Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies

Spider Chocolate Chip CookiesHappy {Early} Halloween!

Have I mentioned that Halloween is actually my third favorite holiday? (If you’re wondering, first and second is a toss-up between Thanksgiving and Christmas.) I like the fact that Halloween kicks off the fall, that I get to dress up in a costume (I was a cavewoman this year…check my Instagram for pictures!), and that I get the chance to go trick-or-treating. Come on…walking around, knocking on doors, and getting bags full of candy…who wouldn’t like that? And more importantly, how can we make that happen every day of the year? I also like that people decorate their houses like crazy, that desserts become themed for a month, and that spiders, are for once, considered adorable.

I do not, in any way, like spiders. If I see one, I run. And, scream. And, then ask the closest person to kindly dispense of the creature. I just don’t want anything to do with them. Ever. And then I saw this idea for spider cookies on Pinterest. My first thought was “Ewww. Gross. Throw those cookies away and run in the opposite direction”. My second thought was ‘Wait a minute, how stinking cute would it be if I made these for Halloween?” Pretty cute, huh? That’s why I decided I had to make them.

Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just look at them. The perfect scary Halloween cookie. It was totally worth putting aside my dislike for spiders.

Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies

For these Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies all you need is your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, Halloween semi-sweet chocolate and orange colored morsels (I’m sure using just regular chocolate chips would look cute too!), and extra chocolate chips to draw your creepy crawly spiders! These cookies do take a little time to make, but I promise the end result is totalllly worth the effort :)

Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies
This isn’t really an exact recipe, just some general guidelines for how to make the cookies.

24 large chocolate chip cookies (made using Halloween semi-sweet chocolate and orange colored morsels—I used Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe)
¼ cup + a handful semi-sweet chocolate chips
Piping bag (with a small tip) or a Ziploc bag

Guidelines for Baking Cookies
When making the dough for the cookies, keep a heaping ¼ cup of the orange and black chocolate chips out of the mixture.
I didn’t chill my dough (I was too excited!), which made it harder to handle when scooping out my cookies, so you might want to chill your dough for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Scoop a tablespoon and half of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I baked six cookies at a time).
Using the ¼ cup of colored morsels you took out, arrange a few morsels on top of the unbaked cookies. About halfway through the cookies being baked, look to make sure you have enough ‘spider bodies’ showing, if not add a few more colored morsels.
Let the cookies cool completely (about three hours) before you start decorating.

Guidelines for Decorating
To create the spiders, melt a ¼ cup + a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl (microwave in 15 minute intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth).
Spoon melted chocolate chips into a piping bag (or Ziploc bag).
First pipe the spider’s face, this means piping a circle at the top of one of the chips. Then, carefully pipe the spider’s legs.
If the chocolate becomes too thick (and the piping becomes harder), heat up the chocolate again until smooth.

Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Shortbread CookiesHave you heard the song “I Miss You” by Blink-182?

If you haven’t, there is a line that references The Nightmare Before Christmas: “ We can live like Jack and Sally if we want, where you can always find me, and we’ll have Halloween on Christmas”. These cookies remind me of Halloween on Christmas. Or, really it’s more of Christmas on Halloween. It’s the cookie cutters.

Cookie cutters instantly make me think of Christmas time. Specifically, it makes me think of sitting at the table, covered in flour, wearing an over-sized apron, as my two younger cousins and I frost and sprinkle (in an excessive amount that only an eight year old would consider edible) our sugar cookies.

One of my cousins, Jason, was even around as I glazed and took photos of these cookies. Actually, he always seems to be around during my dessert photo shoots. I think it’s so he can pick out which slice or cookie to eat first. In this case, he went for the owl. Followed by two bats. And later, a ghost.

Even though I’m a fan of enjoying each holiday as it comes (unlike the stores, who like to rub holidays in your face months in advance…I’ve seen Valentine’s Day stuff already…Are you kidding me?), it was actually kind of nice to think of these as Christmas on Halloween cookies. It really put me in a festive mood and made me even more excited for my future holiday baking, which I didn’t think was possible.

Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies

These Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies are the perfect fall treat! The shortbread cookie itself is simple to make and has a buttery flavor with a subtle hint of pumpkin spice. The glaze is made from pumpkin spice flavored candy melts, giving each bite the perfect punch of pumpkin spice. So, if you’re in need of a pick me up, some festive spirit, or just a delicious pumpkin flavored cookie, make these. Get in your kitchen. You won’t regret it. And your relatives, like mine, will happily devour them.

Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies
Yields: about 40 cookies

Shortbread Cookies
½ cup (1 stick) salted-butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

Glaze & Decorations
1 bag pumpkin spice candy melts
1 cup black candy melts
4 teaspoons shortening (plus some more if melts start to harden)

Shortbread Cookies
In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese, until well combined.
Gradually add the powdered sugar, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt. Beat until combined.
Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.
Slowly beat in flour, until mixture forms into dough.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Let chill for about an hour or until dough is easy to handle.
Once dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until about ¼ inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out dough.
Place cutouts an inch apart on a ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes (I found the bats cooked faster and were done around 5 ½ minutes, but the bigger cutouts took a little longer) or until the edges start to lightly brown.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely (I let mine sit over night).

Glaze & Decorations
In a microwave safe bowl, melt a cup of pumpkin spice flavored candy melts and two teaspoons of vegetable shortening. Microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the mixture is smooth (the hotter the mixture, the easier it is to glaze the cookies).
When glazing, I found that pouring the mixture into a piping bag or Ziploc bag (with the tip cut off) was extremely helpful. Pipe the outline of the cookie first and then fill the inside with glaze.
If the glaze begins to harden, add some more vegetable shortening and microwave until it becomes smooth.
Once all the cookies have been glazed orange, melt a cup of the black candy melts and two teaspoons of vegetable shortening. Microwave in 15 second intervals, until smooth.
Using a toothpick (or, a piping bag if that’s easier for you) add faces to your cookies—remember, it’s Halloween, so have fun with your faces and don’t stress if they aren’t perfect!

Isn’t the skeleton cup the cutest thing ever? Don’t even get me started on the napkin…

Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies

Peanut Butter & Honey Graham Cracker Cookies

Peanut Butter & Honey Graham Cracker CookiesIt’s been a while since I ranted about peanut butter.

Remember those Peanut Butter M&M Cookies? The one’s that were so delicious, even my non-peanut-butter-loving brother ate? Yup, those one’s. Did you make them? If you didn’t, it’s okay, but you really should. They are totally worth it.

You know what else is worth it? These Peanut Butter & Honey Graham Cracker Cookies.

Did I ever tell you that I don’t like jelly? As in I don’t eat it. Ever. Unless someone holds a whisk to my head and says ‘eat it or I will never let you bake again’—don’t worry that hasn’t actually happened yet. I just don’t like it. The texture, the flavors [yes, I’ve tried plenty of them], and the mushy appearance…really everything about jelly is a huge turn off for my tastebuds. Are you wondering if my dislike for jelly extends to peanut butter & jelly sandwiches?

The answer is that, yes, it does. When other kids were pulling out peanut butter & jelly sandwiches from their paper bag lunches, I would happily be pulling out a plain peanut butter sandwich. Usually half a sandwich. With the crust cut off. It wasn’t until much later that someone told me about peanut butter & honey sandwiches. I was skeptical. Honey with my peanut butter? Could it taste good? Or, would it be just a less chunky version of jelly?

Needless to say, it is not like jelly. And even though I still prefer plain peanut butter sandwiches, occasionally I mix in some honey. Because, in actuality, it’s not half bad. It’s actually kind of delicious, which is why I had to make it into a cookie.

Say helllllo to the tasty Peanut Butter & Honey Graham Cracker Cookie.

Peanut Butter & Honey Graham Cracker Cookies

This cookie tastes just like a peanut butter & honey sandwich. And that is in no way an exaggeration. The Peanut Butter & Honey Graham Cracker Cookie itself is graham cracker based and picks up the lightly sweetened honey flavor of a regular graham cracker. This super soft, moist, and melt in your mouth cookie is then drizzled generously with both peanut butter and honey. The creamy peanut butter drizzle and the sweetened honey drizzle combine perfectly with the graham cracker cookie to give you one mouthwatering dessert.

