Cider Beetles!

October 10th, 2008 by katie

I 3 Cider Beetles! 

Did I mention that I LOVE fall?  Yes?  Ok, did I mention apples?  How much I LOVE apples? Yes, again?  Well then this one shouldn’t surprise you. I LOVE apple cider.  On chilly fall nights, I love it more than an espresso or hot chocolate.  It’s October and we’re far from chilly nights but it is time to start planning the holidays and what kinds of fun food gifts we’ll be making en masse for friends and family.

I make my own apple cider about once or twice a fall-from apples boiled for hours with spices then crushed and strained.  But sometimes we need a quicker solution.  Cider Beetles are the best!  Seriously, I get all giddy just thinking about them.  With hints of orange, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, combined with brown sugar and cinnamon, you simply drop them into a pot of boiling apple juice and simmer for 30 minutes for some awesome apple cider and a house that smells like all the best parts of the fall.  Add some brandy and you’ve got a great party drink!  The best part is they make the cutest gifts-combined with a bottle of apple juice-for a hostess or teacher.

Making cider beetles is one of my favorite Fall/Winter traditions, one I have let fall by the wayside in busy years in the past.  That’s going to change starting this year.  They are also easy and fun to make and kids can pretty much make them all on their own, minus the oven part.  These beetles are also super cheap if you utilize a bulk spice retailer.

Cider Beetles

makes 12 beetles, prep 30 min, cook time 2 hours
  • 6 oranges
  • approx 6 cups firmly packed brown sugar, depends on the size of your oranges
  • 12 small cinnamon sticks
  • 12 small whole nutmegs
  • 24 whole allspice
  • 96 whole cloves
  1. Slice oranges in half and scoop out the flesh without breaking through the orange rind.
  2. Crumble sheets of foil into small balls to fill out your orange halves.
  3. Place orange halves cut side up, like a bowl, on a wire rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 250°F for 2 hours or until dry and hard.
  4. Once oranges have cooled, pack brown sugar firmly into each orange half, mounding slightly.
  5. Arrange spices in the brown sugar to resemble beetles: use a cinnamon stick as the body, a nutmeg for the head, 2 allspice on each side of the head for eyes, and 6-8 cloves arranged as the legs/feet.
  6. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
  7. Directions for use, attach to gift beetles on decorative card:
  8. Unwrap cider beetle and drop into 1 1/2 quarts apple juice or cider. Simmer for 30 min. Strain out whole spices and orange rind from cider to serve. May add 1/2 cup of brandy, and heat well. Store left over cider in the refrigerator.
  9. You can also make Cider Reindeer by using the nutmeg as the head, allspice for ears and arrange the cloves into antlers. I would hide the cinnamon stick inside the orange half and cover with brown sugar. Really cute? Use one of those cinnamon candies for a red nose!

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Posted in Budget, Cooking with Kids, Drinks, Easy, Things I Love

20 Responses

  1. C & C

    Anything fall-related is the key to my heart and this looks amazing! You had me at cider beetles….

  2. Celia

    I like very much your blog.

  3. alexandra's kitchen

    what a cute/great idea. I would love to receive and give that as a gift! beautiful pictures too. I love your composition

  4. noble pig

    What a fabulous idea…wow…these are the cutest thing ever! Thank you!

  5. Shannalee

    How adorable! I love this and think hot apple cider, made with a cute little beetle, sounds absolutely wonderful.

  6. krysta

    wow! what a cool idea… between this and homemade vanilla extract, i think i have christmas covered.

  7. Lisa

    Absolutely wonderful ! what a great idea! I know there are going to be some cider beetles at our house at the appropriate time of year. Very creative 🙂

  8. tricia

    Those are so cool, I’ve never seen anything like it!

  9. Lyn Gardiner

    I have an annual cookie and craft day with my Grandchildren. This is a perfect craft for them to give as gifts that they can make.

  10. p-chan

    yumy

  11. Marisa

    So cute!! I’m loving your blog & loving your amazing photos.

  12. Grey

    I’m pretty sure I love you.

    It’s starting to get chilly here (I live in Florida, we do everything wrong, including Autumn), so this these will be PERFECT this week 🙂

  13. RobinSue

    Katie I love this idea. We drink lots of spiced cider in the winter. Thanks!

  14. Julie

    How long do these last once they are made?

    They are shelf stable so wrapped in plastic they should last. I would try to use them within six months just for flavor and freshness. -Katie

  15. Mama Squirrel

    I’m having some trouble with this. How did you get all the orange pulp out of the shells so nicely? Mine still have some partly-dried bits of goo in there.

    Use a spoon to scrape it out the best you can. A grapefruit spoon works great if you have one. When you dry them in the oven any tiny bits of pulp left should dry out too. -Katie

  16. Anne

    Hi! I have tried to make these twice but each time I have baked them for 2.5-3 hours and the inside or inner part of the bowl remains spongy. Am I doing something Wrong? What would you suggest?

    If your orange peels are really thick they might need to bake longer to dry out completely. Or you may want to try to scrape out more of the pith to make then thinner. If they don’t dry out completely they’re still fine to use in the cider, just keep them in the fridge rather than the pantry. -Katie

  17. Penny Wolf

    I love this recipe to no end! You were the first blog I ever noticed making these but now I see them (4 sale even)from others. I very first saw them in a Christmas book back in the 80’s but had forgotten all about them. Thanks for posting these when you did.

  18. Linda

    So glad I found this receipe! I received this as a hostess gift 15 years ago and have not seen it since! It will make great xmas gifts! Thanks!

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  20. Peggy

    Do you have a picture of a cider reindeer that you could post?

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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