These creepy, crawly confections may be a little spooky to look at, but they are quite splendid to eat!
A mix of random sounding ingredients make this an addicting delight that is crunchy, chewy, sweet, tangy, just a little salty and all covered in premium quality chocolate.
This is our favorite dessert to serve this time of year.
yield: 16 tarantulas
2 cups chow mein noodles
1 cup chopped Milky Way bars (about ¼ inch chop), this is about 6 ounces of Milky Way bars
1 cup dried, pitted tart Montmorency Cherries (Trader Joe’s is a great source)
½ teaspoon salt
9 ounces good quality chocolate (Semi –sweet or milk, we usually make a batch of each. Our favorite brands of chocolate are Callebaut, Guittard and Scharffenberger).
Mix together the top 5 ingredients in a large tray or bowl.
Place a large silpat or sheets of waxed paper on a flat surface.
To melt chocolate:
My preference is to do it on the stove, it takes a little longer, but I feel I have more control.
In a microwave: Break up the chocolate, or use a knife to create thick shavings if you are using chunks of chocolate. Evenly distribute chocolate in a microwaveable dish.
Each microwave is different, so you may want to experiment with different times. To start, set the microwave to cook for 30 seconds, after 30 seconds take the chocolate out and stir it.
Continue this process until the chocolate is smooth and glossy.
It is important the chocolate not get scorched or burned. The microwave heats from the inside, out, so the chocolate may look like it is still solid on the outside, while the inside is actually melted and maybe on the verge of burning. Cooking for short periods and stirring frequently is the best way to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.
On the stove: It is very important that water or steam does not come in contact with the melting chocolate. Water will cause the chocolate to seize. If this happens, sadly, you just have to kiss it all goodbye and start over. There is no road to recovery!! But, follow these easy steps, splendid readers, and this shall not happen to you!
Fill the bottom vessel of a bain marie (or double boiler) with water to a level where it won’t spill out when you put the top vessel in place.
Heat the water to the point of boiling. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat so that the water maintains a low simmer.
Break the chocolate up into small pieces (or use a knife to create thick shavings if using a chunk of chocolate) and place it in the top vessel of the bain marie. Place the top vessel onto the lower vessel.
Do not put the lid on the pan – this may lead to condensation dripping into the chocolate and the dreaded seize!!
Watch the chocolate closely and stir it regularly until it is
smooth and glossy. Pour the melted chocolate over the dry mixture.
Use a spatula (or your hands) to toss the mixture until it is thoroughly coated in the melted chocolate.
Use all 5 fingers to take large pinches of the chocolate covered mixture and place the “pinch” on the silpat or waxed paper.
Nudge a couple of the noodles out to resemble crumpled legs. If any cherries fall, place them on top of the pinch to resemble the rounded back of the spider. Slide the silpat or paper onto a cutting board and place the chocolaty critters outside or in a refrigerator to harden.
These confections may be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Pack in layers, placing sheets of waxed paper between each layer.
This recipe can be modified to include your favorite chocolate bars. In place of the Milky Ways and cherries one could use chopped Kit Kats and pecans, Snickers and golden raisins, Almond Joys and more almonds….we’d love to hear your ideas for combinations!
While you have your chocolate process going, you may want to consider decorating some service pieces. Chocolate cobwebs can be easily drawn upon the large bowl, tray, cake stand, or counter where you plan to display the tarantulas. These chocolate decorations, can last for weeks.
Here’s how to do it: Temper (or melt) a few ounces of chocolate. After it is smooth and glossy, allow it to cool for a couple of minutes. Fit a zip lock bag made for freezer storage over the lip of a mug or large yogurt – like container. Pour the chocolate in with the help of a rubber spatula.
Using the chocolate as ink, “draw” concentric circles on your chosen service piece(s).
Then, using a wooden skewer, draw lines from the center of the smallest circle, just past the edge of the largest circle.
Continue drawing these lines around the circle to create splendid chocolate cobwebs!
Display the confections on serving pieces at various heights if possible.
Branches bring a nice, natural element and glowing orange candles add to the effect!
This recipe was inspired by one we found at one of our favorite places to visit in Victoria, BC, The Bug Zoo.
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