Chocolate Peanut Butter Spiderweb Brownies (V, GF, DF): a spooky Halloween recipe for decadently rich brownies covered in peanut butter spiderwebs! Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free.
On Monday, I began to tell you the tale of one of the scariest Halloweens I’ve ever experienced. True, I lived a very sheltered childhood, so that’s not saying much, but it was at least Goosebumps-level scary. Alriiiiight, those books and that show were pretty creepy too, so forget about that. Um.
Oh, bother! Today, I will tell you the conclusion of my most spooktacular tale. Full of fearful frights and tasty delights. Bursting with gore and sweets galore! Are you ready to get into the Halloween mood? I know it’s still September, but it’s never too soon for scares that are good!
Don’t make me keep on rhyming, as I could go on for days and days. Won’t you join me in a story that’s scarier than spiderweb-filled stacks of hay? Grab a couple of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Spiderweb Brownies, and we won’t delay. Happy almost Halloween, as it’s just a month away!
After making it through the demon arm torture hall, we all bonded as a group. Double Thor + Galpal, Callie and gang, Me and Monica, plus TB1 and TB2. We were there for each other, we had pretty much saved each others’ lives and seen each other at our weakest. This time, we would be prepared for anything. No disembodied arms, no hanging body bags and no spooky soundscapes could scare us any worse than we’d already been scared.
Or so we thought.
As a group, we walked down several dark and bumpy hallways without incident. Some were jumpier than others, but we had put on a united front that kept us calm. I relaxed enough to start thinking about food again and was just about to ask Monica what kind of seasonings that pizza place put on their breadsticks when…
TB1: “Holy, son of a [email protected]#$!!!! Oh, wait, i–it’s nothing. It’s nothing.”
TB2, muttering: “Oh sure, The Exorcist doesn’t scare him… but his own shadow does. Jerk-off.”
Monica and I exchange looks, suddenly questioning the unity of the group. But before we can discuss this via psychic sister connection eye-glare chats, we hear a blood-curdling scream. Me and a few others jump, while a few start breathing a bit harder.
Me: “Hey, it’s only a set, right? Nothing to be scared of. We’ll be fine because—”
Another blood-curdling shriek. Followed by thumps and frantic shuffling sounds.
Monica and I stop at the entrance to a square room, darkened to almost complete blackness. Squinting my eyes, I search the deepest corners for trouble. All I see are two huge alphabet blocks and some oversized children’s toys. I look to Monica and start to say something, when I see movement out of the corner of my eye.
A darting figure, shorter than expected. And a chuckle. An unearthly, high-pitched chuckle. I don’t want to, but I look again. A child with an unusually large head darts across the room, laughing with evil glee.
Me: “I can’t. I can’t do this.”
Monica: “It’s okay, Poopsie. Just—”
Me: “I don’t want to do this. What the hell is that? Why did we do this? Why are we here???”
Two of the things that scare me the most are dolls that come to life and Children of the Corn. So this room was especially unwelcome. And straight-up scary as–
Monica places a hand on my arm. I try to turn back, but am met with a pack of frightened glares. There is no way back, only forward. I can’t see much of anything, except for that small figure, darting around the room, toying with us.
My hands are shaking and I don’t want to move. And then, two hands reach out and grab mine. Each one belongs to a different stranger—two of the twenty-something girls. One is Callie, one is someone completely unknown. Both grips are tight.
Monica: “Let’s do this. Be strong, Poopsie. It’s almost over.”
Another two figures run across the room, laughing and waving large, shiny weapons. I can’t see much, but my fear is strong. I grip those two hands back and look right into my sister’s eyes. She leads the way and we all run as a pack across the room. People scream and shout profanities to power our way through. There is pushing, shoving, grunts.
The adrenaline rush is intense. But soon, I open my eyes and we’ve made it. All of us.
One by one, we open our tightly-closed eyes, and see something completely new: a huge factory, full of pipes and shadows. Steam rises from one corner of the room. I look up and see a network of stairs, landings and even more pipes.
