One of my favorite cult movies from the 1970s is "Kingdom of the Spiders", starring William Shatner. In it, a rural Arizona town becomes terrorized by millions of tarantulas that eventually wrap the entire town in a massive web. Hey, the spiders just wanted to make sure they got dinner. Gross, maybe. But though the film was no doubt attempting to be a serious horror flick, it comes off rather comical and the Shatner scenes are priceless. I don't recommend watching it before taking a bite out of these squishy cupcakes (or maybe I do?).
Speaking of squishy, that reminds me of a story my friend once told of the time he was traveling through Cambodia on a bus. One of the locals sitting in front of him was eagerly savoring one of the region's infamous street snacks—that's right, crispy spider. Let's just say that when the guy took a not-so-gingerly chomp from the plump abdomen, some of the warm and juicy spider guts landed on my friend. Are you grossed out now? Good. It's Halloween.
I'm only trying to repulse you to make up for the fact that these spider cupcakes are just so damn cute. And they're really fun to make with just a couple of bowls and a bit of creativity with your candy selection. The easy (no mixer!) cupcake is moist and chocolatey, and the spiders are made up of chili-chocolate ganache balls that have enough kick in them to give you a good bite. Roll the balls in chocolate sprinkles or black sanding sugar for a nice hairy coat. Thin cut strings of licorice or sour gummy candy mimic the long thin legs of a spider. Let your festive holiday spirit be your guide and you can't go wrong. Bon appetit!
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.