightful, flavorful cookies, because at Halloween it’s kind of fun to enjoy the food, yet be grossed out at the presentation—sort of a “love to hate it” situation.
The dough is very soft and must be chilled before rolling and baking, so planning ahead is a good idea. If you wrap it well, you can actually make this dough several days ahead…if you’re the efficient, organized type. (I salute you!)
I made several batches of these a few years ago for a holiday bazaar, and they sold like crazy. It’s a horrible picture, but you can see how huge they were.But…not everyone wants a whole handful of cookie, so I improvised and made these cute little two-inch bites for this post.
The dough is very quick to make; just leave yourself plenty of time to chill it properly. It also helps to roll it out between two sheets of lightly floured parchment. And even though I really don’t like using shortening, it’s important in this recipe. All butter will make the cookies spread more, and you don’t want that!
|Spicy Spider Bites|| |
- ½ cup butter, slightly softened
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 5½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup molasses
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Royal Icing - use your favorite recipe OR try mine:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder (I use Wiltons brand, available in the cake decorating section)
- ¼ cup water
- Dark icing, melted chocolate, dark brown coated candy...whatever you want to use for the spider.
- In a large bowl (a stand mixer is helpful) beat together the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar until well combined.
- Add eggs and beat until incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt, and baking powder.
- In a small bowl combine the molasses and sour cream. Whisk in the baking soda. It will foam up and lighten in color.
- At low speed, add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. When most of the flour is mixed in, add ⅓ of the molasses mixture. Repeat twice, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Do not overbeat!
- Chill dough for at least 2 hours. Overnight is better.
- Heat oven to 375.
- Roll out ¼ of the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the refrigerator. Dough should be about ¼-inch thick. Cut into circles and place on parchment covered baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
- Bake small circles for 8-9 minutes, larger circles for 9-10 minutes. Touch the top of one cookie gently. If your finger leaves a mark, give them another minute. For crispy cookies, add an extra minute or two.
- Cool on a rack.
- To make royal icing: Combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water. Beat with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until thick and fluffy.
- Using a pastry bag and small tip (or a heavy zipper bag with the tip cut off) pipe spider webbing onto cool cookies: make a straight line from top to bottom, then side to side. Then two more lines diagonally, like cutting a pie into 8 pieces. Pipe near the outer edge of the cookie, swooping from one line to the next. Do it again closer to the center. That's it!
- Hint: You can also coat the entire cookie in a thin layer of icing, let it dry, and then draw the web on with a food color pen like Wilton's FoodWriter.
- You can make the spider out of dark chocolate frosting (this is one of those times I'd encourage buying a can of frosting for simplicity), ganache, or by piping melted chocolate for the legs and head, and using a dark brown M&M for the body.
There are two decorating options I like:
To make the spiders, simply pipe on legs and a small head, using black icing or melted chocolate (I stir a tiny bit of corn syrup into the warm chocolate, just until it thickens a little) and top it with a dark brown M&M. You can find lots of different spider shapes on Google.
I had intended to go all out with these—make brown recluse and black widow spiders—but it creeped me out so badly I just couldn’t do it. If you are tougher than I am, go for it. Making these cookies was bad enough for this arachnophobe!
This recipe makes a whopping 8 dozen small (2-inch) cookies. If you get tired of drawing webs and making spiders, you can always make them larger OR just lightly ice some of them with the crispy royal icing.