It’s the first Friday in Advent, which means that it’s time to trim the tree!!
Tonight, we’ll be getting out the Favourite Photo Ornaments, along with the tree, the lights, and all the other baubles. We’ll order fish and chips, turn on some favourite holiday movies, and eat a few of the Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons we made on Wednesday! Oh, and Bea and I picked up a fabulously oversized [675g box] of Merci Chocolates at the Toronto Christmas Market yesterday for Toby. [Merci’s a kind of family passion! We loved their kitschy-wonderful little commercial and jingle — you can even download the music, here — and ended up loving the chocolates, too] And, as an extra treat, I’m making Homemade Eggnog!
I love, love, love eggnog. And I’ve finally settled on a recipe to end all recipes! Note, this is a cooked, custardy recipe, and may be made with or without alcohol. If you leave out the booze, be sure to make the recipe no more than 24 hours ahead of your party. The alcholohic version will last about 3 days in the fridge. As the raw eggwhites are reserved, you can choose to fold them into your entire batch or fold them into individual beverages depending on the needs or tastes of your guests. Of course, the consumption of raw eggwhites can pose a bit of a risk, so it’s nice to be able to let your guests decide. I tend to fold the eggwhites into the alcoholic beverages by the individual glass, but leave them out of the non-alcholic nogs.
The Lunchbox Season's AMAZING Homemade Eggnog
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean scraped, and its seeds
- 1 tsp nutmeg freshly grated if possible
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 8 large eggs separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Optional: 1/3 to 1/2 cup bourbon [we've also used rye]
- Optional: 1/4 to 1/3 cup cognac brandy, rye, or more bourbon
- [*We might aim for a total of about 2/3 to 3/4 cups alcohol if you are using it]
- Additional freshly grated nutmeg cinnamon sticks, and grated cinnamon for garnish
- Instant-read or candy thermometer
- Reserve your eggwhites by storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator [for up to 24 hours] or by freezing them.
- Place the milk, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, and freshly grated nutmeg in a 2-3qt heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.
- Once the mixture is just boiling, remove from the heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon stiks and vanilla bean. [I use a strainer.]
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until you can create yellow ribbons with the whisk.
- Slowly whisk in the warm milk into the egg mixture, making sure to whisk continually!
- Return the empty saucepan to the stove and adjust the heat to medium low.
- Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and begin stirring constantly.
- Stir constantly over low heat for about 6 minutes, or until the mixture just reads 170F on a thermometer. The mixture should just coat a spoon.
- Immediately strain the custard through a fine sieve into a large bowl or large, sealable container like a mason jar.
- [Here, you may wish to divide the custard into two servings, one for children and non-drinkers, and one for guests who drink alcohol. If so, use half the amount of alcohol in the recipe, and divide the cream evenly between the two servings.]
- Stir in the cream, bourbon, and additional alcohol of your choice.
- Cool uncovered.
- Then, cover or seal tightly, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day for non-alcoholic eggnog, or for up to 3 days for alcoholic eggnog.
- Before serving, beat the reserved egg whites until soft peaks form.
- The whites may be folded into the drink as a whole or stirred by the dollop into individual drinks, [We tend to do this on a glass by glass basis to be conscious of those who are wary of consuming raw eggs. And we tend to only use egg-whites in alcoholic beverages.]
- Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.
What? Still not up for making your own Eggnog? I highly recommend Kawartha Dairy Eggnog in Ontario. It’s the best store-bought I’ve ever tried. But seriously, why not have both the homemade and the storebought kind? I like to use the latter in Eggnog Tea Lattés!
Want some more help getting ready for your own Tree Trimming fest? Check out last year’s amazing post: 10 Ways to Prep for a Family Tree Trimming Party!