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Chocolate Spiders Cookies

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Chocolate Spiders:

4 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 large egg whites

1/4 cup cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)

Chocolate-covered pretzels:

thin stick pretzels

3 ounces semi sweet chocolate

Candy eyes

Note: You can find candy eyes at cake decorating stores or you can order them online

Note: Instead of candy eyes, you can use miniature chocolate chips, currants, or M&M's®.

Instructions

Chocolate Spiders: In a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir in the coconut and melted chocolate, making sure the coconut is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour, or until firm.

Chocolate-Covered Pretzels: While the macaroon batter is chilling, melt 3 ounces (90 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and dip stick pretzels into the chocolate and then place on a parchment-paper or wax-paper lined baking sheet. Let dry.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the Chocolate Coconut Macaroon batter from the refrigerator and place small mounds (heaping tablespoons) of the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing several inches apart. Bake for about 15 minutes or just until the macaroons are shiny. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes.

Chocolate Spiders: Take the warm Chocolate Coconut Macaroons and press two candy eyes and four chocolate pretzels into each side of the cookies for "legs".

Makes about 20-24 chocolate spiders.

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