Thursday, December 03, 2009

Egg Nog Adventure

We are egg-nog-aholics here in the Dooley household (non-alcoholic of course). I try to put off the egg-nog ache for as long as I can every year because I know once we start we can't stop until the store runs out!

Unfortunately I made the mistake of sending Dave out for some emergency whipping cream--can't have pumpkin pie without it--over the weekend and he couldn't pass the dairy section without succumbing to the cravings. That gallon disappeared faster than the pumpkin pie!

Sunday afternoon Heath was bemoaning the case of the hastily glugged gallon when he happened upon the happy idea of making some at home. He seized my recipe bible from off the shelf (Joy of Cooking), flipped through and found a recipe, jotted down a shopping list and charged us with the task of making homemade egg-nog for Family Night, Monday night.

We opted for the safe and sane "Cooked Egg-Nog" recipe and made a few changes to it. First of all instead of using the 3 cups Cream and 3 cups Whole milk that was called for in the recipe we used 6 cups half and half because that's what cream and whole milk mixed together is-- half and half (Yes, it was cheaper) --get it?

The second change was an accident. The recipe called for "12 large egg yolks". Cora was reading the recipe to us and stopped at "12 large egg . . .". She just got too excited, hopped off her stool and ran to the refrigerator for the eggs. I had no idea I had to proof read a recipe read by a 6 year old (ie: I was lazy and/or busy). She and Afton had those eggs cracked and whisked in no time. I don't know how this affected the end result because I haven't made it the proper way yet.

The third change was made the day after. The egg-nog tasted a bit like rice pudding, bland rice pudding. And it left that thick, slimy feeling on our tongues and teeth that always results from too much cream and we didn't like that. Heath used his very technical 8th grade science vocabulary to explain to his sisters that "the viscosity is too high." We fixed it by adding milk--to dilute the cream content--and adding more spices--to enhance the flavor.

We were very happy with our end result, even just a small shot of it (still non-alcoholic) was enough to satisfy so it seemed to last longer (3 days) than the last gallon (36 hours). It tasted best on the last day so I guess all the flavors had finally melded perfectly.

Here is the recipe with our changes. We will try this again sans egg whites and see if it changes the "viscosity", texture or taste. If it's better without I'll let you know.

Dooley's Egg Nog
(cooked, non-alcoholic)

Do not double this recipe!
In a large, heavy saucepan, no heat yet, whisk just until blended:
12 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 T ground nutmeg
1 t ground allspice
1/8 t ground cloves
Whisk in:
4 cups half and half
Place mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes a little thicker than heavy cream (about 170-75 degrees). Do not overheat, or mixture will curdle!!!
Remove from the heat and immediately stir in:
2 cups half and half
4 cups milk (I used 2 %)
Pour through a strainer into a storage container. Chill thoroughly in refrigerator(at least an hour), uncovered, then stir in:
2 T vanilla extract
correct spices to taste adding more nutmeg, cloves or allspice as desired
Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Serve sprinkled with :
ground nutmeg (optional)
or with:
whipped cream and a cherry(optional)

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