Spook up your sweets: fondant ghosts, spiderweb brownies, and cookie spiders

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In the dark of the knight the baked goods in the King Arthur Flour test kitchen have come alive to celebrate their favorite time of year with a festive song…

~~On the first day of Halloween, my true love gave to me…  An owl in a spooky old tree~~ On the second day  of Halloween…

Well, it looks like this could go on for awhile, so let’s take some time and learn how to make these delightfully spooky treats for your celebration.

For the ghosts, knead prepared fondant until soft and pliable. Use a little cornstarch or confectioners’ sugar  to prevent sticking if needed.

Roll the fondant into a rope and cut off small pieces. How big? It will all depend on where the ghosts will end up. Start with 1 1/2″ pieces and adjust with more or less fondant until you have a size that works for you.

Roll one end of each piece to make a cone shape with a rounded top. No need to roll to a point; you want a softer look to the top of the ghost’s head.

Tamp the opposite end of the cone on the tabletop until the cone will stand up independently. Adjust the shape with your fingers until you’re pleased with each one.

You can make a variety of sizes at once. Having big and little, fat and thin ghosts will add to the visual interest and make each ghost more of an individual.

*SET THESE BASES OUT TO DRY FOR SEVERAL HOURS OR OVERNIGHT*

If you try to work with the soft fondant, your ghosts will sink and squash before your eyes. Plan ahead and give them a chance to set, saving you extra work and frustration.

To form the ghost’s “sheet,” roll out additional fondant 1/8” thick. To determine the size circle you’ll need, measure the height of the cone base and multiply by 2, then add 1/2”.

So, a 1” cone would need a 2 1/2” circle. (1 x 2 + 1/2= 2 1/2).

Remember, this is just a place to start. If you like your ghosts with really long sheets, make your circles larger.

Brush the cone with a little bit of water or egg white to act as glue, and drape the sheet piece over the cone.

Use your fingers to shape the pliable fondant into attractive folds and curves on your ghost.  As the fondant dries, the folds will become permanent.

To make a face on the ghost you can use mini chocolate chips. Simply press them point first into the soft sheet fondant.

Just booo-tiful!

Another great way to make faces on the ghost is with gumballs or malted milk balls. I saw this trick online and thought it was so cool.

When the fondant cones are still soft, press a colored gumball or malted milk ball firmly onto the top of the cone. Dry as usual.

After draping the cone with the sheet, use the small end of a piping tip to cut out eye and nose holes in the soft fondant. A coffee stirring straw would be a good tool too.  Use your imagination to see what you can find in your pantry to make spooky faces.

To make your ghosts a little more floaty and ethereal, you can use soften the edge of the sheet fondant before applying it to the cone. The rounded back of a measuring spoon works well if you don’t happen to have fondant tools.

Ahh, a gaggle of ghoulish goodies. The black licorice “chain” and sugar deco pumpkin add a dash of whimsy to the scene.

Next up: Spiderweb Brownies.

Begin by making a batch of your favorite brownie batter poured into the appropriate sized pan. I’ve used a 9” x 2” round cake pan here in the blog.

In a small bowl combine:
* 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Stir the mixture until it is very smooth and no lumps remain.

Add one large egg yolk and stir again. The mixture will be very smooth and creamy colored, no longer bright white.

Scrape the cream cheese filling into a piping bag or disposable bag. A good strong zip-top bag can also be used.

Snip off a fairly large piece of the end of the bag, or use a fairly wide tip. You’re going to pipe broad bands of the filling onto the brownie batter, so you’ll need a large hole for easy flow.

Pipe concentric rings onto the brownie batter. Space the rings about 1” apart.

Don’t worry about perfect rings or drips and drabs, it will all look fine in the end.

Using a butter knife, draw through the rings from the outside of the pan to the center. You’ll want to sink the knife into the batter deeply to ensure that the filling and batter combine.

Repeat around the whole circle, making as many spokes as desired. I think I got a little carried away as I took photos; you can make fewer spokes than I did.

If you have leftover filling, you can pipe lines to define the spokes of the web, if desired.

Bake the brownies as directed until they begin to pull away from the edges of the pans slightly, and a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

You can serve the brownies from the pan, or remove and serve on a tray, whichever you prefer.

