Spider cookies are a fun Halloween-themed treat that both kids and adults enjoy. They typically consist of peanut butter cookie dough rolled into balls, dipped in chocolate or candy coating, and decorated with spider legs made from chow mein noodles or pretzel sticks.
The sweet and salty flavors pair nicely together. In this article, we will explore how to make peanut butter spider cookies from scratch, including tips on shaping the cookies, making the coating, and creative ways to decorate them.
To make approximately 2-3 dozen peanut butter spider cookies, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon shortening or coconut oil
- Chow mein noodles
- Pretzel sticks
- Candy eyeballs
- Sprinkles (optional)
Making the Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a large bowl, beat together the peanut butter and sugar until well combined. Add the egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth.
- Stir in the flour gradually until a dough forms. The dough should be thick but still soft.
- Roll heaping tablespoon-sized balls of dough and arrange them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Use a fork to flatten each ball into a disk shape.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
Making the Coating
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together, heating in 30 second intervals and stirring after each until smooth.
- Alternatively, melt in a double boiler on the stove over low heat.
- Let the chocolate coating cool and thicken slightly before using.
Decorating the Cookies
- Dip the top of each cooled cookie into the melted chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off.
- While the chocolate is still wet, press chow mein noodles into the chocolate to create spider legs. Arrange them on either side of the cookie.
- Stick two pretzel sticks into the chocolate at the top of the cookie to make fangs.
- Once the chocolate has hardened, use a dot of melted chocolate to attach candy eyeballs.
- Drizzle any remaining melted chocolate over the cookies and sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.
- Allow chocolate decorations to set completely before serving.
Tips and Variations
- For best results, use creamy natural peanut butter rather than crunchy style.
- If the dough seems too sticky, refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to make it easier to handle.
- Substitute M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, or chocolate chips for the eyeballs.
- Try coating with candy melts, almond bark, or melted white chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate.
- Make spider web designs on the cookies with melted chocolate before adding other decorations.
- For food coloring, add a drop of black gel food coloring to the chocolate coating.
- Prepare the spider cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 5 days before baking.
- Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Bring peanut butter spider cookies to a Halloween party for guests to enjoy.
- Package them in cellophane bags tied with ribbon to give as Halloween gifts.
- Serve them alongside cups of apple cider or other fall drinks.
- Display them on a platter with other Halloween-themed treats.
- Let kids help decorate their own cookies for a fun activity.
- Store extra dough in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before baking.
Should the eggs be room temperature? Yes, it’s best to use eggs that have sat out at room temperature when making the cookie dough. Cold eggs could prevent the dough from coming together properly.
Can I make them without peanuts? Yes, you can substitute almond butter or sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter if needed. The cookies may spread more during baking without peanuts.
How long do they keep after baking? Properly stored at room temperature in an airtight container, the cookies will stay fresh for about 1 week. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
What can I do if they spread too much? If your cookies spread out too thinly, try chilling the dough for 30-60 minutes before rolling and baking. Using natural peanut butter instead of a spreadable one can also help prevent spreading.
Peanut butter spider cookies are simple to make but deliver big flavor. With just a few ingredients you can whip up a creepy and creative Halloween treat. Feel free to get creative with the chocolate drizzle designs and decorations.
Kids will have a blast helping decorate their own cookies. Make a batch to serve at your next Halloween party or give as favors for a Halloween classroom celebration.