Monday, December 15, 2014

Eggnog Made Easier #ChristmasWeek

Welcome to Day One of Christmas Week. This event is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. We hope to inspire you to break out those holiday sprinkles and get your bake on!

For my first offering, I decided to make eggnog, which seems to be one of those things that people tend to love or hate - no middle ground.

I'm on the "love" side of the equation, and now I'm just a little bit obsessed with making my own. I know some people are skittish about the raw eggs in some recipes, but this one is fully cooked. And it's easy - no need to temper eggs. It's just mix and cook.

If you think about it, a cooked eggnog is really a thin custard pudding. It's made to be drinkable rather than pourable. It's like the difference between ice cream and a milkshake. Or Greek yogurt and drinkable yogurt. Or a banana and a smoothie.

Since eggnog is really just a drinkable pudding, I decided to steal a few tricks from pudding-making. This one is easier to make than a traditional nog, and although it's thick and rich, it doesn't include any heavy cream.

The secret ingredient is the cornstarch, which is what thickens a lot of puddings. It helps to thicken the eggnog and make it silky. Of course there are still eggs, which contribute their own richness and flavor.

As far as spices, I prefer to keep things simple, with just a hint of nutmeg. But if you like, you could add pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or other flavors. Once you've made it, make it your own.

Easier Eggnog
Makes 1 quart

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 1/2 cups milk, divided
4 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
Tiny pinch of nutmeg - just a whisper of it, particularly of it's freshly grated
1/2 cup whiskey

Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 3 cups of the milk, whisking as you go - lumps of cornstarch are not good. Add the egg yolks and salt, and whisk well to make sure the eggs are well-blended.

Turn the heat to medium, and cook, stirring most of the time, until you feel the mixture begin to thicken, then stir continuously until the mixture begins to simmer. Adjust the heat so the mixture is barely simmering, but not boiling. Cook another 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Turn the heat off and add the remaining milk and the whiskey, and stir well.

Note: If you're not sure how much whiskey you want in your eggnog, or if you're serving to both adults and kids, you can leave it out and add it to each individual glass. 

Pour the mixture immediately through a strainer into a bowl or storage container. Or into a large glass measuring cup with a spout, for easy transfer to a jar or bottle. It's important to get the mixture out of the pot fairly quickly, since it's still very warm and you want the eggnog to stop cooking.

You shouldn't have a lot of bits in the strainer, but there are always a few, particularly if you didn't do a great job separating the eggs - the whites tend to cook into little clumps, which isn't something you want in your beverage.

Refrigerate the eggnog until fully chilled. Serve chilled, or over ice, if you prefer. Garnish with a little more nutmeg or a sprinkle of sugar, if you like.

 More about CHRISTMAS WEEK!!!

Swing by all the participants to see what they've been whipping up for the holidays:

Thanks to our sponsors for Christmas Week. Anolon is donating a 5-piece Bakeware Set. Swing by their Facebook Page to show them some love. We also have Ball supplying us with 4 sets of Jars in their gorgeous Green Heritage Color. Swing by their Ball Canning and Recipes Facebook Page to say hello.

Giveaway Prizes include:

More details on the prizes!
One lucky winner (US only) gets ALL of this!
Plus 1 Copy of each of these cookbooks:

I was not provided product or incentive for participating in this event.