Eggnog: Do you love it or avoid the punch bowl full of it like the plague at every holiday party you attend? No matter how you feel about the spiked egg-and-cream beverage, there’s no doubt it’s a holiday staple.
There’s debate about eggnog’s origins, but most people believe it’s a descendant of an old British drink called “posset,” — a creamy ale drink that’s served warm. Monks eventually added eggs to the beverage, and American colonists in the 1700s created the tradition of having it around the holiday season. (They’re also the ones responsible for making rum, not sherry, one of the primary liquors used in the beverage.)
Even George Washington wrote out his own recipe for eggnog — heavy on the alcohol. His version included healthy measurements of brandy, rye whiskey, rum, and sherry, along with the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar. Apparently, Washington’s Yuletide party was the place to be.
Whether eggnog is your favorite staple of the holidays or you’re still a little hesitant, there are plenty of spinoff desserts that incorporate the drink’s signature flavors and creaminess. Celebrate the flavors of the holidays with these delicious options.
1. Homemade Eggnog
If you’re not singing eggnog’s praises but you’ve only ever had the stuff from a carton, don’t give up on the drink just yet. Time points out most store-bought versions often contain very little egg, instead relying on fake flavorings and an overload of sugar. If you’ve never tried making it yourself, Food Network’s Alton Brown has a simple recipe to follow. Make the drink raw (as is tradition) or use the alternative directions to cook the mixture. This recipe uses bourbon, but feel free to switch it out for rum.
- 4 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 pint whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces bourbon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 egg whites
Directions: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the ⅓ cup sugar and continue to beat until completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.
For cooked eggnog, follow this procedure: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the ⅓ cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.
2. Caramel Eggnog Brownies
There’s nothing better than a good brownie — unless of course it’s topped with a cheesecake and eggnog mixture, then drizzled with caramel sauce. This recipe from Tastemade can be as easy or as complex as you’d like: Use your favorite from-scratch brownie recipe, whip up a batch of eggnog, and make your own caramel sauce — or buy those staples and make a semi-homemade confection. Either way, your guests are going to want seconds of this decadent dessert.
- 1½ cups eggnog
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sugar
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 box of brownie mix
- 1 cup of caramel sauce
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Pour eggnog into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until reduced to a thick, syrupy liquid, about 5-7 minutes. (You should be left with 1 cup.) Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Pour in eggnog and mix until combined. Add egg, sugar and nutmeg as desired.
Mix brownie mix according to package instructions. Pour half of the brownie mixture into prepared pan and spread to edges. Top with half of the eggnog mixture, spreading to edges. Repeat with remaining brownie mixture, followed by eggnog mixture. Draw a skewer through the brownie mixture to swirl together.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and cheesecake layer is set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before drizzling with caramel sauce. Cool to room temperature and allow to set in the fridge for at least an hour before slicing.
3. Eggnog No-Churn Ice Cream
Traditional ice cream is made with an egg base, so it makes sense that eggnog ice cream would be a delicious dessert offering. Try this no-church recipe from Delish. It takes 10 minutes or less to mix together, although you will need the patience to allow the ice cream to set in the freezer. Make it the night before, and the freezer will do its job while you sleep.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ cup eggnog
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg, plus more for top
Directions: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in sweetened condensed milk, eggnog, and nutmeg.
Transfer mixture to a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with additional nutmeg and freeze until firm, 5 hours.
When ready to serve, remove from freezer to let soften, 10 minutes.
4. Eggnog Pudding
For some reason, we love the comfort of puddings around the holidays. With this eggnog-laced version from Country Living, you’ll have a beautiful layered dessert with many of your favorite holiday flavors — complete with gingersnap cookie crumbs for a bit of crunch every bite. It’s an impressive-looking dessert that’s thankfully still simple to make.
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ cups half-and-half
- 1¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoon molasses
- ⅓ cup brandy
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 25 small gingersnap cookies
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
Directions: To make the pudding, fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Bring the sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup of the half-and-half, nutmeg, molasses, brandy, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and ¼ cup half-and-half in a medium bowl until combined. Slowly add in ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, while continuing to whisk, and set aside.