Just as I think the coast is clear, a large, almost 8-foot-tall figure appears. A huge man that makes Double-Thor look like a tiny doll. He’s wearing a butcher’s outfit, complete with a ratty apron that’s covered in blood. In his right hand, he holds a gleaming knife, covered in dark red splatter.
At once, there is chaos. Pushing, shoving and screaming happens in all different directions. I get kicked in the shins, shoved in the back, and tugged in three different directions. We’re all like a pile of ants, thrown into disarray by a kid that’s dragged a twig through our order. Everyone is trying to run away from the Butcher.
He stands there, perfectly still and calm, watching us.
Me: “Monstee!!! Where are you?? Where are you???”
Monica: “Poopsie, I’m here!! Grab my hand!”
People push back towards the toy room, others try to climb the side railings to escape, someone shoves me towards the Butcher.
Me: “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t do this. Monstee????”
Monica grabs my hand and pulls me to the side. Double-Thor grabs Galpal and places her in front of him, like a shield. TB1 and TB2 stare aggressively at each other. Callie and friends flail about, with no direction.
Then, we all surge forward. Double-Thor pushes through with Galpal’s protection, the TBs split up and shove, and everything is lost in a mess. Everyone is pushing and yelling. The Butcher gets closer to us, swinging his knife. From the left, a masked man revvs a chainsaw above his head. From the right, a blood-soaked monster swipes his claws at us.
“YOU SICK SON OF—–“
“I HATE THE EXORCIST!!!”
“POOPSIE, HOLD ONTO ME!!”
I get pushed to the left, then the right. With a clank, my knee lands against a railing. Three hands grab at my arm. Someone elbows me in the back. Blood is pumping through my veins. I only hear a dull, throbbing sound in my ears. I look at Monica and her face is stony and determined.
Double-Thor is crying, Callie looks angry and TB1’s face is white as a sheet. People are screaming and clawing.
Then suddenly, the light. But something stands in its way.
One last chainsaw, attached to an even scarier… thing, silhouetted against the light of the doorway. Glued together as if one being, our entire group pushes him out of the way. We spill out like a pile of jellybeans into the glare of daylight.
We made it through.
I look down at my hands, which are in fists. I look up at TB1, who has wet his pants. Double-Thor has a death grip on Galpal. Callie and friends are shaking, but okay. I look at Monica, and she looks at me.
Me: “Well, that wasn’t fun.”
Monica: “No, it wasn’t, Poopsie.”
Me: “I don’t ever want to do this. Ever again.”
Monica: “Okay, Poopsie. Are you okay?”
Me: “I… I don’t like being scared.”
Monica: “I know.”
Me: “Why weren’t you scared? You were so calm, so strong.”
Monica: “I was scared, Poopsie. I was really scared. I just focused on taking care of you, like when we were kids.”
Me: “I’m not a kid anymore.”
Monica: “You always will be. To me.”
Me: “So that’s why you weren’t scared?”
Monica: “Yeah. That, and I really wanted to get those breadsticks.”
I narrow my eyes at her. She narrows her eyes at me. Both of our stomachs grumble with hunger. We laugh. In fact, we keep laughing and giggling until we’re panting… because: FEAR. Make that, Halloween Fear. The scariest kind.
We link arms and start talking about what sides we should get with our double order of breadsticks. I stop and turn back, glance at Callie. She smiles and I smile back. Galpal is rubbing Double-Thor’s back, which is quivering from his sobs. TB2 walks off, whistling. TB1 is bright red and talking to his mom on the phone.
I turn back and start telling Monica what toppings should be on our pizza. She says we should skip the fries and save room for dessert: brownies, probably. And that, my dear friends, was that. One of the scariest Halloween experiences of my life. But a moment that taught me the importance of being strong for the ones you love. Plus, the importance of having lunch plans lined up. Because: getting scared like crazy and living through it makes you REALLY HUNGRY.
I hope you enjoyed this Halloween tale. It’s one my sister and I look back on with mixed feelings fondly. Every year, during my favorite holiday, we reminisce on this haunted house and plan out all the most delicious treats we’re gonna make to celebrate.
