- Slice oranges in half crosswise; scoop out pulp and reserve for other uses.
- Place orange half shells, cut side up, on a wire rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 250°F for about 2 hours or until dry and hard. Let these cool completely before assembling the beetles.
- Pack brown sugar firmly into each orange shell, mounding it slightly. Arrange spices in brown sugar to resemble a beetle, pressing slightly into sugar. Use cinnamon sticks for bodies, nutmegs for heads, allspices for eyes and cloves for feet. Cover tightly with plastic wrap secured with a ribbon. Store in refrigerator.
- To use, unwrap beetle and drop into 1 1/2 quarts apple cider or straight apple juice, simmer 30 minutes. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup brandy, if desired, heat well. Remove rind and spices to serve. Store unused cider in refrigerator.
- Don’t let the name of these cider spice infusing creatures scare you. Easy and fun to make, kids love shaping the cinnamon sticks, nutmegs, allspices, and cloves into the shape of a beetle.
- As a gift attach the beetle with the use instructions to a plate of cookies or a loaf of bread. Or send one home with guests from your cookie exchange party.
- Instead of beetles, try a cider reindeer. The head is a nutmeg. The ears are allspice. Place the cloves for antlers. Bury the cinnamon stick deep in the orange so it is not visible. To make Rudolph, add a Red Hot candy as the nose.