April in the Raw: Frozen Orange Kisses for You and Yours … Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Refined Sugar Free

 This post is linked to April in the RawThe Spunky Coconut Easter HolidayGluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Weekly, and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Mr. GFE’s company usually holds its holiday party at the same venue each year, a well-loved local Italian restaurant called Renato’s that’s located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It’s a party that I really look forward to … and not in small part because of the Orange Kiss dessert I know I’ll be enjoying at the end of my meal. Okay, the party has other niceties, too … including seeing old friends, dancing, an open bar, and delicious food fare (which has always been safe for me) in general. But I do especially like the Orange Kiss. It’s one of the few gluten-free options, but it’s a favorite of many who do not eat gluten free. The Orange Kiss is a hollowed-out orange filled with orange sherbet that’s Triple Sec-infused and almond-capped. It’s quite a refreshing, and just a tad decadent, frozen dessert.  The Orange Kiss is a recipe with an eye-appealing presentation and is enjoyed by all, but has an easy preparation. Ahhh, that’s the whole gluten free easily (gfe) (and more recently dairy free easily—dfe) philosophy in a nutshell! Oops, with today’s recipe I guess I actually mean in an orange “shell.” But don’t mind me … continue on.

It was the Orange Kiss that I immediately thought of when I signed up for the April in the Raw event, hosted by the lovely and talented Brittany of Real Sustenance. As the name implies, this event features all raw recipes and you can read more on the benefits of eating raw in Brittany’s kickoff post as well as see all the creative bloggers who are participating in this event here. So the question was could I re-create this recipe at home and stick to raw ingredients from beginning to end? Well, let’s see. First, Triple Sec is a processed liqueur, so that was out for this raw recipe. (See my notes following the recipe if you’d care to indulge in such an option though.) First, I started out by purchasing a few Cara Cara Navel Oranges, which are slightly prettier with their darker orange color and also sweeter than your average Navel orange. According to Sunkist:

Cara Cara oranges, a type of navel orange grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley, are available December through April. The bright orange exterior of cara cara oranges is similar to other navels, but their interior is a distinctive pinkish red, has an exceptionally sweet flavor with a tangy cranberry-like zing, and few to no seeds.

Renato’s frozen Orange Kiss can easily serve two people, but usually everyone gets their own dessert, so I eat most–okay, ALL—of mine. Thank goodness that party comes only once a year, because the truth is these citrus desserts are just too good to let the servers take away with anything but the “shell” left! However, when making my own for the April in the Raw event, I could ensure more reasonable portions. Instead of using whole oranges and just removing the “caps,” I cut the oranges in half. Then I removed most of the orange segments using a grapefruit spoon. The extracted segments were not pretty, but as they were destined for a blender and then an ice cream maker, that was not a concern.

The next consideration was a raw version of orange sherbet. I knew that would be easy enough. I often make gluten-free, dairy-free versions of sherbet and ice cream using full-fat coconut milk and other all-raw ingredients. It’s really so easy to do. (If you’re looking for any type of ice cream or sherbet recipes, be sure to click on my Recipes tab and then scroll down to Desserts to check them out.) I used a combo of coconut milk, orange segments and juice, raw coconut crystals, almonds, and honey to create my orange sherbet. After it churned to a frozen, but scoopable state, I filled my orange “shells” to create Orange Kisses, topped them with sliced almonds, and placed all but one in the freezer on a cookie sheet (Mr. GFE and I did have to do a “quality assurance inspection”). Once they were frozen solid, I placed them in an airtight freezer container until ready to serve.

We had a birthday luncheon at work just a few days later, and as luck would have it there were going to be only five of us. So my five remaining Orange Kisses made for perfect individual desserts for the event! I told the birthday girl and my other co-workers that they were my “guinea pigs” for a blog carnival event. Most eagerly added my elegant and tasty syrup as topping (again, see notes at end of the recipe). All gave my Orange Kisses two thumbs up and stated they’d be happy for me to use them as guinea pigs any time!

This dessert is a great one for other special, festive events, too, like holidays. In fact, I think it would be a great ending to an Easter meal, so I’m also entering it in The Spunky Coconut Easter Holiday event over at Kelly’s. (I’ll add the link for all the entries when the roundup is posted. I’ve seen some of the entries so far and they are outstanding!) Here’s my recipe for Orange Kisses below. Be sure to see the listing of all participating in the April in the Raw event and follow the links for a wide variety of many amazing recipes here.

