November 21, 2010

put some egg in your noggin

Discussing Christmas in November practically sacrilege in my family, where Thanksgiving rules all holidays. As most people recognize and comment on, Turkey Day is hardly observed in the stores as consumer wares shift from Halloween to Christmas in less than twenty-four hours after trick-or-treating has ceased. Maybe that is why we laud it as the best celebration of the year- we are forever cheering on the underdog or the weirdo around here, from tearing up over the ugliest dog in the kennel to promoting a public display of wearing nightgowns on our heads as a substitute for real hair (long story).

The obsession over making this holiday fully appreciated has turned Thanksgiving into a three day affair at my parentals' house. It began six years ago when they moved away from our extended family and went from hosting a celebration of at least twenty people to five or six. It was inconceivable to them to cut back on any of our usual foods (from hors d'oeuvres through dessert) and they even managed to add more to menu. There was no way that we could stomach eating three rounds in one day (well, we probably could but you would have to roll us out the door on a stretcher) so we made three. The day before Thanksgiving is now dubbed "Hors D'oeuvres Day" (my personal fave) where we are pretty creative and lenient with the options. The day of Thanksgiving is a traditional dinner with all of the usual players: turkey, sweet and mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (blech), five kinds of pie, etc. Day three is "Turkey Sandwich Day" where we consume massive amounts of white bread mayo sandwiches (Mommy Dearest claims that wheat would ruin the effect, can't have an ounce of health, here!) with little slivers of the pie we could barely eat the day before. Thanksgiving is not a holiday, it is an event.

That is why consuming and now baking something with eggnog before the "event of the year" takes place could likely get me ousted from the turkey table. Torren had to have the nog when it hit the shelves, however, and I just couldn't handle having is presence around without giving it a little try. That is where these little nutmegalicious cookies come into play. Hopefully they won't get me banned from the lemon meringue pie (my annual offbeat request) that is calling to me.

Nutmeg Nibbles: Eggnog Cookies

Yield: 18 large cookies or 3 dozen small

1 C brown sugar
3/4 C unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 t vanilla extract
1 T bourbon, optional
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1 t ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
3/4 C white chocolate chips
3/4 C of Hershey's© Cinnamon Chips
1/2 C pecan halves, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.
1. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla and bourbon; beat at medium speed until smooth.
3. Alternate adding flour mixture and eggnog until just combined.
4. Stir in chips and nuts with a wooden spoon.
5. For large cookies, drop three rounded tablespoons per cookie. Space three inches apart (I fit about eight cookies per sheet) on parchment-lined cookie sheet. For smaller cookies, drop one heaping tablespoon and leave two inches between each cookie. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg and cinnamon. Bake 12-14 minutes or until bottoms turn light brown.

Nutrition (large cookies): 298 cal, 17g fat, 90mg sod, 33g carb, 18g sugar, 2g fiber, 4g protein

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