Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Holiday Gala

On Saturday we had our first annual holiday party.  We knew it would probably be a busy night for most, but we sent out the invite right around Thanksgiving and ended up having a pretty good turn out.

The party was supposed to begin at 8 so we did not really need to go crazy with the food and went more of a dessert route.  I decided to do a specialty holiday drink to be a bit more festive: home made egg nog.  I had a recipe from my mom that she got from a friend who always threw a great holiday party and this egg nog was always the highlight.  While I had never attempted to make it before, I figured I would give it a go even though it was a bit daunting.

Recipe is...
Looking at this recipe, it calls for so many unhealthy ingredients.  With the milk, I thought about buying skim milk but realized it would not really work, so I went all out...whole milk.  Also, after using heavy cream and all, what was some whole milk?  Knowing this was going to involve a lot of mixing/beating, I broke out my new favorite kitchen device, the Kitchen Aid Mixer, and of course it made the whole process so easy!  I first separated the eggs and whipped the egg whites...
Excellent separating skills
adding the sugar to the whipping whites
In order to whip the whites to "very stiff" I cranked up the Kitchen Aid mixer to the highest possible setting and backed away.  I was a little worried something may go flying, the mixer was working hard.  Instead, it worked magic and made quick work of the whites.  I transferred the whipped egg whites to another bowl and put them in the fridge.  Next, I added the heavy whipping cream to the bowl and again jacked up the mixing setting, but it actually just splattered everywhere!  So I had to work my way up to the highest setting, but I did make it there and ended up with some delicious whipped cream.

In my party best with my apron, fixing the egg nog
Heavy cream whipping
Finished whipped cream and whipped egg whites
After those, you whip the egg yolks until they are creamy and smooth.  I thought they were done when they were a mustard yellow, but I asked Nick and he said it actually should be a pale yellow color, which after a bit more mixing they did.  Again, thank goodness for the Kitchen Aid Mixer, it made mixing the egg yolks pretty easy.

The next step involved adding the Bourbon and the rum to the yolks.  The recipe called for light rum, but I used the dark rum we had on hand.  People who are not fans of brown liquors (Nick) thought it may have been a bit much so maybe the light rum would have been better for those people...but also the strong flavor could have been from the extra quarter cup of Bourbon I put it!  Surprise!

I then poured the whole milk in the largest mixing bowl I had, added the yolk mixture slowly then went ahead and folded in the egg whites.  Folding egg whites in liquid was a bit weird because I did not want the whites to break down, but I also did not want chunks in there...but it managed all to smooth out after a lot of "folding."  Next I added the whipped cream.  With this there was no issue with having chunks - in fact I left a few on purpose!  But as you can see from the picture below, good thing I did not make anymore because I would have run out of space.
Finished Nog
I took the finished egg nog and added it to the serving bowl.  I borrowed this one from my mom...its one of those punch bowls that also can be a cake stand...a genius product.  Once it was in the bowl I sprinkled more than a generous amount of nutmeg on the top and it was ready to go! 

Egg nog presentation.  Thanks Leigh and Ridge for the flowers!
The egg nog came out really well, but definitely not for those on a diet or lactose intolerant!  I was surprised at the number of people who were into trying it.  I drank it for sure, probably a few more than the recommended amount, but I did also drink some wine in between, otherwise, it could have been messy!  I thought it was well worth the effort and a nice holiday addition.  Again though, the Kitchen Aid mixer made the egg nog a whole lot easier to make.  I am becoming one of those people who will not know how I lived without it!
Some wine, cookies (left over from the Junior League meeting) and the best chex mix ever
The modified chex mix has coco puffs, pretzels, peanuts and lots of deliciousness.  You spread melted brown sugar and corn syrup over the top and actually bake it like a casserole.  The actual recipe is a secret that I am not in on:)  It is a great sweet treat, that also makes a good holiday gift! 
Other options
We also had a variety of cheeses: brie (my favorite) then two Cheddars (one was a smoked maple that really had a great flavor).  We also had a spiced salami and cucumber slices.  The salami was from Harry and David that I received in a gift basket at work.  Needless to say I put it to good use.

Coffee Table Treats
We also had some chips and salsa, but also served the pretzels left over from the chex mix.  Nick made a Vermont maple cranberry dipping sauce for the pretzels that was a mix from the Mulberry Tree Store where you just add cream cheese.  Normally I am not a dip type of person but this was delicious, the dip was actually the one food item that was totally gone at the end of the night. 

Also on the coffee table were Oreo Truffles...Nick tasted these when a co-worker brought them to work and found out the recipe that was actually really simple.  He recently saw the recipe on Beantown Baker so it was fresh in his head.

All you need is a package of Oreos, vanilla, condensed milk and chocolate chips.  First you put the Oreos through the food processor and put the crushed Oreos in a mixing bowl.  Then you add some vanilla and the condensed milk.  After it is all mixed, you take little handfuls and form balls a little smaller than a golf ball, which you place on a cookie sheet.  We lined the cookie sheet with tin foil to make clean up easier.  The rays are then placed in the fridge and allowed to cool.  Next you melt the chocolate chips and dip the balls in the melted chocolate, coating the entire thing and placing it back on the tray.  Once complete you place the trays back in the fridge to cool the chocolate and serve when ready!  These were totally decedent but super yummy!

I definitely am planning on making this an annual Holiday party.  It was great to get together with friends we have not seen in awhile, catch up and enjoy some treats.  Egg nog should happen again, but we will see - maybe I will have to find another holiday specialty. 

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