These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are decorated to look like little chocolate spiders for the most adorable kid-friendly Halloween treats!
You might also like these mummy macarons or these black cocoa brownies!
You just need a few ingredients to make these Halloween spider chocolate chip cookies!
Brown Butter - My favorite ingredient of all time is brown butter!! Brown butter is just unsalted butter that has been melted and gently cooked to bring out a toasty, nutty flavor. Best of all, brown butter pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate and pumpkin. If you've never made brown butter before, you can check out this post with all my tips for how to make brown butter!
Pumpkin Puree - I almost exclusively use Libby's Pumpkin because it really is the best of the best! A ton of people have run blind taste tests comparing different brands of pumpkin puree, and Libby's is always the winner!
Pumpkin Pie Spice - You can buy pumpkin pie spice at most grocery stores, or just make your own!
Chocolate Wafers - For extra large round spiders, I recommend using chocolate wafers instead of chocolate chips! I love these dark chocolate wafers from Guittard. However, chocolate chips work just fine too! My favorite are the Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate baking chips. You'll also need a little extra to melt to pipe the spider legs!
Candy Eyes - These are optional, but I love adding little candy eye balls to the tops of the spider cookies!
How to Make Chewy Cookies
Browning the butter is technically optional but the extra time is SO worth it! The biggest problem I see people run into when using brown butter in cookies, is not letting the butter cool completely to room temperature before adding it to the dough. So I highly recommend browning the butter the night before you want to make these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat until the texture is light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes, it should look much paler than before). Then beat in the pumpkin puree.
Stir in the flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
Using a spoon or spatula, gently fold in the dark chocolate wafers.
Spoon a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 2 hours if you just can't wait).
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place dough balls at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet (they will spread, I usually only do 5 cookies on a half sheet pan).
Bake cookies for 9-11 minute or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft.
Immediately after removing from the oven, press a couple chocolate wafers into the tops of the warm, soft pumpkin cookies. Then press candy eyes on top of the chocolate wafers.
Let the pumpkin cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Once the cookies have fully cooled to room temperature you can pipe the chocolate spider legs! Melt the leftover chocolate wafers and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (or small sandwich bag with the corner cut off). Then pipe legs onto all the chocolate spiders.
While these spider cookies are perfect for Halloween, just leave off the eyes for regular pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies that you can enjoy from August to December!
why do i have to chill the dough?
Chilling the dough is super important for a few reasons!
First, letting the dough rest gives the flour time to hydrate. Eggs are the only liquid in these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and it takes flour a long time to absorb that moisture. When the flour is hydrated it helps contain the spread of the cookie so that you get a nice set edge and soft, chewy center.
Similarly, the brown butter needs to be as cold as possible before baking so that the cookies don't spread too much.
But don't we want the cookies to spread? Yes, we do and they will. We just don't want them to spread too much because then you get a flat, dry cookie instead of one with a soft, chewy center.
Tips for Perfect Cookies
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, crumbly cookies that don't spread.
Make sure your oven is the proper temperature! Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is exactly 350°F. If the oven is too cold, the cookies will spread too much and if it's too hot they centers won't bake all the way through. For example, my oven is about 20 degrees off. So I have to set the oven to 370°F in order to get it to bake at 350°F.
Use a lightweight, light colored baking sheet for best results! Believe it or not, a lighter pan makes the cookies bake more slowly than a dark pan, which helps keep them from spreading too much. My favorite pans for baking cookies are:
You also want to use either parchment paper or silicone mats on your cookie sheet to help keep the cookies from spreading.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, on the center rack. This will ensure all your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don't burn. Then let the cookie sheet cool completely between batches. This ensures the cookies cook evenly and don't spread too much by being put on a hot pan.
Always under-bake the cookies! If you slightly under-bake the cookies (so the centers are still soft when you remove them from the oven), they'll stay soft and chewy for days!
Do the cookie scoot! In order to get perfectly round cookies, use a large cookie cutter to gently scoot them around as soon as they come out of the oven!
Store the baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can also store the dough in the fridge for up to a week and bake a few cookies at a time, as desired.
Yes! Freeze the pre-rolled cookie dough balls on a baking sheet, once frozen transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 weeks. The frozen cookie dough can go straight from the freezer to the oven, just add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time.
Nope! You can regular unsalted butter if you prefer! I just love the way the brown butter pairs with the pumpkin spice.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Halloween Recipes!
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Spider Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup brown butter, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate wafers
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat until the texture is light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes, it should look much paler than before). Then beat in the pumpkin puree.
- Stir in the flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
- Using a spoon or spatula, gently fold in the dark chocolate wafers.
- Spoon a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 2 hours if you just can't wait).
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place dough balls at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet (they will spread, I usually only do 5 cookies on a half sheet pan).
- Bake cookies for 9-11 minute or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft.
- Immediately after removing from the oven, press a couple chocolate wafers into the tops of the warm, soft pumpkin cookies. Then press candy eyes on top of the chocolate wafers.
- Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once the cookies have fully cooled to room temperature you can pipe the chocolate spider legs! Melt the leftover chocolate wafers and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (or small sandwich bag with the corner cut off). Then pipe legs onto all the chocolate spiders.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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