December 10, 2012 by Kimberly Beauchamp, ND
If eggnog could be considered healthy, this would be it. Pure maple syrup sweetens the mixture of cream and egg yolks in this perfectly festive holiday staple (yes, I consider eggnog a staple).
I use eggs from my back yard hens; the deep yellow color of the yolks gives the drink a delicious hue. But even if you use store bought eggs, you’ll see the natural shade of the eggnog come through.
Maple syrup replaces the corn syrup or sugar used in commercial eggnogs, and it works really well here—the maple taste doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors.
In the final heating, make sure you don’t let the mixture come to a boil; it’ll cause the yolks to coagulate. I know this, of course, because I’ve made this mistake. It won’t be ruined (or at least I’d never let a slightly lumpy batch go to waste), but you’ll need to whisk it vigorously right away to try to disperse the clumps if you do accidentally over heat it. Your best bet is just to avoid this error all together and watch it closely during the final stages.
8 cups half and half, preferably organic
5 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tsp cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup (don’t even consider using anything but the real stuff; it’ll positively ruin your eggnog)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Slice vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Put vanilla bean and seeds into a medium saucepan with half and half, cloves, and cinnamon. Heat on low for 5 minutes, then slowly bring to a boil.
In a large mixing bowl, add egg yolks and maple syrup. Mix on high until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Once the mixture in the pan comes to a boil, remove from heat. Use a skimmer to strain cloves and vanilla beans (discard these). Then SLOWLY add the half and half mixture to the egg yolks and syrup, mixing on low to combine. Return (the now very expanded mixture) to the pan and heat over medium until it thickens. DO NOT let it boil!
Remove from heat, add vanilla extract and nutmeg and stir to combine.
I love to drink my eggnog warm. You can do this or refrigerate it over night (covered) and enjoy it the next day.
Makes a lot of eggnog (about 12 servings). Be prepared to share.