As quaint as the old holiday poem is, it’s been a long time since kids dreamed of sugar plums (or even knew what they were). Most kids today are all about the Christmas cookies, the candy canes, and the many treats they undoubtedly will get at their school parties.
My 9-year-old son yearns for all of those things, of course. But his dreams are filled not with sugar cookies or candies, but with rivers of eggnog. He would gladly replace all liquids consumed in December with a steady stream of eggnog.
Given the indulgent nature of the season, I try to roll with it. At least for a bit. But wow… Have you read the nutrition panel on that stuff? Never mind the fat… Take a look at the sugar!
Which is why when he recently asked me to include a bottle of it in his lunch, I put on the eggnog brakes.
But truth is, the sugaring up of eggnog is a relatively new thing. Traditional eggnogs were more boozy and creamy than sugary.
And that got me wondering whether I could create a simple eggnog at home that was just as delicious, but a little healthier. Or at least a little less sugary. Could I make a version that my son would love, but that I could consider more of a glorified smoothie than a glass of melted ice cream?
Turns out the answer is “yes.” But to make it work, you’ll need to embrace the idea of raw eggs.
It’s really not so radical. Real eggnog uses it. So do many cocktails and Italian pasta dishes. But since we’re dealing with kids, I wanted to keep it as safe as possible. That’s why I used pasteurized egg whites (the kind that come in the carton).
And this came with an added benefit: Using egg whites instead of whole eggs dramatically cuts the fat, but still gives the finished nog that rich, creamy body we want.
For natural sweetness and even more body, I added bananas, which are high in starch. Whole milk lends a rich creaminess without resorting to the heavy cream in traditional recipes.
Finally, spike it not with booze, but with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and rum extracts for a perfect seasonal treat.
And yes, it was delicious enough – and good enough for him – that I was willing to pack it in my son’s lunch. He thinks he’s getting eggnog. I think he’s having a smoothie. Everyone wins.
Lunch Box Eggnog
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Makes 2 servings
1 cup whole milk
3 ice cubes
2 tbsp. pasteurized egg whites
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. rum extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until completely smooth.
2. Pour into a drink bottle and keep chilled until ready to serve. If serving immediately, pour into a glass and top with a an additional pinch of cinnamon.