Fans of eggnog cheer when they see it decorating the dairy case during the last few months of the year. But after December it disappears again. Though we love the smooth, custardy sweetness, we may hate the additives listed on the back panel of the carton. But you can enjoy this treat year-round by following an easy nonalcoholic eggnog recipe. (Alcohol is optional at the end.)
First, gather your ingredients.
Depending on your state, you may be able to purchase fresh, raw milk and cream. Or your own dairy animals. Perhaps you’re consigned to purchase milk and cream at the supermarket, but don’t let that disappoint you. The store-bought stuff still makes amazing eggnog. The “milk” portion of this recipe can be anything from skim to whole milk, but real cream is necessary to carry the flavor
Now you need eggs. This is the primary focus of eggnog and amazing custards. If you know your egg facts, then you know the digestible protein in cooked eggs is higher than that of raw eggs. Farmers keeping their own chickens don’t have to worry as much about salmonella, but it can still be a danger. Gently heating the eggnog past 160 degrees avoids that worry worry as much about salmonella, but it can still be a danger. Gently heating the eggnog past 160 degrees avoids that worry. Before starting this recipe, either gather fresh eggs from the coop or let refrigerated eggs stand on the counter just long enough to come to room temperature. This allows the eggs to temper better when they meet the hot milk.
Third, you need sugar. Simple white sugar creates a pure and clean flavor. But if you want a distinct hint of caramel in your eggnog, replace some or all of the sugar with brown sugar, piloncillo, or date palm jaggery. But have a conservative hand here; if you use too much brown or natural sugar, the deep flavors might overpower the delicate vanilla.
And speaking of vanilla, have you learned how to make homemade vanilla extract? I highly recommend it. The ingredients are pure and the flavor is amazing, both traits that we also want for our nonalcoholic eggnog recipe. You can also use one or two vanilla beans, unlocking the flavor by steeping the pods and seeds for a half hour in hot cream before using the cream to continue on with the recipe.
Last of all … nutmeg. It may be difficult to find whole nutmeg outside specialty shops and international stores. It’s brown, hard, and round like a fruit stone. If you can find it, grab it up and grind it fresh using a fine-toothed rasp grater. Even if you don’t have access to the whole spice you can find flavorful, high-quality nutmeg in your local supermarket.
Honorable mention: rum extract. This puts the “nonalcoholic” in “nonalcoholic eggnog recipe.” Using a little rum extract gives the eggnog warm, buttery notes without inebriating your children. If you desire a more adult beverage, add a few ounces of real rum or bourbon.
Photo by Shelley DeDauw
Cooked, Nonalcoholic Eggnog Recipe
- 1 dozen large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon rum extract (optional) – I would add this (or if you want an alcoholic version, a splash of rum)
In a medium bowl or in the bowl to a stand mixer, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until they become a thick, light yellow. Let stand while you heat the milk.
Combine the milk, cream, nutmeg, and salt in a large saucepan. Heat on medium-low, stirring often, until the mixture barely reaches a simmer.
Now carry the saucepan over to your egg yolks and start your mixer. (Or whisk vigorously by hand as you scoop.) Start with ½ cup of the hot milk, slowly adding it to the eggs while whisking constantly to avoid clumps of cooked egg. Add another ½ cup, continuing to whisk so you slowly temper the eggs to the correct temperature. Keep adding the milk in the same manner until it has all been added to the eggs.
Pour the tempered milk/egg mixture back into the saucepan and continue heating on medium-low, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a cooking thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and rum extracts.
You can be finished at this point, but if you love a truly smooth drink, filter it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any small clumps of egg or spice. Now pour into a heat-proof container and stretch plastic wrap over the rim, pressing the plastic against the eggnog to prevent a skin from forming as the mixture cools.
Now that you’ve made your amazing homemade, nonalcoholic eggnog recipe, what are you going to do with it? Drink it, of course. But you can also use it as coffee “creamer” for an eggnog latte. Try it as the milk/cream base for a chai tea, adding warm vanilla tones to an already sweet and addictive drink. Or cool the mixture at least 24 hours before pouring it into the bowl of an ice cream maker. There’s no need to alter the recipe to make eggnog ice cream; the fat and sugar balances are already perfect.
How do you make homemade eggnog even more of a treat? Try using goat milk instead of cow milk for a distinguished tang (learn more about goat milk benefits.) Replace the chicken eggs with duck eggs. You don’t have to research the egg facts to notice how the difference in the proteins affects the beverage’s final texture. Try replacing some of the sugar with honey. Add a little cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and just a tablespoon of smooth pumpkin puree for pumpkin spice eggnog. Or, when the milk is nice and hot, replace the nutmeg with a spoon or two of cocoa powder for a thick, rich chocolate nog.
Have you tried this cooked, nonalcoholic eggnog recipe? Please let us know how you liked it.