Five Fantastic Fall-Inspired Snacks

For those times when your late-night cravings in the lib just aren’t being satisfied by the Lobby Shop's goodies.

With the arrival of fall come so many revered traditions: back to school shopping, the first day of classes, and reuniting with classmates for a brand new year of school. However, fall also signals the return to essays, exams, and everyone’s favorite, the all-nighter. Knowing that all of this looms ahead, here are five fantastic fall-inspired snacks that not only will placate the rumbling sounds in your stomach but also are incredibly easy to prepare and pack up.

1. Maple Pumpkin Spice Popcorn

The yummy blend of nuts and popcorn contains the best of both worlds with salt and sweetness playing equal roles in this mix. It tastes delicious on its own, but it can also be incorporated into trail mix and used as a topping on yogurt parfaits and oatmeal.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 75 minutes

Total Time: 80 minutes

Servings: 15 quarts

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup roasted and salted pecans, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250° F. Pop popcorn in the microwave or over the stove. Set one half of the popcorn aside and lightly salt it. Remove any kernels if necessary.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Stir in the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Bring to a boil, stir, and remove from the heat.

3. Pour the glaze over 1/2 of the popcorn in a large bowl. Combine well with a pair of tongs. The popcorn will flatten and become soggy, but don't worry, because it will crisp up again after it’s baked.

4. Pour the popcorn onto a large baking sheet in a single layer, and bake for about 75 minutes. Toss with tongs every 15 minutes. The last 15 minutes of baking time add the chopped pecans.

5. Remove the popcorn from the oven and let it cool. Break up the larger pieces with your fingers and toss with the other half of the white popcorn.

2. Churro Pretzels

A sugary, sweet treat that truly tastes as if you’re eating churros, just in the shape of pretzels and makes you question why this hasn’t always been a snack staple for you.

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Servings: 9 cups of pretzels (Serving size is 1 cup)

Ingredients:

  • 9 cups pretzels
  • 1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup and 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

1. Place the pretzels in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, sugar, and cinnamon and stir until even. Set aside.

3. Over medium low heat, add the cinnamon chips and butter to a saucepan and stir continually. Remove from heat and quickly pour over the pretzels. Using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold the cinnamon mixture over the pretzels until evenly coated.

4. Add the powdered sugar mixture and fold again. Spread out on parchment or wax paper to cool. Enjoy!

3. Soft Pumpkin Granola Bars

These gluten free and dairy free bars are incredibly delectable yet not too sweet, and they’re ideal for a snack or a quick breakfast. They’re also great to wrap up individually and keep in the freezer for future hunger pangs.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35-45 minutes

Total Time: 40-50 minutes

Servings: 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of cloves
  • pinch of allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cups toasted and chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, dried fruit, or any other mix-ins (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 12-inch loaf pan and set aside. 

2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Mix in vanilla, eggs, almond milk, and pumpkin puree. Fold in nuts, seeds, fruit, and mix-ins if using. 

3. Spread evenly in loaf pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is set and starts to darken.

4. Let cool and slice into 1-inch bars. Store in the fridge or freezer.

4. Autumn Brittle

Filled with all your fall favorites such as dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and almonds, this brittle is a fun, ‘healthy’ alternative to dessert. So grab a knife and start chopping!

Prep Time: 40-60 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 100-120 minutes

Servings: 12-15

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

1. Heat the sugar, honey, water, and salt in a very large pot over a low-medium flame. *Use a pot that is larger than you would think necessary, because when the mixture begins to boil it will foam up and increase in size.

2. Stir every five minutes or so. Using a candy thermometer, continue to heat the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 310° F, which is the temperature at which sugar hardens into a rock-like state after it cools. *It can take up to an hour for the mixture to reach that temperature.

3. While the sugar mixture is boiling, place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a shallow pan, about 9 x 13 inches, and grease the parchment paper. Set aside.

4. After the sugar mixture reaches 310° F, turn off the heat and allow it to cool to 302° F then immediately stir in the butter, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries until they’re coated in the mixture.

5. Immediately pour the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread it out into a large rectangle using a rubber spatula. Try to keep the surface relatively even and about 1 inch in height.

6. Place the pan in the refrigerator and allow the brittle to cool for one hour. Once it has finished cooling, remove the sheet of brittle from the parchment paper and break the brittle into pieces using a meat tenderizer. Store excess brittle in a cool dry place.

5. Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars

This is perhaps the easiest granola bar recipe ever invented. No baking needed; they’re gluten free; and they incorporate some wonderful fall flavors including cranberries, raisins, and honey.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes

Servings: 16

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup whole almonds
  • 2/3 cup whole cashews
  • 1 and 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, melted

Directions:

1. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Leave extra on the sides to use as handles for removing the bars when they are finished. Set aside.

2. In a food processor or blender pulverize the almonds and cashews for about 10 seconds into small pieces, leaving some large chunks in tact. In a large bowl, combine the oats, ground flax, crushed nuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and raisins and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

3. Mix together melted peanut butter and honey in a small bowl and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix until each bit is fully coated. Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press firmly until the top is completely even.

4. Place bars in refrigerator to set up for at least one hour. Cut into 16 squares. Bars can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.