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Easy spooky, jiggly and healthy treats great for Halloween

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 12:01 am

I discovered the inspiration for this recipe ages ago in an issue of the Australian edition of Vogue, a magazine I tried to hunt down as often as possible because it had a consistently innovative food section.

Though my Jell-O years already were well behind me, I was struck by the cleverness of this recipe, particularly as a healthy snack for kids, and even more particularly at Halloween.

It couldn't be much simpler: two ingredients, no added sugar. You combine fresh orange juice with unflavored gelatin, then chill the mixture in the empty orange shells. Once the shells are cut up, the individual wedges are ringers for actual orange slices — except that they jiggle in a slightly spooky, Halloween-ish way. (There's nothing spooky about the way they taste.)

Virtually any member of the orange citrus family is a likely candidate for jiggly wedge-dom at Halloween: clementines, tangerines and tangelos. And the aptly-named blood orange, of course, is tailor-made for the job.

If you're moved to stray from the recipe, one proportion should not change — you will need one package of gelatin for every 1 3/4 cups of strained fruit juice.

I've also included an adult variation on this recipe — the addition of vodka. If using, be certain to measure it out carefully. Add more than the suggested 1 1/2 ounces of vodka, and the gelatin won't set up.

Finally, don't save these for Halloween. Minus the vodka, this is a perfectly kid-friendly after-school snack any day of the year.

Jiggly orange wedges

Time: 4 hours 20 minutes (20 minutes active)

Servings: 6

3 navel oranges

2 juice oranges (such as Valencia)

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 ounces vodka (optional)

Cut all 5 oranges in half crosswise, then carefully juice them. Do not crush the skins of the navel oranges. Strain the juice through a mesh colander, then measure out 1 3/4 cups.

Carefully scrape out and discard the pulp from the navel orange halves to form 6 half shells. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the juice with the gelatin. Set aside for 5 minutes to let the gelatin dissolve. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture is clear, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in the remaining juice and the vodka, if using. Transfer the liquid to a measuring cup or small pitcher to make it easy to pour.

Arrange the orange shells, cut side up, in muffin tins or ramekins (to keep them upright). Divide the mixture between the shells, filling them halfway. Set the muffin tin in the refrigerator, then finish filling the oranges. Depending on the size of your oranges, you may only be able to fill 5 shells.

Cover the filled shells with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Cut each half into 3 wedges before serving.

Per serving (not including vodka): 35 calories; 7 calories from fat (0 percent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 2 g protein; and 0 mg sodium.

Sara Moulton stars in public television's “Sara's Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners.”