Frozen Orange Kiss Desserts (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free)
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)

3 Cara Cara Navel oranges (or oranges of your choice)

plus ingredients for orange almond sherbet filling, shown below:

Orange Almond Sherbet

About ¾ cup orange segments and juice
1 can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled*
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp raw honey (or agave nectar, if desired, for a vegan option)
1/8 cup raw coconut crystals (or palm/coconut sugar for a non-raw version; see notes)
¼ cup sliced almonds (and additional sliced almonds for topping)

Orange preparation: Wash oranges thoroughly. (I scrub mine with soap and water, and rinse thoroughly.) Score oranges and cut in half over a medium-sized bowl. Remove segments/pieces using a grapefruit spoon. (Don’t stress over being perfect with this task. Any leftover orange within the “shell” will just get eaten later with the orange sherbet filling when the Orange Kiss is eaten.) Place segments/pieces in another small bowl, removing and discarding pith and any seeds as you go. (The Cara Cara oranges I used contained no seeds.) Pour orange pieces and juice from the medium-sized bowl into the small bowl.

Sherbet directions: Blend ingredients (except almonds reserved for topping) in blender on high for about 15 seconds, just enough to dissolve coconut crystals and break up orange pieces a little. You want some of the orange pieces in your sherbet, or at least I did. If you don’t want any orange pieces in your sherbet, blend a little longer. Pour into ready-to-go, frozen tub from your ice cream maker. Churn about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not overchurn. You want a soft, scoopable sherbet.

Orange Kiss assemblage: Spoon into hollowed oranges. Top sherbet with sliced almonds. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. After frozen, cover securely with plastic wrap or place in a freezer container if you will not be serving them immediately. Serve when ready. Note that you will need to remove Orange Kisses from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving so that the sherbet filling will soften enough to be easily eaten.

* I recommend using a full-fat canned coconut milk that has no preservatives (and ideally no gums, BPA, etc.) for best churning and sherbet texture.

Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!

Original recipe by Shirley Braden

Shirley’s Notes: The beauty of a raw ice cream or sherbet recipe is that you can taste it before churning and make any necessary changes to ingredients or amounts. If you are using a less sweet variety of orange, you may need to adjust the amount of honey and or coconut crystals slightly, to your taste. If you’d like to top your Orange Kisses with a sweet liqueur syrup (which unfortunately is neither raw nor refined sugar free), mix ½ cup of Triple Sec and ½ cup of Crème de Noyaux (almond liqueur) with ½ cup of coconut sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer/low boil. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened slightly. Turn off heat and let cool. Pour into a glass jar and store in refrigerator. Syrup will thicken upon cooling at room temperature and even further in refrigerator. Pour over Orange Kisses before serving. (Sorry … the Orange Kisses pictured are not shown with the syrup topping.) Note that other liqueurs like Grand Marnier or Limoncello would also be fine choices for making the syrup topping.

This post is linked to Raw Food Thursdays.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


56 Responses to “April in the Raw: Frozen Orange Kisses for You and Yours … Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Refined Sugar Free”

  1. Valerie @ City|Life|Eats on April 15th, 2011 3:16 am

    Oh My. This looks so so so fantastic. I was craving chocolate all over again posting my recipe for Grain-Free Chocolate Fruit Tart for Kelly’s event (and then falling asleep – darn jet lag) and now am awake again and found this recipe, and raw ice cream sounds so good about now :)

    • Shirley on April 16th, 2011 10:17 pm

      Hi Valerie–Welcome home! Hope you had a wonderful time with your family and that dreadful jet lag has passed now … it’s a bear for sure. :-) Your grain-free chocolate fruit tart sounds divine. :-) And I definitely think you’d like these Orange Kisses. Would you like to make a trade? ;-)


  2. Tina @madame gluten-free vegetarian on April 15th, 2011 7:51 am

    This looks beautiful, Shirley! I love the idea of scooping the sherbet into the orange rinds. I’m so impressed with all the creative ideas for April in the Raw. Thanks for all the inspiration! :) Tina.

    • Shirley on April 16th, 2011 10:56 pm

      Hi Tina–Thank you so much, dear! I love this dessert. April in the Raw inspired me and has so many others making amazing recipes! I tried Maggie’s Chocolate fRAWstie this evening and it was fantastic. :-) I froze half and Son enjoyed that as a fudgy frozen treat. ;-)


  3. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat on April 15th, 2011 8:42 am

    In an “orange shell”! You are just too cute! What a wonderful raw dessert. Some of my favorite childhood dessert memories are of a simple scoop of orange sherbet (probably laden with high fructose corn syrup!). Can’t wait to try this delicious creation!

    • Shirley on April 16th, 2011 10:58 pm

      Hi Heather–Glad you appreciate my fruity sense of humor! ;-) I think many of us fondly remember orange sherbet from childhood. Son always wanted it when he was feeling “puny.” Let us know if you give this recipe a try!