Peanut Butter & Honey Graham Cracker Cookies
Yields: about 50 cookies

Graham Cracker Cookies
1 cup (two sticks) salted-butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (about 7 cracker sheets) honey graham crackers, crumbled into small chunks
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

5 ½ tablespoons peanut butter, melted
5 ½ tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Cream together butter and both sugars, until light and creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.
Using a spatula, fold in the honey graham cracker chunks.
Drop a generous tablespoon of dough (per cookie) onto the greased cookie sheet.
Bake 6-7 minutes or until cookies have a light golden brown color.
Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt peanut butter until it’s of drizzling consistency (I melted two tablespoons at a time and it took about 45 seconds).
Drizzle peanut butter using a fork or spoon over the cookies.
Once the peanut butter drizzle has set, then drizzle the cookies with honey.
Let cookies sit for about 8-10 minutes before eating.

Peanut Butter & Honey Graham Cracker Cookies

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

Peanut Butter M&M CookiesPeanut Butter M&Ms are a staple in my house.

Not a day, or really ten minutes, goes by without a Peanut Butter M&M being consumed.

And that’s not even an exaggeration. In fact, I just ate one.

You see, in my living room, on the coffee table, there are two Mason jars always filled with goodies. The smaller of the two jars is never filled with the same candy; last month it was filled with baby gumballs and this month, it’s filled with dark chocolate covered acai berries (which, if you haven’t tried, you should, because they are amazing…actually, on second thought, they would probably be even better in a cookie…Dark Chocolate Covered Acai Berry Cookies, anyone? Stay tuned for that one). The other Mason jar, the medium sized one, is always filled with Peanut Butter M&Ms.

I don’t remember when that jar became the Peanut Butter M&M jar. My mom uses the Mason jars as decoration and the candies were simply supposed to add a touch of color to the room. Sure, guests that came over could enjoy a chocolately snack, but I don’t think she intended for my family to be doing the bulk of consumption. In our defense, my mom made it a little too easy for us to snack on them. The jar is positioned perfectly between both couches, so that a simple stretch of the arm can get you a handful of peanut butter chocolate heaven.

See, we can’t be blamed. You’d probably do the exact same thing.

Peanut Butter M&Ms seem to be everyone’s favorite candy, without people actually realizing that they like them. What I mean, is that people, like my brother, Matt, who don’t like peanut butter, will sit there and single-handedly devour the entire contents of the jar without even breaking a sweat. Anyone who sits in our living room for more than five minutes reaches for the Peanut Butter M&M jar and if, by chance, we are out of Peanut Butter M&Ms their faces show the disappointment. Clearly, Peanut Butter M&Ms are candy gold. And that’s why I had to put them in a cookie. And, let me just tell you, I’m happy that I did.

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

I’ve never baked with M&Ms before. I figured why mess with something that tastes pretty darn good by itself. But, boy was I wrong. These cookies taste just like a handful of Peanut Butter M&Ms, so if you like those, you’ll love these cookies. The cookie itself is super moist and chewy, and the dough has a subtle creamy peanut butter taste that adds to the softness of the cookie. Each bite is filled with a slight crunch from both the instant oats and the M&Ms as well a hint of chocolate from the M&M coating and a smooth peanut butter taste from the inside of the M&M. If you’re thinking it’s too much peanut butter, don’t, because even Matt, the supposed non-peanut butter lover, likes these cookies. I suggest pouring yourself a tall glass of milk and grabbing a handful of these cookies.

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Yields: 25 cookies

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup quick oats
¾ cup (1 medium sized bag) Peanut Butter M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Cream together butter and both sugars, until light and fluffy.
Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
In another bowl, combine the flour and baking soda.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.
Fold quick oats and M&Ms into mixture.
Drop a generous tablespoon of dough (per cookie) onto the greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 9-10 minutes.
Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and let them cool for about 10 minutes (if you can wait that long) before eating.

 Peanut Butter M&M Cookies