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Healthy, spooky, jiggly treats fit for Halloween

| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 9:05 p.m.
In this image taken on Oct. 2, 2012, Jiggly Orange halves and wedges are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

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. Although 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. After 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 34 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. More than the suggested 1 12 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.

Chef Sara Moulton is a contributing writer to the Associated Press.

Jiggly Orange Wedges

Time: 4 hours 20 minutes (20 minutes active)

3 navel oranges

2 juice oranges (such as Valencia)

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1 12 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 34 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 14 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, for 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 among 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, for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Cut each half into 3 wedges before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (not including vodka): 35 calories (7 calories from fat), 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 2 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, 0 dietary fiber, 0 sodium

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