Last but not least: Cookie Spiders

For the spiders you’ll need chocolate wafer cookies, filling, black licorice whips, and candy or icing eyes. Check the Halloween section or the cake decorating section of your local craft and department stores for the licorice and eyes.

A dab of icing and a chocolate chip also makes a fine googly-eye.

I used our Faux-Reos recipe with the vanilla filling. You could tint the filling orange, green, or purple if you want really colorful spiders.

Use a generous scoop of filling to sandwich two cookies together. Be sure to spread the filling so that it will just peek out of the cookie edges, so that the licorice legs will have something to stick to.

Cut the licorice whips to approximately 3” sections. You’ll need 8 sections per spider. Again, if you’d like longer legs on your creepy crawlies go for it!

Finally, use tiny dabs of filling to secure the eyes onto the spider. Try different placement for the eyes – it can really change the spider’s expression!

~~~On the twelfth day of Halloween my true love gave to me – twelve bats a-flying, eleven masks a-leering, ten ghouls a-groaning, nine ghosts a- booing, eight monsters screeching, seven spells a-going, six goblins gobbling, five scaaary spooooooooks… four skeletons, three spooky witches, two trick-or-treaters, and an owl in a spooky old treeeeeeee.~~

We hope you’ve enjoyed this baking and musical interlude. Happy Spooking!

Please bake, rate and review our recipes for Spiderweb Brownies and Faux-Reos.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Aimee

    Love the ideas! I have made similar ghosts, but instead of using a fondant base, I have used a marshmallow with a malt ball on top, “glued” together with frosting. Then the the fondant over the “base.” It’s a little cheaper that way, but my kids then like to eat the insides of the ghost (as they don’t like the taste of fondant).

    Thanks for the ideas though, always looking for new treats!

    Reply
  2. lyna

    Any chance of a YouTube video of the Test Kitcheners in “The 12 Nights of Halloween” ?

    I’ll add that to the wish list. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  3. Margy

    Duff Goldman (gotta promote the local boy who made good!) has a new line of fondant available at Michaels craft stores that’s not bad if you need it immediately and can’t wait for mail-order delivery. The other widely available fondant (no names here) is dreadful (nasty, bitter taste). Also, the local papers usually have a Michaels 40% off coupon in the Sunday ad section.I usually only use fondant for decorative accents, as you did here. Why ruin a good buttercream frosting by covering it with something that many people just peel off?

    Reply
  4. teachingcotton

    I make a fondant with a marshmellow base. It really tastes good. My kids come and beg the scraps when I am making something covered with fondant. It is almost candy like! I have also added a few drops of high quality flavored oils to the fondant to get a raspberry, orange, lime or lemon flavor.

    Reply
  5. Blakeley (Cupcake Princess)

    Those are so cute! I think that for halloween i’m going to make the spider web brownies. So in the recipe it says to use 2 round 8 inch pans and in this blog you used a 9 inch pan. Did you use just 1 of the 9 inch pans or did you use 2 of them? Thanks!

    If you make the full recipe, use two round 8″ pans. If you halve the recipe use one 8″ or 9″ pan. Hope this helps! kelsey@KAF

    Reply
  6. Aaron Frank

    Hi,

    I just made a batch of these scooping and flattening as the recipe calls for. Mine aren’t nearly so nice as yours but that will come with practice.

    But, this looks like it’s a chocolate shortbread. Is there any reason I couldn’t roll out a big sheet and then cut out the rounds with a biscuit cutter?
    Yes, you could use a chocolate shortbread. Any recipe that will not spread much will work great! Elisabeth @ KAF

    Thanks,

    Aaron

    Reply
  7. aaronatthedoublef

    Hi,

    I have your cookie recipe here and there is a completely different cookie recipe in your cookie cookbook. The cookbook has a chocolate snap but the online recipe here is more of a shortbread or sable.

    Just curious as to why and which you prefer.

    Thanks,

    Aaron

    Thanks Aaron, we like to offer as many recipes as possible to meet our customer/baker’s needs. Hopefully between the recipes on-line, in our cookbooks, or in our other print material (catalog or Baking Sheet) you can find the one that best meets your taste and texture expectations. Irene @ KAF

    Reply

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