Whisk the cornstarch and remaining half-and-half together in a medium bowl. Quickly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the hot milk mixture. Place the pan back on heat, increase to medium-high, and whisk constantly until it just boils.
Remove from the heat and add the egg mixture, while stirring vigorously, to the hot milk mixture. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid just begins to simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and strain into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, placing the film directly on the hot pudding, and set in the ice bath to cool. Refrigerate.
To assemble the dessert: Crush 1 gingersnap and set aside. Combine the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and beat to soft peaks. Alternate layers of cooled pudding, gingersnaps, and cream in six 6-ounce individual custard cups. Chill for at least one hour. Top with crushed cookies and serve.
5. Whipped Eggnog Loaf Cake
When you have leftover eggnog and can’t stand one more beverage, turn it into a cake instead. A loaf cake like this one from the Kitchn won’t be overly decadent, but it will still satisfy the sweet tooth that likely grew during the holidays. The key to this recipe is whipping the eggnog before incorporating it into the cake mixture. This will make the eggnog frothy (and will double in size) — which adds lightness to the finished product. Plus, there’s a boozy glaze as a bonus. What could go wrong?
- ½ cup whole-fat eggnog
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment so the extra hangs over the sides. Coat the parchment and exposed sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whisk the eggnog at high speed until it doubles in volume, 6 to 8 minutes. Because of the eggs and other ingredients, it won’t actually form peaks like whipped cream, but it should become very frothy and airy. Keep the whipped eggnog in the refrigerator until ready to use.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it becomes creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the sugar until the mixture looks fluffy and light-colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the butter mixture. Mix on low speed just until the ingredients come together into a dough. It’s OK if there is still a little flour visible on the dough and the sides of the bowl.
Using a spatula, gently mix ⅓ of the whipped eggnog into the batter. Pour the rest of the eggnog into the bowl and gently fold it into the batter. At first, it will look like the eggnog won’t go into the batter. Just keep gently folding and stirring, and eventually it will form a smooth, glossy, pourable batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The loaf is done when the top is domed and golden-brown, and when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then lift it by the parchment paper and transfer to a cooling rack. Remove the parchment. When the loaf has cooled but is still warm to the touch, whisk together the glaze ingredients and spoon over the loaf. Let the loaf stand until the icing is set and dry. Slice and serve.
The loaf will keep at room temperature, covered, for about three days.
6. Eggnog Cream Puffs
What’s more satisfying than a cream puff? Nothing. With this holiday-inspired version from Taste of Home, you’ll be the hit of any party you attend with these in tow. Taste of Home provides directions for making the basic puffs, along with an eggnog-spiked filling with all the flavors of the holidays.
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup butter, cubed
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 large eggs
For the whipped cream
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup eggnog
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Additional confectioners’ sugar
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to a rolling boil. Add flour all at once and nutmeg and stir until blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring vigorously until mixture pulls away from sides of pan. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake 30-35 minutes or until puffed, very firm and golden brown. Pierce sides of each puff with tip of a knife. Cool on wire racks. Cut top third off each puff.
In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar, eggnog, vanilla and nutmeg; beat until soft peaks form. Fill cream puffs with whipped cream just before serving; replace tops. Dust with additional confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately.
7. Eggnog truffles
A glass of your favorite holiday flavors is nice, but what about a concentrated bite of decadence? That’s what you’ll get with these eggnog truffles from Woman’s Day. Technically, there aren’t any eggs involved — just some cream cheese, rum, white chocolate, and a few other ingredients that mimic the flavors. The best part is you don’t have to worry about separating any eggs.
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 24 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs, from about 44 cookies
- Freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon, for topping
Directions: In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the cream, cream cheese, and rum, stirring often, until the cream cheese melts and the mixture is hot to the touch (do not boil).
