My apologies! I probably should have put this post up before the holidays, huh? Sorry about that! I’m a bad blogger!
When I first met my husband, I discovered that he possessed an AWESOME family recipe for homemade eggnog. It’s one his grandfather created decades before that’s been passed down through the generations, and it’s really, really excellent all the way around … except that a) it was a full-sugar recipe … and b) it was really kinda thin, especially to someone like me, who had only ever been exposed to thick, store-bought nogs before.
When my husband became diabetic, we successfully changed the recipe to use Splenda instead of sugar. It was a simple one-to-one substitute, so it was no biggie … and my husband was thrilled he could continue making and enjoying this holiday treat.
I’m being precise when I say my eggnog is no-sugar-added. I’m not adding any sugar to the main ingredients in the nog … but–in its natural state–one of the main ingredients in egg nog already contains 11-12 grams of sugar in every single cup: the milk. Whole milk contains 11 grams of milk sugar per cup, known as lactose. Skim milk–because some of the fats are removed, so the cup contains more fat-free milk–contains even more: 12 grams of this same milk sugar. If you don’t know anything about lactose other than the fact that many people–especially adults–are lactose-intolerant, you may not realize that lactose is very similar to the fructose you find in fruit. It’s a simple sugar, yes–when sucrose (table sugar) is a more refined and complex sugar–but there’s just no sugar-freeing something with any lactose in it. Sorry!
Regardless, when you make your eggnog with Splenda instead of regular sugar, you’re saving yourself mondo-calories and sugar carbs. Like my husband, I loved the flavor and the fact that I, too, could enjoy eggnog without all that extra sugar added in … but the fact that it was so thin just kept it from being my absolute favorite. I found myself still buying the occasional quart of the mass-processed stuff each year, just to feel that thick eggnog coating in my mouth.
My husband–a Scorpio with a mild case of Aspergers Syndrome–doesn’t take change well. That’s kinda like saying that mountains don’t dance well It took me a long time (i.e.: years) to convince him to give me a chance to experiment with his recipe … to see if I could make it a little thicker. He finally relented two years ago–right around our ninth wedding anniversary–to give me a chance to show him that I could thicken his eggnog … AND make him like it that way.
I’m pleased to say it worked
Here’s my version of his family’s age-old recipe:
Lane’s No-Sugar-Added, Super-Thick Version of the Zoephel-Knox Family Traditional Homemade Eggnog … or LNSASTVZKFTHG for short
- two dozen large eggs
- two cups Splenda granulated
- two large boxes of Jello SF Instant Vanilla Pudding
- one gallon whole milk
- one quart heavy whipping cream
- four teaspoons vanilla extract
- nutmeg to taste
Crack eggs into a small bowl–one at a time–so that you can inspect each one for shells or spoilage first … before you pour it into an extra-large mixing bowl. If you think cracking each one in a separate bowl and then pouring it into the main container is a waste of time–you’d rather just crack them straight into the big bowl–then imagine what would happen if egg #24 were rotted … and you didn’t realize it until AFTER you’d already dropped it in among the other twenty-three. I wouldn’t want to pitch them all after that, but I’d have to … and so would you.
I use my giant stainless steel bowl for this job. Here’s what two dozen eggs look like when you’re ready for the next step:
Turn your electric mixer on low to start, then pour in the Splenda. Just like when you would add sugar at this step in the normal recipe, the grit of the Splenda helps you and your mixer break down the connective tissue in the eggs more effectively … grinding down all those thicker pieces that–when they hit your tongue–remind you that you’re drinking homemade eggnog, yes … but that also might not be the most tasty thing to encounter in what would otherwise be butter-smooth eggnog.
Many of the ingredients will stick in lumps while you’re making this recipe, all sitting poised above the liquid line–when you need all of it mixed in–so be sure to scrape the bowl periodically throughout this process. Once all the Splenda is incorporated, turn the mixer up to high and start beating the eggs. You want them thick, lemon-colored, and frothy, so be sure to mix them a good long time. The longer you mix your eggnog in this step, the better your final texture will be.
Once all the eggs and Splenda are mixed to your satisfaction, add the boxes of dry sugar-free vanilla pudding–one at a time–making sure to mix the first one in thoroughly before you add the second. That pudding is the trick to nice, thick eggnog … and it imparts a fair amount of Splenda AND some nice vanilla flavors, too.
By the time you have the second box of pudding mixed in, your eggnog base will be starting to thicken nicely, as you can see in the picture below.
Again, take a couple of minutes here to beat that pudding and egg mixture on high speed. You’ll continue to break down any remaining egg bits, as well as soften and cream the other ingredients, too. Every bit of this mixing will improve your final texture.
Once it’s nice and smooth, you want to start adding in your milk. DO NOT ADD THE WHIPPING CREAM FIRST! You need to add the gallon of milk first here, in order to thin the mixture down some. If you added the whipping cream first, you’d probably end up with an amazingly thick egg cream that would taste awesome … but by the time you mixed it in enough, then started adding the milk … the butter solids would have started to form in the whipping cream … leaving lumps in your eggnog. Since we’re trying to void lumps here–as I said–mix in the gallon of milk first. Then–once it’s completely incorporated, thinning the eggnog quite a bit–add in the whipping cream, too.
Once you get it to this point, taste it. I add about four teaspoons of pure vanilla extract at this point–or a combination of things like vanilla/butter/nut and brandy extracts, like I did this time–but you don’t need to add that much … or you can add more: your choice. You may decide that the vanilla pudding added enough vanilla flavor for you all on its own … or you may decide that you want it more strongly-flavored than I do.
I added about half a fresh-grated nutmeg, too. Use more or less as it suits you. If you’re not that crazy about nutmeg … cinnamon, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice all play nicely with eggnog, too. Use what suits you.
Regardless, look at that thickness. Look how nicely it coats the mug I used to dip it.
Imagine how yummy it is, too! Or–the heck with imagining–make a whole or half recipe for yourself soon … and be amazed and thrilled at how profoundly awesome LNSASTVZKFTHG can be! In fact, I’ll bet you’ll forget it’s full of protein, diabetic-friendly, and very low in sugars beyond the lactose in the milk. Honestly–once you taste it–I’ll be surprised if you ever buy that stuff in the carton again
One final note: You may still find the occasional bit of more solid egg in this. It is, after all, made of real eggs. If that bothers you, simply strain the eggnog through a wire-mesh strainer as you put it into containers for storage. Me? I usually put it right back into the gallon container my milk came out of, and then I put the remainder into one smaller pitcher … after making us each a large, frosty glass, of course