  4. Nina on April 15th, 2011 8:57 am

    Wow, these look gorgeous! So creative and a great contribution to April in the Raw! Can’t wait to try these!! Cheers, Nina

    • Shirley on April 16th, 2011 11:15 pm

      Hi Nina–Welcome to gfe. OMG, I love your blog name, Daily Kale! Way cool. Can’t wait to check it out! :-) Thanks so much for all the kind feedback, Nina! I hope you do make these little tasty lovelies–they’re fun and delish. ;-)


  5. AndreAnna on April 15th, 2011 8:59 am

    So since I’m not raw, I can pour the Triple Sec in there and drink the leftovers, right? :)

    This looks amazing – orange and almond are two of my most favorite flavors. Mostly with chocolate of course. But there’s no rule here that I couldn’t top this with dark chocolate shavings, is there?!

    Thanks for another great one, Shirley!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 12:40 am

      AndreaAnna–Haha! Sounds good to me, dear. ;-) I did enjoy the lovely liqueur syrup over these kisses, and dark chocolate shavings sound fabulous! I love a friend who comes along and offers even better variations to a recipe. :-)

      Thank you, dear!

  6. Brittany @ Real Sustenance on April 15th, 2011 9:00 am

    I knewwww you would come up with something really cool! Loving the simplicity and elegance of this. It’s the perfect spring/summer dessert. I bookmarked this one as it will for sure need to be part of a dinner party of some sort the next few months:)

    And I can imagine that it would taste wonderful in some sort of summery drink or punch too!

    Thanks SO much Shirley for being part of April in the Raw! xoxox

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 12:43 am

      Hey Brittany–You’re way too sweet! I’m honored you have such high expectations of me, and so glad that I met them. Hope you will enjoy this recipe in dessert or drink form in the near future. ;-)

      It was totally my pleasure to participate in the April in the Raw event. It’s been amazing already, and, happily, it’s still going! :-)


  7. Gigi on April 15th, 2011 9:36 am

    I just love this! The girls and I are always thinking of ways to use ‘natural’ containers to serve food in, and oranges are perfect for this! Didn’t nature just provide everything we need??

    Minus the almonds, I’m in! :) Little Chef saw this post and said she definitely wants us to try these – she said, “those would be perfect for out on the deck after grilling!” A foodie in the making!


    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 12:46 am

      Hey dear Gigi–Well, you know me … all about naturally gf, so natural containers fit the “MO,” too! ;-) Love that you’re on board with an appreciation for nature.

      This recipe would be easy to do without almonds. Can’t wait to see what you and Little Chef—the evolving foodie—come up with! :-)


  8. Ina Gawne on April 15th, 2011 10:27 am

    Wow, what a beautiful, decadent dessert! I wish oranges loved me as much as I love them…maybe grapefruit will work? This desserts looks like heaven!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 12:47 am

      Hi Ina–Great to see you again. :-) I think anything citrus would work. Can’t wait to see if you come up with your own version! ;-)

      Thanks so much, dear.

  9. Iris on April 15th, 2011 10:40 am

    I love this Shirley! The presentation is fabulous (don’t mind me if I steal your orange idea!) and orange sorbet has always been my favorite flavor!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 12:52 am

      Hi Iris–Thanks so much! :-) Borrow away, dear. ;-)

      Still thinking of your coconut biscuits … xo,

  10. Mew Maurer on April 15th, 2011 10:45 am

    I was been diagnosed by celiac on me. So I started to have my gluten free diet and now, Im always reading blogs to gain more infos on gluten free! Now I have reached yours and put on my list. Thank you so much!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 12:56 am

      Hi Mew–Welcome to gfe! Hope you continue to find lots of helpful info and recipes here! :-)


  11. Debi on April 15th, 2011 11:55 am

    Simple and simply beautiful, Shirley. Another must try from you. :D

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 12:58 am

      Hi Debi–Thanks, dear. :-) These are fun to make … cheerful in presentation and refreshingly good. ;-)


  12. Ricki on April 15th, 2011 12:25 pm

    Fabulous dessert, Shirley, and what a great submission to April in the Raw. I love the presentation (either half or whole orange–I’m sure I’d eat the entire thing, too). ;) I bet your coworkers were feeling pretty lucky to get those leftovers!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 1:00 am

      Hi Ricki–I’m glad you approve! :-) Yep, once you start eating, there’s no stopping until that orange “shell” is scraped clean. ;-) The co-workers do like me sharing. I’ll be making lemon sponge cake for us for a birthday luncheon on Tuesday.


