Eggnog vs. Eggnog

Little fact about me: I LOVE eggnog.  Love it.  Usually can’t keep it in my house because I will drink it…and by “it” I mean half a gallon in one sitting.  Luckily, my husband also loves eggnog.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do if he was an eggnog hater.  You know, one of those people that have no taste for the finer things in life–such as eggnog.  Ok, ok, I’m being a little melodramatic about the haters…ya’ll aren’t that bad.  And you have to have good taste because you’re on this blog!  But I really have to question your disdain for the sweet, creamy, delicately spiced liquid wonderfulness (umm, yeah, that’s totally a word) that is eggonog.  I’ve thought about what could make someone hate this delicious holiday drink and I can only come to one conclusion:  the name.  Think about it.  Eggnog.  EGGnog??  How appetizing does that sound, really?  Not much.  But it says little about the yumminess of this drink.  I’m fairly certain if someone tried rebranding it and naming it something along the lines of “Heavenly Melted Ice Cream Nirvana” or something, it would sell like never before.  Because that’s honestly what it tastes like!!  At least to me.  And that is why I love it so.  I can only hope that more people will come to love it as I do.

Anyway.

I did a little taste test.  This is totally unofficial.  I’m no expert.  I just love eggnog.  And doing a taste-test in the name of “research” for this blog, was a totally valid excuse to buy way more eggnog than I need in one lifetime, let alone the same day.  Man I have a hard job!

So I tried four different kinds.  It would have been five, but my absolute favorite brand, So Delicious Coconut Milk Eggnog, sold at our local health food store, hadn’t hit the shelves yet.  That stuff is creamy, thick, has a very slight hint of coconut and is dairy-free, which is what we do in our house (with the exception of this little experiment…obviously).  It’s amazing.  Anyway, I chose Hiland which is the brand both Jeremy and I grew up on, Silk Soymilk Nog they sell at Wal-Mart, Organic Valley from our local health food store and Anderson Erickson from Hy-Vee, which is a brand I’d never heard of until my friend Joel mentioned it.

I’ll try not to bore you with all the delicious details and be as succinct as possible.  Let’s start with the least favorite, Silk Soymilk Nog.

Silk Soymilk Nog:  I actually bought this before I’d purchased any of the others and had been drinking it for awhile thinking it was a suitable substitute.  That was until I put it in this taste test.  Against the others it had a watery/skim milk consistency and a very noticeable nutty/soy undertones.  It will do if you’re dairy-free and need a fix but against the others, it was a big loser.

Anderson Erickson:  This was number three (sorry Joel), which doesn’t mean it was bad it just had to go somewhere in the ranking.  It was VERY SWEET, had no nutmeg fragrance and you couldn’t even really taste the spices, which I happen to love.  It was very thick and creamy and almost had a caramel taste to it.  Jeremy and I decided that it did, in fact, taste like melted ice cream!  Good, but too sweet for us.

Organic Valley:  This stuff was very good and not as thick and heavy as the others.  It had a more “pure” taste to it and you could smell and taste the spices.  I thought the flavors and sweetness were balanced nicely.  We both really liked this one.

Hiland Dairy:  This was our absolute favorite.  It was thick and creamy, not too overly sweet and had the perfect amount of spices/nutmeg.  We loved this one.  Just as we have loved it for all our lives since we were wee little ones.  Which could have something to do with why it ended up being number one!  Yay for childhood favorites! (Oh and p.s. Hiland had the least amount of calories, fat AND sugar BY FAR out of the top three!  Sweet!)

So, that’s my unprofessional, totally non-expert take on those four eggnogs.  And I’m dying to know…what is your favorite brand???  Do you even like eggnog?  Don’t worry, I won’t judge you if you don’t, promise. 😉

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Eggnog Caramel Sauce

The other day I was making caramels.  Well, I thought I was making caramels.  I have this recipe for amazing, chewy caramels that I’ve made for years and decided to try and switch things up and make them EGGNOG caramels.  As the buttery, sugary mixture boiled and did its thing, I thought to myself, “Yeah…these are going to be awesome.” The scent of eggnog and caramelized sugar smelled divine and I could not wait to sink my teeth into one of these babies.

