With Halloween fast approaching, the more health-conscious among us can find it difficult to resist the temptation of sugar-laden festive treats. It can be hard not to feel deprived when following a healthy diet, especially during the holidays when all around you are feasting on sugary snacks. A deliciously fun anti-inflammatory treat, these cinnamon-roasted oranges are the ideal solution to filling that Halloween candy void.
A grown-up healthy Halloween treat, these sweetly spiced oranges allow you to participate in the festivities guilt-free. Disguised as miniature carved pumpkins, these little desserts are infused with subtle flavorings and bring some spooky fun to the Halloween table.
This recipe is anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. Packed with classic warming holiday spices, these little pods not only taste divine but also fill your kitchen with festive fragrance.
Simple to prepare, this after-dinner Halloween treat can be cheap to make using only fresh sweet oranges and some classic store cupboard ingredients. In addition to the ingredients, you will also need a small sharp knife for carving the oranges, a shallow oven tray and some tin foil.
Aside from helping you dodge a candy-induced food coma, this delicious dessert boasts an incredible array of anti-inflammatory properties and health-giving benefits.
Renowned for its impressive vitamin C content, oranges have a lot more to offer than just your daily dose of this essential nutrient. Rich in calcium, fiber and B vitamins, they are also a valuable source of inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Opting for organic oranges is better still — especially if you choose to eat the orange skin.
The festive flavors of this holiday sweet are provided by the addition of warming autumnal spices, which subtly infuse the sweet cooking liquid and segments of fruit.
Ground cinnamon is used alongside the whole cinnamon stick to provide a powerful anti-inflammatory punch. This naturally sweet spice is also well documented to be effective at lowering blood sugar levels and reducing blood pressure.
Whole cloves bring a traditional holiday flavor to the dish as well as providing potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
As well as complementing the festive flavors, star anise has long been used as a digestive aid in addition to boasting antibacterial properties and antioxidant activity.
Finally, there’s maple syrup. A great natural and safe alternative to refined sugar when used in moderation. This recipe calls for less than 1/4 cup of syrup per orange, but you could reduce this to personal taste. It is also important to use only pure maple syrup — not golden syrup or any syrup mixes. It may be surprising to know that this plant-derived sweetener also provides a good dose of inflammation-fighting antioxidants. This is not something found in your traditional holiday candy.
Once all the ingredients are prepared, ensure the oranges are covered loosely in aluminum foil before letting the oven take over. Removing the foil part way through the cooking process allows them to caramelize further as the natural juices of the orange mingle with the spice-infused syrup.
Once the oranges have cooked through completely, they will take on an almost caramelized quality from the maple syrup. Dive straight in by cutting away chunks of the spiced orange flesh or tuck into the whole orange including the maple-sweetened skin.
This recipe is for four spooky sweet treats. Double the quantity of spice-infused syrup to fill more oranges. Not just a festive dessert, these healthful treats are also a gorgeous centerpiece for your Halloween holiday table.
- 4 medium-sized sweet oranges
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 star anise
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- Begin by slicing the top segment off of each orange, approximately 3/4 of an inch down. Reserve the orange tops to one side.
- Take a sharp knife and run it across the oranges and down into the segments, loosening the flesh away from the skin ever so slightly.
- To make the syrup, add the maple syrup, star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and leave the spices to infuse for 10-20 minutes.
- Using a small sharp knife, carve your chosen face or design into the side of the oranges carefully. This is easy to do, and you can remove the cut away pieces of orange skin easily.
- Once the syrup has rested, discard the spices and pour a quarter of the mix slowly into each orange, one at a time. You can use a sharp knife to score the orange as you pour, allowing the syrup to filter through the orange. There will be enough syrup to drizzle over the entire orange, including the outer flesh.
- Sprinkle half a teaspoon of cinnamon onto each orange.
- Arrange the oranges on a shallow baking tray and place their lids back on top. Cover each orange loosely with foil.
- Place the tray in the center of the oven and roast for 30 minutes. After 10 minutes, open the oven and spoon any excess liquid back over the oranges.
- After 30 minutes, remove the foil and the orange lids and continue to roast for another 35-40 minutes.
- The oranges are ready when the flesh is cooked through, and the skin is soft.
- Serve straight from the oven and slice through the soft skin to eat. If you include dairy in your diet, these are delicious with a dollop of crème fraiche. Alternatively, serve with whipped coconut cream.
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Calories: 120 Fat: 0.2g Carbs: 30g Protein: 1.2g
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