I have to admit, we are a bit of a Christmas loving family. For all the time Eric and I have done the long distance thing, our one rule has always been to have Christmas together. No matter what. At least two jobs and $4000 worth of plane tickets have made sure that we spend Christmas together.
Last year was the first time it was just the two of us, plus cat. We bought our very first Christmas tree as a couple … and had it up on October 30th. That’s right, we beat Starbucks. Even when we were in Dublin with zero money for a tree (we did, after all have a wedding to fund) Eric went out and splurged on two very tiny LED Christmas trees that were about three inches tall. Why two? That’s what came in the package. Turns out they were supposed to go into one of those little Christmas villages. Well, they went on out coffee table instead.
This year has been slightly different. With a new member of the family, this luxury called time seems to have gone into hiding. Add that to the fact that we’re going back to Manitoba for Christmas and the house is looking rather bare. There’s no tree, no lights out and no snow outside (not that I’m complaining too much about that last bit). So last night, I declared that I would be damned if there wasn’t going to at the very least be some Christmas baking in this house!
So I made some Egg Nog logs
These are cookies that were absolutely mandatory at my mom’s house during the holiday season, but seeing as I haven’t been there for Christmas since 2009, I’ve been missing them. This is the first year I attempted to make them on my own, remembering my mom saying something about them being a pain in the hole to make. They were actually quite quick and easy … at first.
The first step is to make the dough with this recipe:
1 cup of butter, softened
3/4 cup of sugar
1 and 1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsps vanilla extract
3 cups flour
*the original recipe also calls for 1 tsp rum extract but that wasn’t in my cupboards so I didn’t use it. Really didn’t change the taste as far as I’m concerned but, as always, feel free to experiment.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. The butter should be at about room temperature and like most people I keep my butter in the fridge, so I cheated and microwaved it for ten seconds at a time until it was soft but not melted. Continue mixing, adding the nutmeg, egg and extract(s). Once everything is mixed together well, add the flour. You might have to stop the mixer and do this part by hand. My mixer struggled and slowed, poor thing. When everything’s mixed together you should have what looks and feels like play dough.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree Celsius. Take your (play) dough and roll it into thick log -like dough sticks. The original recipe (and my mom) tell you to make sure they are uniform in length and thickness. Bah. Thickness, sure, so they bake equally. Length? Make them whatever length you want. This is what I ended up with.
For anyone wondering why there is a pig staring at the logs, that is my oven mitt. You know, one of those silicone deals.
Moving on, as you can see some of the logs are stumpy, others are quite long. If you’re going to serve these at a party and someone says it’s not fair because someone got stuck with the stumpy ones, well, they should have made it to the dessert table sooner.
These need to bake for about 15 minutes or until they’re slightly browned.
You could leave your logs like this, essentially making them sugar logs, but there is one more step to elevate these to the level of Egg Nog logs. That’s right…..
This is a Christmas recipe, so naturally it needs frosting with the highest fat and calorie content possible.
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups + 1 cup icing sugar (they need to be separate)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp cream (I used whipped cream)
Cream the butter until it looks light and fluffy. Add the first two cups of icing sugar and the extract and keep mixing. Add in the cream and, yup, keep mixing. Add the last cup of icing sugar and keep mixing. You want to end up with very thick icing that looks like something you could plaster the wall with so once everything is mixed together well, you may have to add more cream or icing sugar. Do so slowly! A tiny bit of cream goes a long way!
Again, when you add the vanilla extract you can also add a 1/2 teaspoon rum extract (or actual rum, depending on who’s coming to dinner) but it’s up to you. I had neither, so it didn’t go in. In fact, I sadly realized I had about two tablespoons less a full cup of icing sugar so I wouldn’t be able to make quite so much icing. I did a bit of math to adjust for my lack of ingredients and made this much icing.
Yeah, sad, I know. Didn’t help that my natural instinct when baking is to stick my finger in to check that it tastes right so I had even less to work with than what you see.
With whatever icing you have at this point, slap it onto the chilled cookie logs. Nothing fancy, just slap it on there. Then, with a little fork, scratch into the icing to make it look like bark. Final added touch? Add a bit of nutmeg. I like the big chunks you have to grate yourself as you can see from the photo.
Yes, it’s that brown lump beside the grater, not left overs from the Halloween cake, I promise.
Like I said, I taste things along the way. However, nothing quite prepared me for that first bite of this little log once it was all put together. The taste instantly took me back to my childhood Christmases. Ah, let the Holidays begin!
Oh, a quick word about the name; I have absolutely no idea why these are called Egg Nog logs. There is egg, they are logs, but there is nothing egg-nog-y about them. I also said it was a recipe from long ago; originally found in Country Woman magazine, November/December issue from 1992. That’s right, I’ve been lucky enough to have these for Christmas for twenty years (minus a couple years when I was in Ireland and Vancouver).