Spiced Eggnog

by brookefiore

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It’s full steam ahead as far as the holiday season is concerned. I’m not in a panic for reasons one would think, for my Christmas shopping has been complete for days now. I managed to conveniently spread out my shopping in a way that I was able to enjoy it while simultaneously dodging the crowds, the stress, and the drudgery often associated with this unrelenting task.

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Rather reluctantly though, I realize that no amount of Christmas gifting preparedness can bring the snow to the balmy shores of Connecticut that I currently reside on. The mornings are dense with fog, moths flutter about the front light as though it is July, and I wonder when I will learn to not be bothered by the things I cannot control. I feel as though I am five again, waiting for the white Christmas that rarely comes. I turn the heat down low, turn up the volume dial on the CD player and let Bing Crosby’s voice transport me to the snow covered Vermont hills of a wonderful time, so long ago.

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Even if we cannot have a white Christmas, I can make it feel like Christmas (enter various hand made gifts and holiday crafts here) and I can certainly make it taste like Christmas. For any local readers, you may have caught the front page of the Daybreak section this morning. Incredible, Edible, Eggnog. Bingo.

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Three recipes were provided and a nice little column on the food safety aspect of it all. I took a pinch of  the “Holiday Eggnog” recipe and a bit of guidance from “Chai Eggnog” to successfully craft my very own spiced eggnog. In true dietitian fashion, I used 1% milk instead of whole, and light cream instead of heavy. I assure you, the results are terrific. Cheers my friends!

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Spiced Eggnog

Serves about 4

1 1/2 cups 1% milk

1/2 cup light cream

1 cinnamon stick, smashed using the side of a butter knife

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 whole cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

2 large pasteurized* eggs

1/4 white sugar

brand or rum for flavoring if desired

grated nutmeg for garnish

Combine the milk, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, ginger and a generous pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it beings to simmer. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a sieve, discarding the solids. Wipe out the saucepan and return the milk mixture to medium heat. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the sugar in a medium bowl for 2 minutes. Add the heated milk to the eggs in a stream, whisking gently. Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not let simmer or the eggs will scramble!

Quickly add the light cream to stop the cooking process and transfer the mixture to a pitcher. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve in chilled glasses, or over ice, adding a dash of brandy or rum if desired and top with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.

*Pasteurized eggs are commercially pasteurized using a low heat process that destroys Salmonella while maintaining the appearance and nutritional integrity of the egg. Other options include cooking the eggs, milk to an internal temperature of 160 F and allowing it to cool completely prior to carrying out the rest of the recipe. One last option is to use an egg substitute but I don’t have information for an appropriate amount. You might be thinking…that the addition of alcohol will make the eggnog safe. My advice: don’t count on it.

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