If you want to try your hand at being a chocolatier there's a recipe here for chocolate truffles - but for those who are time-poor, a pre-made truffle ball or round store-bought chocolate will do. Just don't forget to make the edible eyes.
Peanut butter cookies
- 240 g unsalted butter
- 80 g caster sugar
- 300 g brown sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 130 g crunchy peanut butter
- 400 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200 g milk couverture chocolate 33.6% (see note)
Milk chocolate honey ganache
- 87 g thickened cream
- 20 g honey
- ½ tsp vanilla paste
- 150 g milk couverture chocolate 33.6%
- 300 g milk couverture chocolate 33.6%, for dipping
- 30 milk chocolate truffle shells
- 50 g dark couverture chocolate 57.7%
- 50 g white chocolate 28%
- 5 g white oil-soluble colour (titanium dioxide)
Assembly and blood
- 100 g milk couverture chocolate 33.6%
- 50 g white chocolate 28%
- 5 g red-oil soluble colour
- 10 g cocoa butter
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Setting time: 10 minutes
For the cookies
1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Mix the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or by hand, until the butter is fully incorporated. Add the eggs, vanilla and peanut butter. Sieve the flour and baking powder together into a bowl. Add the sieved dry ingredients to the mixture and lastly add the chopped chocolate chips.
2. Remove the mixture from the mixer and weigh out 30 g. Roll into balls and place each one onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving space between each cookie to allow for spreading. Lightly press down on each ball. Bake at 170 ˚C for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and, using a teaspoon, make a small dent in the middle of each cookie while they’re still warm. This will allow the spider to sit on top of the cookie. Cool the cookies at room temperature.
For the truffles
4. Place the cream and honey in a saucepan, add in the vanilla paste and bring to a boil. Place the milk couverture into a bowl and pour the boiling cream over it. Whisk by hand until all the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream to create a ganache. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ganache. Leave at room temperature until it cools.
5. Transfer the prepared ganache into a piping bag and pipe it into each of the truffle shells, filling to the top. Temper the milk chocolate (see note) and transfer to a paper piping cone. Pipe some of the chocolate on top of the truffle shells to seal them.
6. Once the chocolate sets, place a toothpick into the base of each truffle and dip the shell into the tempered milk chocolate. Tap the truffle to create surface tension and remove any excess chocolate. Wipe the base of the truffle on the side of the bowl and carefully place the shell onto a sheet of baking paper, twisting the toothpick to remove it. Allow to set.
For the spider eyes
7. Temper the dark couverture and add in the titanium dioxide, mixing together until fully incorporated. Transfer some of the dark chocolate into a paper piping cone and pipe a small amount of the chocolate into a half-sphere mould. Allow to set.
8. Temper the white chocolate and add in the titanium dioxide, mixing together until fully incorporated. Transfer some of the white chocolate to a paper piping cone and pipe a small amount of the chocolate on top of the dark chocolate, covering it. Allow to set.
9. Temper the milk couverture. Transfer to a paper piping cone and pipe a small amount of the chocolate onto the middle of each cookie. Place one truffle shell on top and pipe lines of chocolate on each side to create 8 spider legs (4 legs on each side). Remove the chocolate eyes from the moulds and secure them to the truffle using the tempered chocolate.
10. Temper the white chocolate. Create the blood by adding the red colour to the tempered chocolate. Melt the cocoa butter to 29-30˚C and add it to the red chocolate to make it more fluid. Use a paper piping cone to randomly place drops of the chocolate blood around the spiders and cookies. Allow to set fully before handling.
If you're not making your own truffles skip the 'For the truffles' step.
To temper chocolate easily at home, heat it in a plastic bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until you have 50% liquid and 50% pieces of chocolate. Stir it vigorously without additional heat until all the chocolate has melted. If you have some resistant buttons, you can gently heat the chocolate with a hair dryer while stirring.
Kirsten Tibballs uses Callebaut brand couverture chocolate which is available at select speciality supermarkets, wholesalers and baking stores.