Liven up a dreadful Halloween dessert table with a Spooky Spider Chocolate Cheese Ball!
I know what you're thinking, "A chocolate cheese ball?!" Yes, there's nothing savory about it. I compare it to the filling of a chocolate cheesecake (and if you serve it with graham crackers, then you've got the whole package!).
This no-bake dessert is perfect for a Halloween party and can be made more or less spooky according to your preference (rearrange the eyes, add some drops of red food coloring to the plate, maybe some fangs...). It's so easy to make, you can even get the kids involved.
Also, this wasn't intentional, but the spider I made is actually gluten-free (I used almond flour and gluten-free pretzels), so if you're sensitive to gluten, this is a good option for you. Just make sure to double-check your ingredients. (The mini Oreos and graham crackers I served mine with are not gluten-free.)
I hope you enjoy making and eating this as much as I did!
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Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients & Tools
Chocolate Cheese Ball
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon chocolate extract (see Note)
1 cup almond flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
5-7 maraschino cherries, stems and pits removed
Semi-sweet or dark chocolate baking chips
8 candy eyeballs
16 pretzel sticks
7-9 jumbo-size marshmallows
Note: If you can’t find chocolate extract, you can leave it out and use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead. The chocolate extract just adds another layer of chocolaty goodness to this sweet dessert.
Step 2: Start Combining Your Ingredients
In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter and both sugars until thoroughly combined. Then, add cream cheese, vanilla extract, and chocolate extract; mix until thoroughly combined and creamy.
Step 3: Mix in Your Dry Ingredients
Add almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt; mix until thoroughly combined.
Step 4: Mold Your Cheese Ball Into a Spider Body Shape
Place a large piece of plastic wrap over a small bowl. (You want to create a lining for the bowl and still have extra plastic wrap to wrap around your shaped cheese ball.) Transfer cream cheese mixture to the lined bowl, then cover exposed areas with plastic wrap. Create your spider’s body shape by pressing the wrapped cream cheese mixture into the bowl or form with your hands.
Step 5: Chill Your Cheese Ball
Place shaped cheese ball back in bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to decorate. When ready to decorate, remove plastic wrap and place cheese ball on a serving platter.
Step 6: Give Your Spider a Unique Red Marking
Using a small spoon, create a hole (about 1-1/2-inch wide and 1/2-inch deep) in the center of the cheese ball; remove center and reserve for later. Fill hole with cherries (these can be a combination of whole and chopped cherries to fit).
Step 7: Add Eyes and Texture to Your Spider's Body
Begin to add “texture” to your chocolate cheese ball by placing chocolate chips around the cherry-filled hole, following a circular pattern. Gently press candy eyeballs in a row at the front of the cheese ball (this will be your spider’s head/face).
Step 8: Add Legs to Your Spider
Gently press 4 pretzel sticks onto each side of the spider’s body (make sure they’re not too high by taking another pretzel stick and testing whether the lower part of your spider’s leg will be able to rest on the serving platter). Continue placing chocolate chips around your spider’s body, covering as much or as little as you like.
Step 9: Finish Your Spider's Legs
Place a pretzel stick, vertically, against the bottom end of one of the ones coming out of the spider’s body, making sure that it touches the serving platter (otherwise your spider will look like it’s levitating). Connect the two pretzel sticks by using a small amount of your reserved cheese ball mixture (it’s okay if you use what looks like an excessive amount of mixture to hold the two together). Hide the “joint” by gently pressing a chocolate chip onto the visible cheese ball mixture. Repeat with remaining pretzel sticks.
Step 10: Add Marshmallow Spider Webs
In a medium, microwaveable bowl, microwave marshmallows for 15 seconds. Use a fork to deflate marshmallows, allow to cool slightly, then, with clean hands, grab some of the marshmallow mixture and interlace it through your fingers (see video from Sainsbury). Gently drag it across your spider’s body and the serving plate, allowing it to drip and “catch” randomly.
Step 11: Set the Scene for Your Spooky Spider!
Surround your spooky spider with mini cream-filled cookies, graham crackers, extra cherries, wafer cookies, apple slices, or anything else you like. You can even set out a small spoon or knife if you'd rather not have your guests dipping directly into the spider.
Step 12: C.Y.A.
While every care has been taken in creating this recipe, I do not assume any responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions, inadvertent or not, that may be found in the recipe or text, nor for any problems or damages that may arise as a result of preparing this recipe.
This is an entry in the
Halloween Contest 2019