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Spider bread will scare up some delicious trick-or-treat memories

Thursday, October 22, 1998

By Marlene Parrish, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Gonna getcha, gonna getcha!" If spiders could talk, that's what they'd threaten. "Here I come on my hairy legs. Heh-heh. Gonna getcha."

What's so scary about frozen bread dough? How about a black sesame-speckled spider with eight crawly legs? (Bob Donaldson, Post-Gazette, Food styling by Marlene Parrish) 

Creepy, crawly, scary, hairy - spiders are disgusting. And that's a perfect reason to construct a big, black spider out of bread dough for a Halloween party centerpiece.

It's easy to make, and if the kids are handy, they'll have a squealing good time helping to make a spider. It has plenty of legs, so all the kids can get in on the rolling action.

You'll need to buy two two-packs of frozen bread dough. Three pounds of dough are for the spider, but you can use the extra pound to make sandwich buns, and bake them separately. The spider is liberally coated with black sesame seeds and then baked. The recipe is an adaptation of one that appeared several years ago in Sunset magazine.

Here are a few tips for success with your edible arachnid:

    Halloween Party Sandwich Menu

Spider Bread

Platter of Cold Cuts

Roast Turkey, Roast Beef, Baked Ham

Sliced Cheeses

Sliced Buns, Mayonnaise, Mustard

Sliced Tomatoes, Lettuce, Sliced White Onions

Basket of Crisp Apples

Mugs of Cold Cider

Baby Spider Cupcakes

Halloween Candy


Thaw the bread dough in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the baking tray. Spritz a 14-by-17-inch baking sheet with sides with baking spray. The spider legs are going to spread out lengthwise, and the head will face crosswise on the tray. Now using your finger, trace the pattern of the spider on the greased tray just as if you were finger painting. Trace a circle about 3 inches in diameter for the spider's head. Behind it, trace a circle about 51/2 inches in diameter for the body. Trace eight legs, curved, about 8 inches long and about 2 inches apart. One pair of legs will be under the head, one pair at the neck and another two pairs under the body, close to the neck. Yes, this spider has a neck.

If you make a design goof, smear the greasy tray with your hand, and make a new tracing with your finger. Making a pattern first is lots easier than flopping around the dough once it's shaped.

Work on a floured board. You'll make and place the legs first. Divide a 1-pound loaf of bread dough into 8 sections. Roll the dough between your palms until they take on a long, even worm shape, about 8 inches long. Place them on the tray. Put a roll of wadded metal foil under the spider's "knees," so they bend and he looks like he's crawling. Place the head and body on the tray after the legs are in place. The doughs will stick together and all body parts will be attached; you don't have to pinch them together.

Brush the whole body with beaten egg. Then heavily sprinkle the spider with black sesame seeds. Buy the sesame seeds in markets that sell Oriental foods. Store unused seeds in a jar in the freezer. Later, they'll make a dramatic garnish sprinkled on salads, stir fries or appetizers. They look nifty on any creamy cheese appetizer.

Let the spider dough rise until puffed, then bake him. Let the kids peek through the oven window to watch him rise up and brown. It's like watching a slow-motion monster movie.

There will be a pound of bread dough left over. Divide it into 6 sections and form dough blobs into buns. Let the rolls rise on another baking sheet, bake them off and use for sandwich buns.

When the spider is done, carefully transfer him to a rack set over newspapers to catch loose seeds. When cool, the spider should be transferred and displayed on a tray or carving board with a rim. Otherwise, you'll be picking sesame seeds out of the rug into the millennium.

You can make the spider's face express any emotion you want. We liked the look of mini-cheese sandwich-type crackers. But some eyeball contenders are Necco wafers, Nilla wafers and other bug-eye choices from cookies or crackers. For an alien look, bulging oval eggs, buried in the dough, would be neat, but this cook couldn't get them to stay put. As for the nose, candy pieces work well, especially gummy fruit, which comes in all kinds of colors and shapes and can be sliced to any thickness you like.

Use dabs of peanut butter to glue the features in place. It sticks forever to any surface, and it's OK to eat if some smears off onto the bread.

As for the rest of the menu, keep it simple. Most of the food should be hand held. The cupcakes look especially nice and horrible if topped with a small hairy-legged plastic spider.

Related Recipes:

Spider Bread

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