We’ve all had to slow down and adjust to a new world recently. For one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs, Lynn Crawford, the holidays are always a special time of year, even when things look a bit different.
Chef Lynn Crawford plans on savouring this holiday season with gratitude, and we aren’t just tossing that word around lightly. As we spoke over the phone on a sunny snow-covered day, it was her soothing voice of calm and that sense of optimism that brought back the true meaning of holiday spirit. Being in the kitchen and sharing time with family is very important, and with what’s happening in the world today, it’s even more meaningful.
“It will be a little quieter this year but it is the holidays and everybody is truly in the holiday spirit,” said Crawford. “I have two young girls and we’ve recently moved. We’re very excited to be in a new home. The tree is up and decorated and we’re hoping for a little bit more snow at the cottage which we love. It’s a real winter wonderland up there.”
For Crawford and her family, holiday traditions start in the kitchen, which comes as no surprise. Like in many homes, they’ve already been baking holiday cookies and getting ready to make some eggnog.
Eggnog! I confessed to Crawford that I’ve only ever enjoyed store-bought cartons of eggnog and never really thought to make it from scratch since it’s only the adults who drink it on Christmas Eve in our house. But she tells us we can take eggnog a few steps further.
“We often think of eggnog as an adult drink and, yes, many of us add spiced rum. But you know, it doesn’t have to be just about that little splash at the end – have some fun and try adding chocolate or caramel” said Crawford. “It’s that festive holiday drink that is so creamy, rich and delicious. You can definitely add your signature and flair to it.”
She tells us her kids love eggnog just as much as the adults do. In fact, you could take a different spin on eggnog and make it into ice cream or popsicles for kids and adults alike to enjoy. She suggests Canadians also try using an ice cream maker and having some fun by adding additional ingredients. Once it’s the right consistency, finish it off by adding a little gingerbread cookie on the side or make some meringues (another great use for eggs) that are easier to make than people realize.
“Whoever invented making meringues is genius!” says chef Lynn.
Crawford likes to add a bit of cocoa powder, cinnamon or peppermint to meringues to make them even more festive. I loved her idea of making eggnog ice cream snowmen and topping them, with meringues, sprinkles, royal icing, marshmallows and even a caramel drizzle.
Does it matter what kind of eggs you use?
Crawford tells us that thanks to Canadian egg farmers, no matter what grocery store you frequent or what season you’re in, you’ll always have access to fresh, local, high-quality Canada Grade A eggs.
“Canadian egg farms are local businesses,” says Crawford. “There’s so much heart and soul going into producing the perfect egg for consumers. Eggs are delicious, versatile and there are so many great recipes you can make with them. It’s probably one of the first things we learn to cook with – be it scrambling, baking or making your own eggnog. I’ve always been a big advocate of supporting local and Canadian farmers who work so, so hard to give us quality ingredients. Knowing where your food comes from is something we take for granted. If you go to eggfarmers.ca you can really get to know your egg farmers and the amazing work they are doing within their communities.
And looking forward to the next year, what kind of food trends will be happening?
Currently, we seem to be drawn to comfort foods and classics. Crawford loves how over this past year we’ve seen so many people rediscover or return to the kitchen.
“Everyone is baking and cooking more since we’ve been home and I don’t want to think that it’s just a trend. I would hope, rather, that it’s something that will stay for the long run.”
We agree. There is something so great about cooking that makes you appreciate the love, time and effort that goes into a meal. Now that we are staying home it’s the ideal time to slow down and be creative in the kitchen. I’m already inspired to slow down and make eggnog from scratch, as well as the ice cream.
Here is chef Lynn Crawford’s Spiced-Rum Chocolate Caramel Eggnog recipe for you to slow down and try yourself this holiday season.
Check out eggs.ca for more great recipes and share your creations on social media using #MyHolidayKitchen.
Spiced Rum Chocolate Caramel Eggnog
By Chef Lynn Crawford
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
What better way to warm up this winter than with a festive drink in hand! Keep cozy this holiday season with this sweet and spicy spin on this classic holiday cocktail.
-2 cups (500 mL) whole milk
-½ tsp (2.5 mL) ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
-¼ tsp (1.25 mL) ground nutmeg
-1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
-6 large egg yolks
-½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
-1 cup (250 mL) dark chocolate chips
-1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream
-½ cup (125 mL) spiced rum (optional)
-¼ cup (60 mL) caramel sauce, store-bought or see recipe below
-Whipped cream, for serving
1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla slowly bringing the mixture to a low boil.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the yolks are pale in colour. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks in batches to temper the eggs and whisk until combined.
2. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until slightly thick (and coats the back of a spoon) but does not boil. If you’re using a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 160 °F (70 °C). Add chocolate chips and whisk until melted.
3. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream and, if using, spiced rum. Refrigerate until chilled.
4. When ready to serve, coat the inside of a mug with caramel sauce. Add eggnog to the mug and garnish it with whipped cream and cinnamon.
Makes ¾ cup (175 mL)
-½ cup (125 mL) butter
-½ cup (125 mL) heavy cream
-½ cup (125 mL) dark brown sugar
-1 tbsp (15 mL) fancy molasses
-1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, whisk together the butter, cream, brown sugar and molasses on medium-high heat.
2. Let the mixture come to a boil and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla.