Edit: I'm also tagging this as a "Debunk the Junk" post (which I haven't done one in forever) because I realized how much crap is in store-bought eggnog. Check out the higlights from the ingredients sometime (this is for Farmland Eggnog, others I'm sure are different): HFCS, corn starch, dried milk products, artificial flavors, annatto (to color it yellow)... I don't have anything wrong with drinking store-bought, but it's nice to know I can avoid some of the stuff I'm trying to avoid by making my own.
I've been wanting to make my own eggnog for ages. Ever since I learned you could make your own, I've wanted to. So yesterday at the grocery I made it a point to buy cream, also it was conveniently on sale (score!).
Tonight I found a recipe here and it was fantastic. It used raw eggs though, so be sure to use good quality eggs. If you're uncertain about the quality of your eggs, there are many comments to the instructions about how to "pasteurize" the eggs within their shells, still leaving a liquid egg (I think it's magic, personally), but some of the comments said it also damages some of the flavor / texture. I don't know, I used raw eggs and it worked fine for us.
The other thing I loved about this recipe is that it conveniently lists the ingredients for a big batch and a "single-serve" batch. hubby and I doubled the single batch and it was almost more than we could drink. It would have been enough for 3 people.
As far as homemade compared to store-bought, here are my thoughts:
It took less maybe ten minutes. It's actually faster to make than to go to the store and buy it.
It has a much richer and fluffier texture. You are essentially turning the egg whites into meringue and then folding it back in and it makes for a superb texture. It is so luxurious in the mouth.
It tastes pretty much the same. Granted, it's been a few weeks since I've had store-bought, but I feel like it's a creamy, rich, sweet, nutmeg taste that is comparable to each other. Maybe I'm mistaken tho. It is nice that you get to control the spices you want in it. We went just for the nutmeg, but you could easily add cinnamon or allspice or ginger... whatever floats your boat (or eggnog, in this case).
Here is the recipe, as we used it, which made enough for about 3 people
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar for egg yolk (this was too much for our tasted, I would try 2-3 tbsps instead)
2 tbsps sugar for egg white (this seemed good because you don't want the fluff to be bland)
1/2 tsp of vanilla
a few good shakes of nutmeg (I didn't measure but I'm guessing 1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
Mix with a whisk egg yolks, sugar for yolks, vanilla, nutmeg, milk, and cream.
beat whites until soft peaks, add sugar, beat until stiff peaks.
fold whites into yolk mixture.
Remember, you can always add more nutmeg, never less. Add a little and then work your way up. Also people can sprinkle it into their individual cups and then each person can like the flavor.
Like I said in the ingredients list, we thought 1/4 cup sugar made the base a little too sweet, but obviously what tastes good to us will be different than what you like.
I love, love, love how easy this was to make. I was expecting some complicated series of double-boiler catastrophes ending in a burned sticky mess. I was so glad this recipe was so simple!