Taste of the Ozarks: St. Nick's Nog

For 12 servings . . . Now is not the time to concern yourself with matching glasses. Haul out every odd coffee mug, crockery glass, unmatched cut glass (this way, people can identify their own nog.) If using cinnamon sticks as garnish, don’t use tall glasses, or the cinnamon stick will sink out of sight.

Basic ‘batter’:

6 large eggs

¼ cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

4 cups whole milk, (‘divided’: use 2 at first, add 2 later)

1 tsp. vanilla

12 cinnamon sticks for garnish (not necessary, but nice)

Directions:

Beat eggs, sugar and salt in a large heavy saucepan until blended. Stir in 2 cups milk.

Cook over low heat, stirring gently, until mixture is just thick enough to coat a metal spoon and/or a thin film appears to cover the top of the simmering milk. This takes longer than you think it will. My Grandma called that “scalding” the milk. Do not allow to boil. When the thin film appears, remove from heat. (If you’re into thermometers, cook until the mixture reaches 145 degrees for at least 3.5 minutes)

Stir in the remaining 2 cups of milk and the vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight.

VARIATIONS:

1) Dramatic additions: You might want to substitute 2 of the 4 cups of milk with half/half (or cream) for a very rich taste. As well as sprinkle nutmeg over the top. As well as putting whipped cream on top. Could eliminate the vanilla in favor of 1 tsp. Rum or Brandy flavoring, or the real stuff. Don’t use too much alcohol, about 1-2 T per serving.

2) Coffee Nog: After the nog is thoroughly chilled, and before serving, add ¼ cup light brown sugar to the full recipe and 3 TBS instant coffee granules. Stir well until dissolved. And/or, buy coffee ice cream and put a small scoop at the top of each serving.