The cooler weather always brings out new cravings from the taste buds. Pumpkin pie, Hot Apple cider, Beef Stroganoff, Hot soup and Sandwiches. My senses always seem to be tuned to the seasons, and taste is one of the foremost that get triggered. For my husband, he starts craving eggnog. I have never been a big milk drinker (although my family loves it), or a huge fan of thick creamy drinks. I think it is the sensory aspect of it for me; I don't like the thickness in my mouth or throat. It just feels wrong to me. However, my family feels differently, so this post is dedicated to them.
Is there a history of eggnog? Who would have thought of it, but there apparently is quite a bit. A very brief internet search provides us with a few historical references, like one from Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages to this one. Fascinating!
We love to cook and bake in our family, and often tinker with other recipes until we come to something that is more our tastes. Since we try to avoid sugar in general, we also use different sweeteners than simple cane sugar. Xylitol, erythritol, agave and even honey are staples in our pantry.
This recipe was our starting point. We used Alton's recipe for many years before we had to radically change our diet away from carbs and refined sugars (more on that another time). This eggnog is still a great one unaltered, but here is what we have done to make it our own. I have to note that we will continue to refine this recipe until we get it to a point where we are completely happy with it.
This recipe makes just over half a gallon, so you may want to cut it down if you want a smaller batch:
- 12 eggs (organic, free range and fresh will taste the best)
- 1/2 cup xylitol
- 1/2 cup erythritol
- 1/2 cup agave
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 packet Knox Gelatin
- 1 cup water
- 6 cups whole milk
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat eggs until they start to turn lighter in color and a little frothy in the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric hand held mixer (A stick blender would probably work well too). Add the xylitol and erythritol slowly until they have dissolved, then add the agave.
Put water into a small saucepan, and slowly add the gelatin over low heat, stirring constantly, until dissolved. If it clumps up, it can be reincorporated at the end in a blender.
Bring the milk, cream, and spices just up to boiling in a large pot while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and gradually add the milk mixture to the egg mixture. This tempers the eggs by bringing them slowly up to the temperature of the milk without instantly cooking the eggs into a solid mass. Return the combined egg and milk mixture to the large pot and add the gelatin slowly while constantly stirring until incorporated. Add the honey, and heat on the stove while continuing to stir until it reaches 160 degrees (or until too hot to taste).
Put into a stainless steel bowl and put into ice bath and stir until cool or you are too impatient and ready to drink it NOW. Put remaining eggnog into gallon container in fridge and enjoy!
It doesn't last long in our house, maybe a day at best.
Cooked vs. non-cooked eggnog: This is a cooked eggnog recipe. You can also make this uncooked, which some people prefer. However, raw eggs may contain salmonella, a bacteria responsible for a serious food-borne illness. The choice is up to you. Bringing the eggnog up to 160 degrees will kill off the harmful bacteria. There is a great website that discusses egg safety here.
With vs. without alcohol: This recipe is without, mainly because we are staying at the IL's and they don't drink, and we didn't have any with us when we made the eggnog. If you want to have an alcoholic eggnog, add approximately 3-4 Tablespoons rum, bourbon, etc. to taste with the milk mixture before you combine it with the eggs, if you want the flavor of the alcohol without so much of the effects. Add in at the end before you cool it, if you want the alcohol to remain. It is up to you!