Wednesday, November 5, 2008


It's been awhile. I know, I know, I'm a bad Blogger. What's even worse is I'm coming back and blogging about a yummy, fun treat... and since it's all in good fun, there's no need for nutritional information, right?

I get the regular emails from Food Network and I happened to be bored at work one day so I checked out the Halloween special. This recipe caught my eye. I didn't want to hand out candy to the neighborhood hellions, but the neighbor kids are sweet. They deserved something. How perfect!

I set off to make these creepy crawlies only to find that pull and peel black licorice is almost impossible to find. I had to cut regular licorice. I must confess that the only spiders that had legs were the ones that went to the neighbor boys... the ones that stayed home were legless. We don't like black licorice anyway, so that worked well!

The caramel was delicious, but it spread WAY too much. I let it cool longer than the recipe said, in hopes that it would solidify a bit, but no such luck. Eh well. A yummy, gooey, creepy crawly mess!

Pecan-Caramel Spiders
Source: Food Network
Serves 30


1 1/2 cups toasted pecans
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces thin black licorice strands, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
Chocolate curls or jimmies, optional


-Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
-Mound 30 small clusters of pecans (3 or 4 pecans each) spaced a couple inches apart on the pan.
-Warm the cream over low heat and keep warm while you cook the sugar.
-Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a deep pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
-Stop stirring, raise heat to medium-high, and simmer until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, (305 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes).
-Whisk the butter and salt into the sugar mixture.
-Gradually pour in the cream and vanilla (be careful, the mixture will bubble up).
-Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees F on the thermometer, about 5 minutes more).
-Immediately remove from the heat and cool for a minute.
-Ladle a couple tablespoons of warm caramel over some of the nut clusters, to make the spider bodies.
-Quickly press 6 pieces of licorice into the warm caramel to make the legs.
-Repeat with the remaining caramel and licorice. If caramel hardens, warm over very low heat. ) Let spiders cool 15 minutes.
-Melt the chocolate using either a microwave or double broiler.
-Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate on top of each spider.
-Sprinkle with jimmies or chocolate curls, if desired. Let cool until firm.

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