Dead Fish Surprise - Recipe and Guide

So here is the complete guide. Read through it first. Then when you set it to do it, follow all instructions closely. Enjoy!

Ingredients and Preparation.

I guess we'll start off with the ingredients, listed and pictured below:

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 7 cups flour
  • gummy worms
  • white chocolate chips (optional)
  • green sugar crystals (optional)
  • candy cigarettes (if you can find them)
  • any other topping you can think of (cookie crumbs, icing, whatever)

Here are the ingredients we used, all together on the table:

dead fish surprise ingredients

Here's the Dead Fish Surprise, iced and ready to eat! Two layers of cookie, worms and stuff inside, white chocolate coating on top, and then covered in green sugar crystals and gummy worms to give it that dead fish look.

The original (from 10 years ago) included candy cigarettes since they looked like bones, but those are hard to find these days.

dead fish surprise preview

Let's start...

Step 1: Cream the shortening and the sugar.

Add the 2/3 cup shortening and 2 cups sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until it's light and fluffy.

mixing cream and shortening

Chef's Tip: When using measuring cups for the shortening and sugar, measure the shortening first. Then use the same cup for the sugar. The sugar bonds with the leftover shortening (so it all comes out) and it makes it easier when doing dishes!

Step 2: Beat the 2 eggs.

beating eggs

Step 3: Add sugar, milk, and vanilla to the eggs.

adding milk

adding vanilla

Step 4: Then pour that mixture into the big mixing bowl with the shortening.

add to mixing bowl

Chef's Tip: Use a big bowl! This recipe makes a lot of dough. This way you won't need to switch bowls like we did.

Step 5: Add flour, salt, and baking powder.

adding flour

Step 6: Stir it well.

mixing it all together

At this step we needed to switch to a bigger mixing bowl!

transfer to new bowl

Finish adding flour and stir it very well.

mixing in big bowl

Step 7: Splitting the dough

Once you have the dough ready, split it in half. (so you have two equal portions)

Get your cutting board and some parchment paper. Put the parchment paper on top of the cutting board.

Now you can take half the dough and put it out on the cutting board. Roll it out with the rolling pin.

(Having the dough on parchment paper will make it much easier to transfer to the pan for baking.)

rolling dough

Step 8: Cutting the fish

When the dough is rolled out, make a fish shape indentation with a butter knife. If it looks good, go ahead and cut it out. If you make a mistake you can just roll the dough up and roll it out again.

Put the extra dough scraps off to the side.

cut out fish pattern

Step 9: Now just take whatever you want and cover the top.

Gummy worms are essential. The white chocolate chips worked out great. Other fillings you could try include pudding, dark chocolate, Oreo crumbs, peanut butter, M&M candies, Swedish fish, candy cigarettes, etc.

filling with fish guts

Special Update: By pure luck, I found an online store that sells candy cigarettes! These are one of the key ingredients in Dead Fish Surprise, so check it out!

Step 10: Get out the other half of the dough and roll it out.

Once you have a big enough rectangle to cover the bottom fish layer, simply lay the dough on top of the already-cut fish piece.

Now you can cut the top layer to match the bottom layer. Be sure to leave some extra dough on the edges to form a seal. You don't want all of the insides to leak out!

Use some parchment paper for the second layer too, just lay the dough side down first and then pull the paper right off the top. You can leave the bottom layer of parchment paper on the pan when you bake it.

(CAUTION Be sure not to use wax paper - that could melt or burn if you put it in the oven.)

cut out top dough

Step 11: Make an eye hole.

You can stick something in it if you want.

preparing top dough

Chef's Tip: You don't have to put the gummy worm in the eye socket before you bake it. The worm melts and needs replaced anyway. The hole will not close, and if it does, it will be simple to reopen. If you do use the worm, it will leak onto the pan and perhaps be hard to scrape off.


Let's cook!

Step 12: Now it's time to cook!

Take your dead fish and put it in the oven. Cook it at perhaps 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cookies made with this dough can be cooked at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, but this big fish is different.

(Notice these two little fish - I didn't have enough dough on the sides and the gummy worms melted and leaked out.)

dead fish surprise in oven

Step 13: Icing

While it's cooking, you can get started on your icing. If you are melting chocolate chips like we did, have them melted for when you get the fish out of the oven.

When the fish is out of the oven, pour the melted chocolate on it right away so it melts into a smooth layer. You can also use regular icing and just spread it around.

The nice thing with the chocolate is that it hardens up.

dead fish surprise cooked

Notice the green sugar crystals I used. I just wanted to add a little color, and I figured green would be good for a fish. One thing you could try would be to put the green things in with the chocolate while it melts. That may give you a uniform green color.

To make this look more like a fish, you can take your knife and carve a scale pattern into the icing.

dead fish surprise icing

Step 14: Stick a fresh gummy worm into the eye hole.

Then just stick a few more gummy worms on top for good looks.

dead fish surprise worms

Let this sit for a couple hours before you dig in. Well... if you want, just eat it as soon as it comes out of the over. But just wait a little for the icing to harden and [CAUTION] remember that the gummy worm goo inside will still be warm.

Chef's Tip: When you cut this, you'll probably have to put some effort into it. The gummy worms inside will harden up again, and although they'll be deformed, they'll be hard to cut, so just saw through them.


(Any comments, questions, or suggestions - e-mail me!)


levi bloom
Levi Bloom
Creator of Dead Fish Surprise