Did you know that I grew up celebrating Christmas for three months? That’s right, three months. The Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration in the world, with Christmas songs and decors and lights and parties starting as early as September, often lasting until the first weeks of January. It’s bright, it’s loud, it’s filled with food and fun memories. I know that three months sound like overkill, but it’s so joyous and catching, especially when the entire country is bursting with holiday cheer.
After moving to the US, I’ve adjusted to celebrating the holidays after Thanksgiving (an American holiday that I’ve come to love), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t stop thinking about Christmas for weeks on end. One of my very favorite treats during the holidays is eggnog, something I’ve never had before in the Philippines. I still remember my first taste of the the rich, creamy, and delicious drink. It was at a holiday party at UMass Boston, and I was so delighted with each sip! I remember hunting down what kind of eggnog it was, and it was from Hood. I’ve been loyal to the brand since then.
I’ve tried other eggnogs, but I always come back to Hood. I’m also a big fan of their other dairy products (Hood is the number one dairy brand in New England, and one of the largest branded dairy operations in the US) and when the holiday season rolls around, you can be sure that my fridge is stocked with my favorite eggnog. It’s become part of my holiday tradition, celebrating with Hood Eggnog – whether it’s straight from the glass, added to iced coffee (I’ve turned my youngest sister into a fellow iced eggnog latte fiend), or paired with some of my favorite desserts.
Pairing a small glass of eggnog with a a slice of cake or a little plate of cookies feels like the ultimate indulgence, and makes the holidays extra special. Below are a few favorite recipes, and what kind of eggnog I recommend pairing with it:
Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream Frosting – I made this cake for the first time as my own birthday cake, and it’s remained one of my top favorites of all time. This chocolate cake is not just any old chocolate cake. This is something special. Fudgy and moist chocolate layers, filled with cherry preserves, brushed with orange liqueur, and finished with a dark chocolate sour cream frosting.
I recommend Vanilla Eggnog – pure vanilla extract complements the traditional eggnog flavor, and will bring out the mild sweetness from this cake.
Olive Oil Dulce de Leche Cake – a soft, spongey, olive oil layer cake, with a thick dulce de leche filling, a luscious cream cheese frosting, and finished with a sprinkling of flaky, smokey sea salt. This is just incredible. Everyone who has tried a slice fell in love with it, and my husband and I even had it for breakfast one glorious post-dinner party weekend.
I recommend Pumpkin Eggnog – real pumpkin puree and aromatic pumpkin pie spices would add another layer of flavor to this dessert.
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Smoked Sea Salt – this is a simple and classic recipe, and easily adjustable to your liking. No need to brown some butter first, no need to toast the walnuts. I used milk chocolate chips, smooth and creamy and nicely offsets the smokiness of the salt. You can use dark chocolate, of course, and you can substitute pecans for the walnuts, or even omit the nuts altogether.
I recommend Golden Eggnog – ahh, the granddaddy of all, and my go-to carton. The Hood recipe for Golden Eggnog has been a secret for more than 50 years – a blend of extra creamy milk, sugared yolks, and spices. A small glass of this would elevate any cookie.
Pecan and Cranberry Cookies – these little cookies are the ideal holiday cookies. Technically, they’re called wedding cookies – buttery, crumbly rounds of pecan cookies rolled in powdered sugar that are often served at Southern weddings. But to make it more festive, I added cranberries, a common holiday ingredient. And after rolling them in powdered sugar, I realized they look like adorable little snow globes in winter white. Which makes them perfect holiday cookies.
I recommend Light Eggnog – this delivers the delicious creamy taste of eggnog without all the fat. Hood Light Eggnog is made with 55% less fat than the leading eggnog, and would pair well with these rich cookies.
Hood Eggnog is back on shelves for the holiday season and can be found in dairy cases throughout the Northeast. I’m also planning on using eggnog in a new dessert recipe, so stay tuned for that next month!
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