This year, we’re making these Chocolate Peanut Butter Spiderweb Brownies. And these, these and these, of course. Oh, and these. I hope you love this made-especially-for-Halloween recipe as much as I do. In case you’re still on the fence, let me tell you all about them…
My Chocolate Peanut Butter Spiderweb Brownies are:
- spooktacularly awesome, because… storytime!!
- super fudgy and perfectly moist
- vegan, gluten free, dairy free
- satisfyingly decadent
- plant-based and allergy-friendly
- made with ingredients you can feel good about
- perfect for Halloween!
- the easiest showstopping dessert you can make for the holidays
It would be my pleasure to help you get ready for Halloween this year (and the next, and the next… oh you know where I’m going with this). Try your skeleton claw, ahem, your perfectly fleshy hand (oh wait, that sounds gross… but great for Halloween!!) at making this easy, super creeeeeeeeepy-fun recipe. You’ve got this in the (trick-or-treat) bag.
And just in case you’re wondering, the spiders you see in the post are from this recipe. And while you’re getting in the Halloween mood, you’ve got to try my talented friend Sandi from Fearless Dining’s spooktacular Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes! To make these yummy treats vegan + dairy-free, use dairy-free milk, yogurt and butter, and substitute the eggs with flax eggs. Yum!
Tell me all about your favorite Halloween memories below. I can’t wait to hear all about it.
Sending you all my love and maybe even a dove (or a raven, since it’s almost Halloween!!!). xo, Demeter ❤️
- ¼ cup natural, unsalted peanut butter*
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water, whisk together, set for 10 mins)
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons gluten free oat flour
- ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
- ¼ cup natural, unsalted peanut butter*
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons natural, unsalted peanut butter*
- Make the brownies: Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or greased foil. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup and coconut oil. Whisk until it resembles caramel.
- Add cocoa powder in ¼ cup increments, whisking until shiny and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Add flax eggs, whisking until well incorporated. In thirds, whisk in the oat flour. As the batter gets harder to whisk, switch to folding with a rubber spatula.
- Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into pan. Using a rubber spatula, smooth batter into an even layer.
- Bake for 28-32 mins. Mine took about 30 minutes. Cool for about 2 hours. It must be completely cool before frosting. Once cool, it’s time to make the frosting.
- Make the frosting: In a medium bowl, whisk together the frosting ingredients: peanut butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder and water. Whisk until this mixture thickens and resembles frosting. Lift brownies out of the baking pan and set onto a baking sheet. Pour frosting over brownies. Using a rubber spatula, spread the frosting into an even layer. Place in the freezer for 20-25 minutes to harden the frosting tops for easier cutting.
- Create the spiderwebs: Remove from freezer and slice into 16 bars. Thoroughly stir your drippy, natural peanut butter and remove any clumps. Pour peanut butter into a plastic zip bag and cut off a tiny corner, or pour into a piping bag fitted with a very fine tip.
- Pipe a small dot in the center of a brownie. Using that as a guide, pipe from that point outward, towards the edge of the brownie. Repeat until you’ve created 6 total lines, evenly fanned out across the brownie. Starting slightly further out from the center dot, pipe a curved strand from one of the 6 lines to connect to another, until you’ve circled the entire brownie. Pipe another strand slightly spaced out from the last. Repeat for all brownies. Enjoy! Storing notes below.
- Adapted from my Best Vegan Brownies and my Gluten Free Vegan Brownies.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. To keep the spiderwebs intact, refrain from stacking the brownies.
- These brownies freeze well. If you want to keep the spiderwebs intact, freeze on a baking sheet for 1-2 hours, until the tops harden. Then, wrap in parchment or wax paper. Store in an airtight freezer-friendly container for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before enjoying. Or, heat in the microwave in 20 second increments until warm.
- The edible spiders seen in this post can be found here.
- More Halloween Treats (all V, GF, DF): PB Cups, Paleo Almond Joy, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles.
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Vegan Gluten Free Dairy-Free Halloween Candy Recipes (some Paleo)
Vegan Halloween Spiders | Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars | Paleo Almond Joy | Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Cups | Homemade Crunch Bars | Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cups | Coconut Chocolate Cups | Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles | Peanut Butter Fudge Cups
Happy almost Halloween!