fall treats + halloween movies

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Is there anything better than the second-half of October when all of the classic Halloween movies start playing on television? Freeform is playing all of the good ones, but I've been partial to rewatching all of the Harry Potter films this year. They're all pretty autumnal, but I really think Prisoner of Azkaban is the most quintessentially Halloween of them all.

Along with popcorn and ginger ale, I've been baking some fall treats to enjoy while watching these movies. I kept it simple with an easy cookie recipe, but whenever Halloween Baking Championship comes on, I get really into decoration so I ended up concocting a ghost cupcake as well.

Both of these treats are vegan and super simple to make! 

Chocolate-Orange Ghost Cupcakes

To start, I made a simple, dairy-free chocolate cupcake infused with the juice and zest of one orange (see below for recipe). I topped the cupcakes with an easy chocolate ganache and a whipped 'ghost' topping. 

3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with liners. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together orange juice, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and orange zest. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until combined, making sure not to overmix as the batter should be thick.

Fill the liners approximately two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out dry with only a few crumbs. Set aside to cool completely (you can put them in the fridge to help cool faster).

For the ganache
There are a few different ways to make ganache, but for this I poured ten ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips into a metal bowl and brought about a 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk to a boil on the stove. Pour the boiling almond milk over the chocolate chips slowly and mix until smooth. If needed, you can pour this back into the pan on the stove and continue to mix until completely smooth. 

To assemble
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, set them up on a raised rack. Use a flat-edge spatula to coat the top of the cupcakes with the cooled ganache. Then, use a piping bag to apply a tall spiral of Cool Whip or coconut whipped cream to the top. You can use your flat-edge spatula to shape the whipped topping into ghost-like figures. Finally, add two mini chocolate chips for eyes!

Ginger Molasses Cookies

You can't go wrong with these cookies. All it takes is mixing and dropping, so truly anyone can make them. 

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan margarine
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon water

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg then set aside. Use a mixer to beat margarine, sugar, molasses, and water until well combined. Beat in the flour mixture slowly. Scoop 1 rounded tablespoon of dough at a time and roll the scoop in sugar. Place scoops on the baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.