Special equipment: 3 disposable pastry bags
For the crunch: Place the milk chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Alternatively, use a double boiler.) Turn off the heat, set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cookie crumbs, peanut butter and butter. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Form twenty 1/2-inch balls with the remaining crunch. Press your thumg into the center of each ball to make a hollow center. With the reserved 1/2 cup crunch, sculpt thin spider legs and twenty 1/2-inch round discs to use as the bottoms. Set aside at room temperature until you are ready to assemble the spiders.
For the chocolate ganache: Place the dark chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and pour over the dark chocolate. Let stand without stirring for a couple of minutes in order to let some of the chocolate melt. Stir in the butter, corn syrup and rum. Mix until smooth. Let sit at room temperature until you are ready to assemble the spiders.
For the strawberry jelly: Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar with the pectin in a small bowl and set aside. Bring the strawberry puree to a boil in a small saucepan and slowly stir in the pectin sugar. Bring this mixture back to a low boil and add the corn syrup, lemon juice and remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Boil for approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the jelly to a small stainless mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap to let cool.
To assemble: Place the milk chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Fill a large saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat, set the bowl over the water to melt and stir the chocolate until smooth.
Transfer the strawberry jelly and chocolate ganache to two separate pastry bags and snip the ends off. Fill each hollow crunch ball with equal parts jelly and ganache and cover with the bottom pieces of crunch to form the spider bodies. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Lay a sheet of parchment paper over a flat surface. Arrange the spider legs on the parchment, dip the bodies in the melted chocolate with the rounded side facing up. Attach the spider body to the arranged legs. Dust with cocoa powder, if desired.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Teresa Shurilla