Eggnog from Scratch
My brother doesn’t like eggs and won’t eat them scrambled or fried or in an omelette. He makes exceptions for French toast (which both he and I eat with salt and pepper and none of that foofy stuff like icing sugar) and for homemade eggnog but otherwise, eggs are for going in cookies and cakes and giving away. So, it’s entertaining that he has about 2 dozen happy hens at his property in Alberta who delightfully pop out, on average, an egg a day, even in the winter. Go, Chickens. Go.
When we visited last winter, we had been tempted about this “unbelievable” homemade eggnog before our arrival, which we brushed off as crazy Albertan farmer talk. See, Ross and I are fans of the nog, and in the Christmas season we consume a fair number of litres of the stuff. But generally it’s from a carton from <insert grocery store here> and its sole purpose is essentially a carrier for spiced rum. Nog is nog and we like it but it’s not anything other than a seasonal delight.
But this year, I’m a convert. Nay, I’m not just a convert, I’m a nog evangelist.
First, a word on eggs. I’m an advocate of purchasing eggs as fresh as possible, and as local as possible from the most happy chickens you can. I have, do, and will pay upwards of $6 a dozen for eggs at the store or the farmers market. I like my eggs and I’m not afraid to buy good ones. The best eggs will be from your own chickens but we can’t all have chickens in our yard (yet). If you need to buy them from the store, read the package carefully. Organic, free run, and free range all mean something different, and eggs can be cold-stored for MONTHS, literally, at a time.
At the store, I personally choose free range eggs because that usually means the chickens have access to outside pasture and delicious bugs. They fed vegetarian feed, and are often supplemented with things such as flax. Free run eggs indicates they are cage free but likely live in a barn with some sort of bedding to scratch at and do not have access to outside pasture. $5.50 – $6 is not unusual at the grocery store. At the farmers market you are looking at about $5-6, but keep in mind they were likely collected the night before so they are fresh fresh fresh. One final thing: if the store package doesn’t say free run, free range, cage free, organic or some other such thing – chances are the chickens live in tiny cages piled on top of one another. If you can sleep at night knowing some animal lived an uncomfortable food producer life, then go nuts. They are significantly cheaper and I think they also taste blander. Happy chickens mean great eggs.
Disclaimer: What you are about to make is with raw eggs. If you get sick from choosing to eat raw eggs, don’t blame me. Our family eats sushi, honey, runny egg yolks, beef tartar and all sorts of other raw products and so I don’t bat an eye when I make this. But for some people, a raw egg is the harbinger of pestilence. So, consider yourself warned.
Homemade Eggnog – this recipe is courtesy my sister in law Loralie
- 12 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (you can reduce this down to about 3/4c if you want)
- 3/4 t salt
- 12 cups homogenized milk (2% will also work but it will be less creamy tasting)
- 3 T vanilla
- Brandy and/ or Rum (* see note below)
- Sprinkle ground nutmeg (fresh grated is best)
- Beat eggs in extra large bowl until light. (No, seriously, extra large).
- Continue beating while adding sugar and salt gradually, and beat until sugar is dissolved.
- Add milk and vanilla.
- Add brandy and rum – adjust strength by increasing or decreasing liquor.
- (Liquor may be left out and 5-6 TBSP of rum flavoring added instead).
- May be refrigerated up to 24 hours before serving or stored, covered in refridgerator for 6 days. (Jen says “HA HA HA! 6 days, yeah right! As if it will last that long in this house!”)
- Optional: run through blender to foam.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Makes 28 – 5 oz servings.
* Note: I do not add the alcohol to mix. Instead, I add spiced rum to glass and then top with eggnog and then stir.