  13. glutenfreeforgood on April 15th, 2011 12:29 pm

    I’m definitely a raw food fan and am anxious to check out all the “April in the Raw” recipes. What a great idea! And a cute name to top it off. =)

    I love your easy, fresh, simple and raw dessert, Shirley. It looks like it would be a fun one for kids to make and a great summer birthday party treat! Boy, there are lots of good coconut recipes floating around lately, this one included. I favor anything made with coconut, but mixing it with orange sounds over-the-top good.

    Peace, love and orange kisses!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 1:04 am

      Hey Melissa–Yes, it’s been a really great event! I’ve been delighted at the variety and quality of recipes shared for April in the Raw. :-)

      You’re right … this recipe would be fun for kids to make! Coconut milk is wonderful for making ice cream and sherbets, but there’s no coconut flavor that’s discernible. The orange and almond flavors definitely take top billing in this one. ;-) Thanks for the sweet words on these kisses!


  14. Angie Halten on April 15th, 2011 1:41 pm

    What a surprisingly refreshing idea for Spring time. This winter has been so long and this would be the perfect treat to welcome in Spring time for my family dinner this weekend. Thanks! Angie.

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 1:06 am

      Hi Angie–Good to see you again! Spring is springing up all around here so these kisses would really be appropriate now. :-) Hope you’ll report back with some feedback! ;-)


  15. Alta on April 15th, 2011 2:49 pm

    I love these! I remember eating orange sherbet as a kid – it was one of my favorite treats. (They even had orange sherbet push-up pops on special days at elementary school!) This is definitely an awesome gfe-raw recipe!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 1:09 am

      Thanks so much, Alta! We didn’t have push-up pops, but we did have orange dreamsicles, which were one of my faves. ;-) We used to have a seafood restaurant that would make dreamsicle adult beverages … they were SOOOO good … but I digress. LOL These Orange Kisses are light and lovely!


  16. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on April 15th, 2011 4:58 pm

    I am with Alta! I have super fond memories of orange sherbert as a kid, and as a special treat during the summer I always remember getting an orange creamsicle to eat by the pool! These are such a brilliant idea! What a quick and simple raw dessert! I am totally stealing this idea for this summer at the beach! In an “orange shell”, I LOVE IT!! ;)

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 1:13 am

      Hi Kim–I just said orange dreamsicle in my reply to Alta. What’s the difference? Not totally sure. It may just be a matter of interpretation. At the restaurant I mentioned with the frozen drinks, there was both a creamsicle drink and a dreamsicle drink. The creamsicle one was my favorite of the two now that I think of it. :-) Anyway, steal away … fun, pretty, and delish for summer eating near the water! ;-)

      Thanks! xoxo,

  17. Jennifer R. on April 15th, 2011 7:47 pm

    wow — you have great locations for parties — Renato’s and Museum of Natural History — awesome! The orange dessert looks lovely — I’m sure my kids would love it too!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 7:54 am

      Hi Jennifer–Yes, I am a lucky girl, aren’t I? We actually didn’t get to go to the party at Renato’s this year because hubby and I were on our epic road trip. (It’s been held in January the last couple of years vs the busy holiday season itself.) And next year if I’m still eating dairy free, I won’t get to indulge. So I had to come up with this version for an occasional fun treat. ;-) If you and your sweet kiddos make these, please let us know what you think! :-)


  18. Ellen @Gluten Free Diva on April 15th, 2011 10:06 pm

    I was browsing the net for some Passover dessert recipes and found this. Yum. It really looks fantastic. And perfect for my Passover seder since it’s gluten free and grain free. Plus, it so reminds me of a creamsicle or one of those drinks we used to get at the mall – remember? Orange Julius. Only much healthier and probably even more delicious! Beautiful job Shirley!

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 7:58 am

      Yippee, Ellen, that’s great to hear! :-) I have lots of grain-free recipes here at gfe! Who didn’t love creamsicles and Orange Julius type drinks? Making this similar orange dessert had to be done and making it dairy-free was really so easy. So glad you approve!


  19. Christine on April 15th, 2011 11:46 pm

    Shirley, you’ve definitely out done yourself! This looks like an amazing dessert for a warm day. (Now only if that warm day would come around here… haha) I’ve bookmarked this for the next warm day! :)

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 8:11 am

      Hi Christine–Awwww, thank you, my dear! No really warm days here yet either, but we’ve been blessed with a few really lovely ones. ;-) I think you’ll enjoy this one … let us know. Of course I’m still thinking about your Tropical Carrot Cake with Cheesecake Icing! I saw you had one rave review already. :-)


  20. Nancy @SensitivePantry on April 16th, 2011 7:34 am

    Yum! I’ve seen those pretty sherbet filled fruits at restaurants and some upscale grocery stores. Never thought to make them myself but why not? This is a fun and elegant dessert for a dinner party…or for just me and the hubs! TY, Shirley.

