Simple Vegan Fall Halloween Snacks (slow cooker cider, peanut butter cups, & "cheesy" popcorn)

I'm really excited about this post and video! It's one of my favorites I have put together this fall season (and I have been putting out lots of fall content over the last few months) so I hope you enjoy it and watch the video too.

Growing up I loved trick-or-treating with the kids in my Durham, North Carolina neighborhood and hitting up all the houses on the street. We would then run home and pop on a Halloween movie (usually Casper) and dump out all of our baskets on the carpet in search of our favorite treats. My favorite candy was always Reese's peanut butter cups, tootsie rolls, and sweet-tarts. Then we would drink apple cider. So yum!

Those memories and flavors really inspired this post because now that I'm vegan (and eat much healthier) I don't ever buy Reese's peanut butter cups or eat much candy for that matter. I still enjoy treats and desserts but I often make my own homemade version. It's tastier and healthier because I can control the ingredients myself.

These three recipes are tasty, simple, and will please everyone, vegan or not! Happy Halloween! :)

Slow Cooker Spiced Hot Apple Cider Recipe

(makes 8 servings)

1/2 gallon apple cider

2 cinnamon sticks

1-2 star anise

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 Tbsp whole cloves

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger

peel of 1/2 orange

Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker (aka crock pot) and cook on low for 4 hours. When it's ready, discard the cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, and orange peel. Pour into serving glasses and sprinkle a little extra nutmeg on top. Enjoy hot!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

(makes 12 cups)

For the filling:

3/4 cup pure salted peanut butter (I love the Trader Joe's brand!)

1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

For the chocolate coating:

2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil

2 cups vegan dark chocolate chips (I used the Enjoy Life dark chocolate chip morsels)

1. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper baking liners.

2. To make the filling: In a medium bowl combine the peanut butter and maple syrup. Stir well until completely blended. Set aside.

3. To make the chocolate coating: Using a double boiler method (see my video below), melt the chocolate chips until completely melted. Add the coconut oil and stir gently until smooth and shiny. Remove from the heat immediately.

4. To assemble the cups: spoon a tablespoon full of melted chocolate into each cup. Using the back of the spoon, push some of the chocolate up the sides of the liner. Don't worry if it gets a little messy here, it will be fine!

5. Spoon a tablespoon of peanut butter into the center of each cup pressing down a little bit. Then immediately pour in another spoonful of the melted chocolate over top of it, making sure no peanut butter is visible.

6. Immediately refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Store in an airtight container. They can also be stored in the freezer for a few months.

Stove Top "Cheesy" Popcorn Recipe

For the popcorn

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1-2 tablespoons of the "cheesy" topping (recipe below)

For the "cheesy" topping

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (if its big and flaky you can blend it down more or leave it as is)

1 tsp dried dill

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Heat a large heavy duty pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and 1-2 kernels then let the oil get really hot. Once the kernel pops add the rest of the kernels. Immediately cover with a tight fitting lid and as the kernels start popping, gently shake the entire pot (you might need oven mitts) so that the popcorn doesn't burn on the bottom. Keep shaking until the popcorn has finished popping.

2. When the popcorn has pretty much stopped popping, immediately remove from the heat and pour into a large serving bowl.

3. Top with a few tablespoons of the "cheesy" topping.