When we see seasonal treats at the grocery store, we remember our childhood memories of munching our way through the holidays. Scouring for vegan options, we might flip the bag over to read the label, then put it back when we find it doesn’t measure up. Instead of scrutinizing every ingredient, make your own deliciously ghoulish treats at home instead. It gives you the power to know what’s in the recipe and earns you some bonus parenting points too.
This ubiquitous Halloween classic is easier than you think to make at home. With a few ingredient swaps, you can make it vegan too. This recipe from Cheeky Kitchen at Tablespoon gives you all the pointers you’ll need. The sweetness comes from brown rice syrup and powdered sugar, while the thickness is created by tapioca flour. Use your favorite food coloring for the candy corn effect.
Another candy corn option by Chocolate Covered Katie uses cashew butter as the base.
Related: Enjoy these delicious hot vegan Starbucks drinks this fall
If you pick up your candy at the store, you can find sweet, fruity favorites to meet vegan needs. Popular choices include Airheads, Blowpops, Bottlecaps, Dots, Dum-Dums, Fruit Roll-ups and licorice. But these options are missing a crucial ingredient — chocolate.
To recreate the classics in a vegan way, look to dairy-free chocolate in powder and other forms. For example, this Healthy New York Peppermint Patties recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie combines coconut oil with cocoa powder and other ingredients to make a chocolate top and bottom. The filing comes from coconut butter infused with peppermint extract and has earned rave reviews so far.
DIY Crunch bars
If you’re inspired by the ever-popular Crunch bar, make a few substitutions from the store-bought version to bring them to the party. This Mini Crunch Bars with Peanut Butter Shell Drizzle recipe by Oh She Glows pairs coconut oil and cocoa powder with some other flavors to coat the rice crisp cereal of your choice. The optional drizzle (your favorite nut butter thinned with some sweetener and coconut oil) adds the classic partnership of peanut butter with chocolate.
Sometimes you just want chocolate served with more chocolate. Not only does fudge cater to the craving, but it’s easy to decorate for any occasion, including Halloween. When your fudge is ready, simply adorn squares with googly eyes, apply a jack-o’-lantern face in icing or cut the pieces into ghostly shapes. This No Cook Fudge recipe by Cookie and Kate is not only vegan but also includes instructions on how to make your own coconut butter and peanut butter if you desire.
For a variation on the standard flavor, try this Pumpkin Spice Fudge by Seitan Beats Your Meat. This recipe enhances the chocolate with traditional plant-based spices like cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
The best thing about chocolate bark is you can use the recipe for nearly every occasion. Crunchy chocolate can be topped with any number of things, all of which can create a holiday vibe. For example, break up some candy canes for a Christmas topping and use dried cranberries on Valentine’s Day.
For Halloween, use this Easy Chocolate Bark recipe by Cookie and Kate and use her suggestion to replace the chocolate with a quality dairy-free option. Then top with dried apricots, candied oranges or bits of orange candy.
These little bonbons allow for creativity in spades. Top them with orange sprinkles for a simple option, or add homemade candy corn to each one. The great thing about truffles is they can be a base for any of your favorite flavors. Try these Pumpkin Peanut Butter Truffles from One Green Planet, which are a ball of sweet peanut buttery goodness infused with pumpkin pie spice and topped with a coconut oil and cocoa powder coating.
Also on One Green Planet, you can find this Raw Chocolate Coconut Balls recipe made from, you guessed it, coconut. A touch of coarse salt and a bit of maple syrup round out the flavors.
The recipe is Nightmare-Worthy Bloody Coconut Raspberry Monster Eyeballs, and the result is indeed delightfully terrifying. The same decorating technique can be transferred over to some of the truffle ideas above, so be creative with both your flavors and your toppings.
No Halloween season should go by without a crunchy, gooey caramel apple in the mix. Whether you prefer a sour apple to contrast the sweet topping or like to layer sweet on sweet for a less bitter option, caramel apples are fun to make, fun to decorate and a delight to eat. Check out this vegan version from Wendy Irene at One Green Planet that relies on vegan butter and almond milk rounded out with cane sugar and organic corn syrup.
Happy Halloween. May your sweet tooth be hauntingly pacified.