Spider Web Biscuits

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Empire biscuits decorated for Halloween, with spider web icing design.

If I’m honest, these Spider Web Biscuits were a bit of an after thought for me this year.

For those who know me, this statement is often unexpected to hear… I’m not big on Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, the spooky aesthetic and dark décor certainly appeals to my inner-goth. In fact I usually find some sort of Halloween-intended ornament or picture, which ends up staying up in our house year-round. But truth be told, I’m more of a Christmas person (a statement which won’t be surprise to those who know me!)

It was the kids who actually asked if I would bake them something Halloween-y. I had a couple of ideas initally but ended up going for something I knew would be fool-proof and guaranteed to please my to harshest critics! From that mindset, these easy-peasy Spider Web Biscuits were born.

Spider web biscuits, using an empire biscuit recipe and white and black icing for a spooky decoration.

The eagle-eyed amongst us may notice the similarities between this recipe and our infamous Empire Biscuits. And our Pumpkin Biscuits. That’s because they’re pretty much the same, with the exception of these being more of a chocolate Empire Biscuit. And a somewhat creepier finish!


Butter or Block Margarine
All good biscuits are made up of a few components. First is the “fat”. In this case it is usually butter but you can of course use a good block margarine too. Butter is generally regarded as having a better flavour, however margarine can be considerably more affordable, and a great way to cut the dairy out of the biscuit dough.
Just be sure to use a block margarine, as opposed to a spreadable margarine; the latter will make your biscuit dough too soft.

Caster Sugar
The next component in a biscuit recipe is the “sweetener”. In this recipe we use caster sugar. The fine granules of caster sugar work best as they distribute evenly through the dough and give a nice flavour and texture. You can switch the caster sugar out for a golden caster sugar, should you prefer – this will give your biscuits a slightly more caramel flavour, as well as reducing the sweetness ever-so-slightly.

Free-range Egg
Eggs aren’t always considered an essential in a biscuit dough recipe, however we do recommend using one here. Not only does it help bind the ingredients together, it also gives the dough a richer flavour. Just be sure to use free-range eggs.

Plain Flour
The final essential ingredient in a biscuit dough, the “dry” ingredient. For spider web biscuits we opt for a plain flour. No raising agents are necessary, so plain flour works perfectly.

Cocoa Powder
My preference for this Halloween biscuit is to make them chocolatey! You can however have them as a more plain affair – simply swap out the cocoa powder for the same amount of extra flour.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
You can use whatever filling you wish when it comes to these little cookies. I have listed Nutella within there recipe, as being Halloween, all of the chocolate is a must! However you could also use Biscoff spread, peanut butter, jam… I recommend a blackberry jam for a black-forest-esque flavour.

Icing Sugar
The spider web decoration of these spooky biscuits is deceivingly simple and is achieved with just some icing sugar, water and little black food colouring.
Gel food colouring is best but see Granny’s Top Tips for my tricks on how to get your icing extra black.

Spider web cookies recipe.

Granny's Top Tips

• When it comes to rolling the dough for cutting your biscuits, place to dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper and roll it within that. This means you can avoid using extra flour whilst rolling, which can make your biscuits appear dusty in appearance, even after baking.

• The biscuits photographed here were made using a 3 inch cookie cutter, which makes around 9 biscuits (sandwiched together, 18 individually). You can use whatever sized cookie cutter you’d like, just be aware that smaller ones can be trickier to pipe your spider webs onto.

• For jet black icing to use in your spider webs, a gel food colouring is an absolute must. And even then, it can feel like you’re adding loads of the stuff and still ending up with only a grey icing at best. A great tip I love for creating icing as black as the Halloween nights sky: Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to your white icing, alongside your black gel food colouring (and some extra water, to balance out the extra dry ingredient). It’s much easier to make a brown icing black, than it is to make a white icing black.

•When it comes to creating your spider webs, don’t worry about perfection. In fact, you won’t even be piping out spider webs! Instead you will simply pipe out a few circles within each other. Then you will use a cocktail stick to drag the circles out from the middle, through each other, creating a unique spider web on each biscuit.

Spider web biscuits recipe from Baking with Granny.
Spider web biscuits recipe from Baking with Granny.

Spider Web Biscuits

Chocolate empire biscuits, with a Nutella filling, and a spooky Halloween-inspired icing.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Decorating: 30 minutes
Servings: 9 biscuits



  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°c (160°c for a fan assisted oven, or Gas Mark 4) and line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together your butter/margarine and sugar until light & fluffy.
  • Add your egg and stir through until combined.
  • Sift in your flour and cocoa powder. Stir through and use your hands to bring the ingredients together and create a dough. Gently knead your dough on a work surface to ensure it is smooth.
  • Place the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to around 1cm thickness, before cutting your biscuits with a cookie cutter to your desired size. Transfer the cut biscuits to your pre-lined baking sheets.
  • Bake your biscuits in your pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes, until the appear dry on top. Times will depend on your biscuit size - less for smaller biscuits, longer for bigger ones.
  • Once your biscuits are cool enough to handle (but still warm), spread the Nutella to the underside of half your biscuits; using about a teaspoon of Nutella for each biscuit. Pop the other half of the biscuits on top of these and sandwich together. When your biscuits are completely cool, prepare your icing.

For the Decoration

  • In a small-medium sized bowl, mix your icing sugar with a few tablespoons of hot water, until you have a slightly runny but somewhat "gloopy" consistency. Remove a couple of tablespoons of your icing and mix with your black food colouring (see Granny's Top Tips for advice on getting a good colour in your black icing). Transfer the black icing to a piping bag and set aside.
  • Once your now-filled biscuits have cooled completely, gently dip the top of your biscuit into your white icing, holding it over the bowl of icing for a moment to allow the excess to drip off.
  • Using your black icing, pipe a few circles on top of your white icing, finishing with a decent sized dot in the centre. With a cocktail stick, drag around half-a-dozen lines from the middle dot, through the circles to the biscuit edge. This will make your spider web design. Allow the icing to set for a couple of hours before enjoying.
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Nut-free: Use jam instead of Nutella in the biscuit filling, or a chocolate spread that is nut-free. Be sure to also check your other ingredients for any hidden nuts.

Dairy-free: Use a dairy-free block margarine as opposed to butter. Swap the Nutella filling for Biscoff spread, peanut butter, jam or a dairy-free chocolate spread.

Spider Web Empire Biscuits recipe from Baking with Granny.

2 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    Very well explained how to make them
    Loved the options for gluten free never seen that before .
    Off to make them for my grandchildren gluten free!!
    A very happy Granny thank you .

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Hi! I'm Amy

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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