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 8:14 am

      Hi Nancy–Wow, if you’ve even seen these desserts in upscale grocery stores, it’s like another world where you live! LOL, but true. This dessert is really so easy, but yet it is so festive and fun. Making Orange Kisses for you and your hubby should definitely be added to your “to do” list for some day soon. ;-)

      Thanks, dear!

  21. Sophie on April 16th, 2011 12:18 pm

    I have eaten a similar recipe like this one! This is always tasty with a bit of booze in it! Yum! The endresult looks so tasty & stylish too,..Great for a dinner party! :)

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 8:18 am

      Sophie–The boozy versions are definitely “yum,” right? ;-) This version is a tad lighter without any booze and still quite lovely. These do make for a lovely surprise for a group event like a dinner party. My co-workers loved them!


  22. Maggie on April 17th, 2011 9:28 am

    These are delightful little treats, oh my! The mixture reminds me of a creamsicle popsicle! YUM! I noticed you mentioned coconut milk free of gums, can you recommend one? I can’t seem to find one and would love to! Your last picture totally makes me think of summer! Great job Shirley :) And your coworkers are soooo lucky! xo

    • Shirley on April 17th, 2011 10:40 am

      Hi Maggie–Everyone is saying that about the creamsicle connection! Obviously so many of us loved those ice cream treats. :-)

      Maggie, I haven’t found a coconut milk lately that makes me happy, but previously I used Ty-Ling Coconut Milk that had nothing but the coconut milk. I can find it online on a few sites, but the info I find on Ty Ling coconut milk online right now is confusing and confusing or not, when I do find it, it’s on backorder. As for the confusing part … for example, Amazon only shows Ty Ling light coconut milk. There are two reviews and one is a complaint that the milk is not really light, so maybe that would still work. (Silly complaint in my book, as you can add water to make it as light as you want; that’s what light coconut milk is … coconut milk with water added.) BUT I can’t determine from that product listing on Amazon that it’s still gum-free. If you google Ty Ling coconut milk, you’ll find other sites that show it, but then they don’t show the ingredients and it may be on backorder or you may not be able to find it once you’ve clicked on the links within. Frustrating.

      Goya is gum free, but it contains Potassium Metabisulfite! I’ll take the gum over that any day. And because of that preservative, the Goya just “behaves” completely differently than other coconut milks IMHO. And by differently, I mean not well at all.

      BTW, Ali recommends Native Forest organic coconut milk, which is on Amazon, because it’s BPA free, but now it contains guar gum, too. Still, this may be the one I stock up on if I can’t find the Ty Ling brand. It would be far better to have organic and BPA free than the other choices I can currently find for gum-free. Anyway, if anything changes I’ll let you know, and if you should find gum-free Ty Ling, please let me know.

      So glad you liked my Orange Kisses, Maggie! Sending a virtual one to you! ;-)


      • Maggie on April 17th, 2011 1:06 pm

        Thanks for the detailed reply Shirley! I like the sound of Ali’s choice. I tend to stick with guar gum when I do use gums so this would make me happier! And the BPA free element is very important to me. Have a great day. xo

  23. Rob on April 17th, 2011 2:34 pm

    These look fun, perfect for the upcoming summer heat!

  24. Linda on April 18th, 2011 2:59 pm

    I’m another one who has fond memories of orange sherbet. I love the way you served it in the hollowed oranges.

    • Shirley on April 19th, 2011 8:36 pm

      Thanks, Linda! One B&B we visit from time to time always serves sherbet (they call it sorbet) at breakfast. There are several choices and while there’s only a tiny dollop served to each guest, everybody beams and savors theirs. It’s obvious how much everyone loves the treat. I have to wonder how much of that goes back to childhood memories. :-)


  25. cheryl on April 18th, 2011 3:53 pm

    I haven’t had orange sherbert in forever! I will have to make these soon.

    • Shirley on April 19th, 2011 8:43 pm

      Hi Cheryl–These are lovely treats and can be enjoyed by many. Hope you do get to have these treats soon!


  26. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat on April 23rd, 2014 7:58 pm

    It’s so good to see these again! Thanks for linking them up to Raw Foods Thursdays. I’m going to feature them this week!

    • Shirley on April 23rd, 2014 8:12 pm

      Thanks so much, Heather! I’m honored to be featured on Raw Foods Thursdays! :-)


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