Every year, when the holidays are approaching, I take Mike to the grocery store.  We get to the dairy case, and he spots the eggnog.  I look at the quantity of eggnog he’s holding, and I say, “Are you really going to drink that much eggnog?”.

And every year, two weeks after Christmas, I clean out the fridge, and in the back corner I find an entirely unopened bottle of eggnog.

I had 2 days before it expired, so I started looking around for recipes.  It’s easy to find recipes to make your own eggnog, but not quite so easy to find recipes to use up the eggnog you already have.

I found two that looked good.  This is the first one – it’s just a simple bread pudding, with eggnog as the custard.  I happened to have half a loaf of bread on the counter, and I can’t turn down a recipe that uses up two leftover ingredients.

Eggnog Bread Pudding

It starts with dried cranberries reconstituted in liquid.  The recipe calls for brandy or bourbon, but a very good quality apple cider works just as well if you want a non-alcoholic version.  I didn’t have cranberries, so I used raisins.

Then the bread gets cubed and put in a big bowl.  2 cups of eggnog gets mixed with a few more eggs, some milk,  a bit of sugar, some vanilla and some nutmeg.

Once the liquid comes together, pour it over the bread, add the fruit, mix well, and pour into a 9×9 pan. 

Bake for almost an hour.  This will make the entire house smell like eggnog.

I missed the instructions to sprinkle sugar over the top before baking, so I added some when it came out of the oven.  It really didn’t need it

Eggnog Bread Pudding

All in all, a very good bread pudding.  The eggnog wasn’t over whelming, but it was noticeable. I doubled the nutmeg from the original recipe, and it still could have used a bit more, so I updated it to call for a full teaspoon, and that should bring out the eggnog a bit more.

The other recipe I found?  Dump one quart eggnog and some nutmeg (to taste) in your ice cream maker, then freeze.  That only leaves me with two more cups to use up!

( see the recipe )

(The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.)

My grandmother was from Pennsylvania, and I remember her always bringing stollen for the holidays.  I’ve been talking about trying one for a few years now, but I always spend my days before Christmas frantically making chocolate.  This year, instead of chocolate gifts, I made jams.  The jams were done in advance, so I had plenty of time this year.

It wasn’t a difficult bread – it actually reminded me a lot of a cinnamon-raisin challah that a local bakery makes.  Just a basic egg yeast bread, slow-risen, with fruit.  I used candied peel and cherries from the grocery store, and raisins that were rehydrated in orange juice. 

Mixed and in my bread-rising-bowl, it looked like this:

P1040443

I let it rise, then rolled it out into a big square.  It was almost too big for my silicone rolling mat:

Christmas Stollen

I rolled it up from the long side, then formed it into a round.  I tucked one side inside the other, then "glued" them together with a tiny bit of egg wash.

Christmas Stollen

I snipped around the outside, let it rise one more time, then baked.

Christmas Stollen

Have a close-up:

Christmas Stollen

It was very good. I remember my grandmother’s having more fruit in it, and a glaze on top.  Next year, I’ll make my own candied zest, which should make it a bit more citrus-y, and add another kind of fruit besides the raisins and a few candied cherries. And maybe I’ll replace the powdered sugar with a citrus based glaze, with more fruit on top for decoration.  But those are all just tweaks – it really was quite good just the way it was.

( see the recipe )