Thick and Yummy Homemade No-Sugar-Added Eggnog!

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 :)

About Lane

Just a canner ... on this food journey called life :)
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5 Responses to Thick and Yummy Homemade No-Sugar-Added Eggnog!

  1. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderfully entertaining, detailed description of your eggnog!
    I haven’t made it yet, but my daughter just asked me TODAY to research THICK eggnog and I love the way you wrote this!

    I am absolutely going to try it!

    Happy New Year to you and yours, and again thanks for spending so much time on this recipe!

    Debbie

  2. Lane says:

    Hi Debbie :)

    You’re quite welcome! I hope you and your daughter like it as much as we do!

    Granted, it’s a little more work than just opening a carton of eggnog … but–in our house–we’ve decided it’s worth every bit of the extra effort! Besides, it’s really not *that* much work … not when you compare it to the old recipes for thicker eggnog, the ones that start with a cooked custard base. Those take careful heating/cooking and a massive amount of stirring … then you have to cool the cooked custard completely before mixing in the milks and flavorings and blah, blah, blah … so–as far as I’m concerned–instant vanilla pudding is the best trick in the world to shortcut the time it takes to make thick eggnog, and when they created sugar-free pudding … it was perfect for thick and yummy homemade no-sugar-added eggnog! :)

  3. ConcernedFoodie says:

    Wow those pictures sure make the recipe look even tastier and kinda easy to follow. As a person who loves to cook and bake in my kitchen at home and is really concerned for what I cook, I would simply offer a friendly recommendation…. when using egg-based recipes, maybe try pasteurized shelled eggs. Especially when you are making something that leaves some part of the egg raw. This would also be good for diabetics or anyone with an weakened immune system. Pasteurized eggs eliminate any risk of salmonella, or foodborne illnesses, so that’s why I think they would work out for this recipe. Plus with all these recent egg recalls and salmonella outbreaks, you can never be to sure. You should check them out.

  4. Lane says:

    Hiya, CF! :)

    Thanks for posting this! I’d actually planned to add a paragraph about salmonella, etc. … but forgot by the time I started telling the story of how we made it. I appreciate your prompt in this area … and your suggestion!

    According to what you hear on the news, salmonella and other food-borne illnesses are definitely on the up-swing in the US and other countries … so if you’re someone who is at great risk for the kinds of bad health problems that bacterial contamination can bring … then–yes, by all means–use pasteurized eggs! Alternately–I’ve never tried it myself–but I understand that people also use Eggbeaters and other egg substitutes in their eggnog, too. That would help prevent bacterial issues AND cholesterol issues, too.

    If you want to pasteurize your own eggs, the Center for Disease Control says:

    Plain whole eggs without added ingredients are pasteurized but not cooked by bringing them to 140°F and maintaining that temperature for 3 and 1/2 minutes.

    If the eggs are to be used in a recipe with other food items, dilute the eggs with liquid or other ingredients, such as milk, or sugar (at least ¼ cup liquid or sugar per egg as in custard) and cook the egg mixture to 160°F, which will destroy harmful bacteria in a few seconds. Adequate cooking brings eggs and other foods to a temperature high enough to destroy bacteria that might be present.

    So–if salmonella is a BIG concern in your area, if you’re planning on feeding small children or older people, or if your health is seriously compromised in any way–you’d probably be better off either using pasteurized eggs, or a recipe for thick eggnog that involves cooking a custard first.

    However, my husband and his extended family (and it’s big, too … spread across some 20+ states these days, coast to coast … let’s put it this way: he has 16 first cousins alone, and that’s not even beginning to count all the uncles, aunts, grands, and other versions of cousins … close and distant, current and past) have been making/drinking/loving his family’s original eggnog recipe–and all those raw eggs–for generations now … not to mention all the neighbors and friends they’ve shared it with over the years … without a single case of food-borne illness attached to the practice. I myself tend to have the ability to catch anything bacterial that comes down the pike in my direction … and I’ve been drinking it raw for more than eleven years now myself … without a bit of side-effect, other than that great eggnog flavor in my mouth! :)

    Lots of other people can make that same statement, too. Lots of people eat and drink raw eggs every day … from fighters in training, who crack and drink glasses absolutely full of raw egg protein and power … to moms licking the spoon on a bowl of cake batter. These people stretch from coast-to-coast as well.

    I’m not saying that the salmonella+ egg link isn’t real. Modern egg production is geared toward automation and “how many hens and eggs can we cram into the smallest place possible” … so we’ve lost the hands-on element we once had in that arena. With humans less involved, eggs–like much of the rest of our modern food supply–are at a greater risk now than they were when we got most of our eggs from local farms, where the farmer touched/inspected every egg …. and had pride in providing a clean and healthy product … since they met their customers face to face, week after week. And I’m not denying that people DO get sick from salmonella contamination these days. This is a fact, and some of the cases have been linked to eggs scientifically.

    However, if you look at the overall numbers–and the normal practices of a lot of the population of this planet–to me … the risk seems to have been over-blown well out of proportion, especially in recent years. No doubt, the 24-hour news cycle holds a big chunk of the blame for that. They over-hype the threat from most things. That’s how they fill up 24 hours of news/day.

    Take this past year, for example. The news hyped a story about egg-borne salmonella contamination that started in the Mid-West.

    http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/enteritidis/

    CNN/FOX/MSNBC/others created such a HUGE outcry about it that it prompted a voluntary recall of millions of eggs across dozens of states, stretching from coast to coast and affecting millions of households. Yet, just a little over 3,500 individuals actually got sick off of the so-called outbreak, and most of them were cases that were mild, and that they suspected were linked to the recalled eggs … not cases they actually linked scientifically to those exact same eggs. A tiny percentage of those 3,500 were actually sick enough to be hospitalized, usually the people they warn not to eat raw eggs anyway: those under the age of six, over the age of 70, individuals with compromised immune systems, or people who are sick already. No one ultimately died from that event … yet, those 3,500 stomachaches were BREAKING NEWS! for nearly a week on various news channels.

    So … it’s important to be aware when you’re at risk for this sort of thing, or if you cook for someone who is … and just act accordingly. Plus, keep up with the recall information in your area, and–if you hear about one–check your own groceries, and throw out anything they recommend you toss.

    But–beyond that–don’t let over-hyped news-fear keep you from enjoying the world of great food! :)

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