Category: Drink - The Baker and The Chef
 
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It's that time of year to do holiday cooking.  I love this time of year!  When it comes to holiday dinners I'm very traditional.  There are certain things that must be on the table for me to feel like the holiday was a success.  I love turkey, and even on Christmas when it's traditional to serve ham, I still prefer turkey.  I also have to have "pink stuff" and "green stuff".  Pink and green stuff is a concoction that my mother came up with years ago and it's become a staple at every holiday meal.

Another holiday staple is egg nog.  My extended family has a "take it or leave it" attitude when it comes to egg nog and so it's hit or miss if it will make it to the dinner table.  My immediate family loves it, especially M1, who can drink an entire quart in a matter of minutes.

In keeping with my tendency to re-work classic dishes, I thought I'd give making homemade egg nog a shot this year.  I'm so glad I did!  Compared to the commercial egg nog the homemade nog is so much lighter and more refreshing.  You can drink it with the rum or without.  We went without because it was mainly for the kids and me to drink, although I forced everyone to at least try it!

I also chose to cook the eggs to not run the risk of anyone getting sick.  That would really ruin the holiday!  The key is to gently cook everything so as not to end up with scrambled eggs.  Just like when making the pastry cream, it's critical to keep everything clean and get into the refrigerator very quickly.

I definitely recommend trying to make your own egg nog this year.  Especially for those people who claim not to like it, this will change your mind.  It's delicious and such a decadent treat!

HOMEMADE EGG NOG:

    yield: 80 oz

  • 4 c Milk
  • 1 1/2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 t Vanilla
  • 12 Egg Yolks
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 C Rum (optional)
  1. combine milk, pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes; slowly bring milk mixture to a boil
  2. in mixing bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar; whisk until fluffy
  3. temper the hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs; pour mixture back into the saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened; do not allow mixture to boil; let cool for about an hour
  4. stir in rum (if using) and cream; refrigerate overnight before serving; shake well before serving
  5. top with a dash of cinnamon
 
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The other day I was waiting in line and my mind drifted off.  I was thinking about what I would like to make later that day.  I didn't want to make anything huge because we were going out of town and I didn't want to be forced to eat an entire pan of something or have to let it go to waste.  I was also thinking about maybe making a stop at Starbucks.

Then it came to me... I could make a white hot chocolate but instead of whipped cream or a regular marshmallow I could make a brown sugar marshmallow.  I sent a text to The Chef to ask him if he thought that sounded good and he gave me an emphatic "YES" in reply.

I dashed home so I could make the marshmallows.  The marshmallows need ten hours to set up so I needed to get those done.  I make my own marshmallows when I make Rice Krispie Treats and people ask me why mine are so much better than theirs.  When I tell them it's because I make my own marshmallows... well, they look at me like I'm crazy.  Oh well.  It's a food thing.  You either get it or you don't!

After making the marshmallows and letting them set for most of the day I made the white hot chocolate.  Usually when I make a (regular) hot chocolate I either make it with a mix or I use cocoa powder.  I figured I would have to use white chocolate as there isn't a white cocoa powder.  I knew the drink needed some richness that had to come from somewhere other than just dumping in a bunch of white chocolate.  If I did that it would just taste like a melted candy bar, which isn't bad, but not what I was going for.

I decided to add some heavy whipping cream to the milk.  I gently warmed the milk and cream and then poured it over the chocolate and stirred it together, completely melting the chocolate.  Then I whisked in a very high quality vanilla and continued whisking to get the top a little foamy.  I then added the brown sugar marshmallow, let it sit for a minute so the marshmallow could melt a little and took a sip.  It was fantastic!  So, if it's a cold night and you're looking for a special treat this is a great one!  It's quick and simple but you and whoever you make it for will love it.

-The Baker

WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE:
    yield: 32 oz

  • 2/3 C White chocolate, good quality, coarsely chopped
  • 3 C Whole milk
  • 1/2 C Heavy Cream
  • 1 t Vanilla extract
  1. place white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl; set aside
  2. in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and heavy cream; heat until bubbles begin forming around the edge of the pan, about 4 minutes
  3. immediately pour the hot cream mixture over the white chocolate pieces; when the chocolate begins to melt, stir the mixture to combine
  4. whisk in the vanilla extract; continue to whisk until a light foam forms on the top
  5. pour the hot chocolate into serving mugs; garnish with marshmallow
BROWN SUGAR MARSHMALLOWS:

    Yield: 13" x 9" pan
    Prep: butter or spray (very well) sheet pan

  • 2 envelopes Gelatin
  • 80 g Water
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 323 g Sugar
  • 200 g Light Corn Syrup
  • 80 g Water
  • 1 g Salt
  • Powdered Sugar (for dusting) equal portion to corn starch
  • Corn Starch (for dusting) equal portion to powdered sugar
  1. Put 1st portion water and vanilla in mixing bowl and sprinkle gelatin over to bloom
  2. Put sugar, corn syrup, 2nd portion water and salt in a heavy saucepan; bring to a boil and cook to 236 F
  3. Using whisk attachment, with the mixer at full speed, pour all of the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl (this is the bowl with the gelatin in it); be very careful as mixture is extremely hot and may splash out
  4. Whip until mixture is very fluffy and stiff (approx 8 – 10 mins)
  5. Pour mixture into buttered or sprayed pan and smooth with an oiled offset spatula
  6. Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered, at room temp for 10 – 12 hours
  7. Mix equal parts powdered sugar and corn starch and sift generously over top of marshmallow slab
  8. Turn slab out onto a cutting board and dust that side with powdered sugar and corn starch mixture
  9. Cut into desired shapes; dip exposed edges in sugar/starch mixture or colored sugar
I apologize, but the captions aren't working.  For some reason when I put in the captions all of my pictures get deleted.  Very frustrating!  Unfortunately I can't explain what's happening in every picture, so if you're confused please ask questions and I'll gladly answer them!

-The Baker