Remove from heat, add 12 ounces chocolate and stir until completely melted. Fold in the crushed cookies. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a small spoon to scoop the truffle mixture into tablespoon-size balls, carefully rolling between your hands. Place on the prepared pan and freeze until very cold and firm, at least 30 minutes.
Melt the remaining 12-ounce chocolate in the microwave. Dip the balls in the chocolate, tapping off the excess, and transfer back to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the nutmeg and cinnamon and refrigerate until ready to serve.
8. Eggnog mousse
Like pudding but with an airier, classed-up feel, this eggnog mousse from Martha Stewart is everything you want it to be. Gelatin gets mixed with rum and brandy, then incorporated with traditional eggnog ingredients to form the mousse, which you can make the day before your event. Martha’s team suggests serving this mousse with a variety of toppings, such as a homemade caramel sauce, crushed peppermint, or holiday spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 1 envelope unflavored (1 scant tablespoon) gelatin
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Coffee Caramel, for serving (optional)
Directions: Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Combine spirits in a small bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin; let soften, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and ½ cup sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; whisk until mixture is pale and fluffy, 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in gelatin mixture.
Set bowl over pan again; cook, whisking, until the gelatin has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to the ice bath; scrape down sides of bowl, and whisk until cooled slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the remaining ½ cup sugar with cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of whipped cream into gelatin mixture, then gently fold gelatin mixture into remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate (no more than 5 minutes) while preparing the egg whites.
In a clean bowl of the electric mixer, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into cream mixture. Transfer to a serving dish; cover. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes or overnight. Serve chilled, garnished with coffee caramel and other recommended toppings.
9. Eggnog cinnamon rolls
If you’d like to bring some holiday spirit to the breakfast table, these soft and rich cinnamon rolls from Half Baked Harvest are the perfect way to do it. You’ll start with a homemade cinnamon roll dough that incorporates some eggnog, then top it with a traditional cinnamon-sugar filling. Just a few tablespoons of eggnog in the frosting is enough to bring all the flavors together.
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup warm eggnog
- ¼ cup plain vanilla yogurt
- 1 egg
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt 1 vanilla bean, scraped (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling
- ½ to ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 stick butter, very, very soft (the blogger suggests microwaving it for 15 seconds until soft but not melted)
- ½ cup white chocolate chips (optional)
For the frosting
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 ounces white chocolate melted
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons eggnog
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: To make the dough, place the yeast and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Add the warm water and gently stir. Allow to rest until the yeast has doubled and is puffed and foamy on top, about 10 minutes. Add the melted butter, warm eggnog, yogurt, and eggs, then stir to combine. Add in the flour, salt, vanilla bean seeds, and vanilla extract. Knead the dough with the dough hook until it is smooth and forms a ball, about 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl and coat the bowl with a thin layer of oil or cooking spray. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap; then allow the dough to rise in a warm area until it has doubled in size; about one hour.
To make the filling, add the brown sugar and cinnamon to a bowl and mix well. Generously grease a 9-by-13 baking pan with butter. Dust a flat surface with flour, and roll the dough into a rectangle (roughly 9-by-24 inches).
Spread about 6 tablespoons of the extremely soft butter evenly over the dough. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough, lightly pushing it into the butter. Sprinkle on the white chocolate, if using.
Starting with the long edge closest to you, pull the edge up and over the filling, carefully rolling the dough into a log. (Keep it fairly tight as you roll.) Pinch the edge to seal when you reach the other side to complete the roll.
Blogger’s pro tip: Use unflavored dental floss to cut the log into rounds. To do this, place the floss under the roll where you want to cut it. (Aim for rolls that are about ¾- to 1-inch thick.) Take the ends of the floss in each hand and wrap them around the roll, not changing the hands that hold the floss. Tighten until the floss comes out and the individual roll is separated.
Place rolls in the prepared dish, then cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Just before baking, brush the remaining butter on top of the rolls. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted white chocolate, cream cheese, and butter until creamy and light. Add the powdered sugar and mix well, then add the eggnog and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Spread the frosting on warm rolls, then serve immediately.