December 24th Isn’t Just Christmas Eve!
Time flies for most of us during the month of December, with normal, everyday activities interspersed with celebrations and social functions. Those of us who also care for our aging parents are extra busy this month trying to “get it all done.” December 24th, Christmas Eve for many, is the climax of an extremely busy month. Cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and decorating take up enormous amounts of time.
December 24th is often considered time to spend with family and friends enjoying a good home-cooked meal with relaxing conversation. It is a time for adults to catch up on the latest gossip, play games around the kitchen table, and remember the “good old times.” The young ones in the family have an opportunity to get reacquainted, play together, and build and establish friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. Aging parents and grandparents have an opportunity to enjoy the young ones and offer words of wisdom.
However, December 24th is also National Chocolate Day and National Eggnog Day! So along with the warm family association, enjoy two favorite foods on this special day: chocolate and eggnog. Just thinking of the pairings could make your mouth water; a warm cup of eggnog and a large piece of chocolate cake, a scoop of eggnog ice cream over hot apple pie with a cup of hot chocolate and a peppermint stick, or a huge piece of eggnog fudge.
Please enjoy the following recipes (my family has!):
- 3 quarts whole milk; use 1% or 2% milk for a lower fat version
- 2 and 1/2 – 3 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 10 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 and 1/2 – 2 tbsp. vanilla
- rum or brandy to taste (optional)
- dollop of whipped cream for garnish
- sprinkle of nutmeg for garnish
- Beat eggs & vanilla together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Combine 1 quart of milk with sugar and flour in a large saucepan. Stir over low-medium heat until the mixture just begins to boil. Turn the heat down to low, and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Do not scorch the milk!
- Remove from heat and whisk beaten eggs quickly and vigorously into a hot milk mixture.
- Return to low heat and cook, stirring, for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 quarts of milk.
- Add brandy or rum, to taste.
- Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg or chill in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes, then serve cold with whipped cream and nutmeg, to garnish.
Makes 32 servings.
- 2 – 2 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 2/3 cup eggnog
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 12 oz white chocolate chips
- 1 (7 oz) jar of marshmallow cream
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Foil a 9 inch square pan and set aside.
- Combine the sugar, butter, eggnog, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until butter is melted. Stop stirring once the mixture reaches a rolling boil and clip a candy thermometer onto the pan.
- Heat mixture to 235 degrees Fahrenheit (113 degrees Celsius), until a small amount of mixture dropped into cold water forms a soft ball.
- Remove the pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the white chocolate chips and marshmallow cream until everything is completely mixed. Pour into the prepared foiled pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with walnuts to garnish if desired. Cool completely, then cut into small squares for serving.