Imagine my shock the next day when I went to check on the caramels and ummm, they weren’t quite as firm as they should be.  As a matter of fact, the weren’t firm AT ALL.  Bummer.  But then I had a thought!  Eggnog Caramel Sauce?!  Heck yes!  What I thought was a disaster actually turned out to be the most wonderful, delicious thing ever!  We warmed our sauce in the microwave for about 10 seconds and drizzled it over vanilla ice cream and our taste buds were immediately transported to total nirvana.  To be honest, I rarely have mistakes that actually turn out for the better and this was totally an exception.  The flavors of caramel and eggnog in this sauce are just incredible.  Perfect for gift giving.  Or just keep it all to yourself.  Like we’re doing.  Hah.

Enjoy!

P.S. This sauce would pretty much be AMAZING over this Gingerbread Loaf Cake.  Trust me on this one.

Eggnog Caramel Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Salted Butter
  • ½ c. Dark Corn Syrup
  • ½ c. Lyle's Golden Syrup (or Light Corn Syrup)
  • 2 c. Eggnog
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Bring sugar, butter, dark corn syrup and light corn syrup to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes without stirring. Stir in eggnog, turn heat to medium and bring to boil. Cook, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and nutmeg and pour into a bowl to cool. Once cooled, pour into jars and store in the refrigerator.
Notes
Makes 3 cups of caramel sauce or 3, half-pint jars.

 

 

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Festive Holiday Punch Recipes

Here are some great punch recipes that would be appropriate for either Christmas OR New Year’s.  Any of these would be a nice change from the same old mug of cider or glass of champagne you’d normally serve.  The coffee punch is soooo good…I will never forget the first time I had it at a bridal shower and thought “what IS this?!”  I immediately obtained the recipe (as I’m sure everyone else at the shower did) and occasionally get the urge to make it for myself.  Yes, just for me, no special occasion or party or whatever.  But I haven’t done that…yet.

Hope you find one you love!

Ultimate Eggnog Punch

Coffee Punch

Christmas Cinnamon Punch

Peppermint Eggnog Punch

Milk Punch

Citrus Champagne Punch

Mocha Nog Punch

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Eggnog Fudge

I FINALLY had candy making success last week–yessss!  Lately, things have been a little rough in the kitchen and I have no idea why…maybe doing too much at once or not having enough time, but for whatever reason, my candy making had been very, very sad.  But with this latest recipe for eggnog fudge, I have regained my confidence!  Yay!

I happened to see that Brown Eyed Baker had posted this recipe earlier in the week and decided to make it for my husband’s office Christmas party on Friday night.  I made it Friday morning since the instructions said to let it sit overnight and it was actually totally set up by noon, in about four hours.  I also had a little trouble with the directions, as my fudge reached the temperature  waaaaayyyyy before the stated time of 8-10 minutes.  So I have my version of her recipe in this post, but if you’d like to go by the original, you can find it here.

Oh and I should mention that the day I made this it tasted very much like white chocolate to me and not as eggnog-y as I had hoped but by the next day the flavor was awesome and tasted JUST LIKE eggnog.  Totally yummy.  Try this recipe for creamy, rich eggnog fudge…you will LOVE it.

Enjoy!

Eggnog Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ c. Eggnog
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 11 oz. White Chocolate Chips (I chopped mine to allow for quicker melting)
  • ¼ t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1, 7 oz. Jar Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 t. Rum Extract or Pure Vanilla (which is what I used)
Instructions
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and let it hang over the sides, creating "handles". Butter well and set aside.
  2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, eggnog and salt over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, immediately and quickly stir in the chopped white chocolate chips, nutmeg and vanilla until melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow creme. Beat until blended and then pour into prepared pan. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool and firm.
  4. Using the foil "handles", lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 60 pieces.

 

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Homemade Christmas Candy

This past weekend I made homemade candy, which is probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of old recipes and a couple of new ones.  One of the new ones was out of a candy book that I have and unfortunately it was a total disaster.  It was supposed to be similar to a 3 Musketeers but was more like chocolate taffy.  The taste was great because I used my super delicious Mexican cocoa powder but the texture was way off.  I was soooo disappointed in the recipe but I’m not going to give up!  I think that is what I like about candy making, it can be a challenge and it’s fun to figure out why recipes went wrong and what to do right or change the next time.

Here is a small collection of candy recipes that I’d love to try this Christmas, from simple to a little bit more complicated.  The homemade Snickers bar and Coffee Toffee are totally calling my name…actually they ALL look good!  Which one would you like to try??

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Gumdrops

Coffee Toffee

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Cherry Cordials

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Peanut Brittle

Eggnog Fudge with White Chocolate and Walnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Divinity

Homemade Snickers

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Salt Water Taffy

Chocolate Covered Coffee Crackle Crunch

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