Eggnog Squares

Yesterday I woke up in Seattle, and today I opened my eyes in my sweet and sleepy little hometown in Massachusetts. And as I laid there for a good ten, okay forty, minutes before setting foot on that familiar, icy oak floor, before even considering what butter-fried breakfast my mother could be lovingly plating, I thought to myself…

I am so happy to be here.

So very happy.

It’s this cranny on the coast that contains all that is pure and true and lovely in my world. And I’m spending a whole month here celebrating these people and places.

Tomorrow my brother is getting married.

I’ll be a bridesmaid, a proud member of a beautiful new family, a sister of five, a shenanigan unto myself, a crying blubbering fool, that speaker who should have capped her toast at the ten minute mark.

Guests will glare. The priest will bless himself.

And then, when the wedding is over, when the white linened tables are sufficiently stained with dark chocolate mousse, when my tootsies have blistered so severely on the dance floor that I call hotel services for a wheelchair to my room, when I start telling each guest how much I love them, and when I earnestly ask the catering staff how they propose I plastic wrap a quadrant of cake for later…

I will still be as happy as I know to be.

So today, while I brace myself for the rehearsal dinner and the hysterics I’ll be in tomorrow, I want to share with you another thing that brings me joy.

Eggnog.

And custard pie.

And things that can be held in your hand…and piped with whipped cream…and dusted with spicy nutmeg…and

I can’t leave well enough alone.

I don’t know what “well enough alone” means.

I should not use phrases that I do not understand fully.

These teeny tiny squares are intense in the most pleasurable way. Creamy, ultra-rich, and warmly spiced, like eggnog. Dense and silky like custard pie. I am unabashedly in love with them. The crust is a buttery shortbread and the filling tastes like a perfectly set creme brulee. Together they melt on your tongue.

The beautiful part about them, other than their cutesy presentation, is that one small bite-sized treat is all you need to feel bowled over by sensory satisfaction. Cut them small, plop a dollop of whipped cream on top, and sprinkle the tops with extra nutmeg for what I may consider the most delicate yet decadent holiday treat.

Eggnog Squares

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use foil to line a 9″ square baking pan, leaving an overhang so that you can simply lift the bars out of the pan when you want to slice them. Lightly coat the sides with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the crust. In a medium bowl, beat softened butter and sugar.

Add flour and mix until combined.

The mixture will be crumbly. Press it evenly into the bottom and 1/2″ up the sides of the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Place the crust on a wire cooling rack while you make the filling. Reduce the oven heat to 300°F.

In a medium sized bowl, beat 5 egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick.

With the mixer running on low speed, add the cream, a splash of rum, and nutmeg.

Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the custard center is set, Test for doneness by slipping a knife into the center; the blade should come out clean.

Let the pan cool completely on a wire rack (at least one hour). Sprinkle a bit more nutmeg over the top before slicing into tiny squares. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Store in the refrigerator, covered.

Eggnog Squares

(recipe from Betty Crocker)

makes 36 squares

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 egg yolks

1  1/4 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use foil to line a 9″ square baking pan, leaving an overhang so that you can simply lift the bars out of the pan when you want to slice them.Lightly coat the sides with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the crust. In a medium bowl, beat softened butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Add flour and salt and mix until combined. The mixture will be crumbly. Press it evenly into the bottom and 1/2″ up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Place the crust on a wire cooling rack while you make the filling. Reduce the oven heat to 300°F.
In a medium sized bowl, beat 5 egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick. With the mixer running on low speed, add the cream, rum, and 1/2 teaspoon of the nutmeg. Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the custard center is set, Test for doneness by slipping a knife into the center; the blade should come out clean.

Let the pan cool completely on a wire rack (at least one hour). Sprinkle the rest of the nutmeg over the top before slicing into tiny squares. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Store in the refrigerator, covered.

Comments

  1. says

    Congratulations!!!!

    Have fun at the wedding, and enjoy your time in MA. I can relate to the feelings of happiness being “home”… I am in RI right now and it is just perfect.

  2. says

    Congrats to your brother and his almost-wife!

    These squares look so great. I might prefer to eat my eggnog anyhow. Also: where in MA are you from. (I’m crossing my fingers it’s somewhere close to where my parents live so I can meet you when I’m home some time and we can eat cookies together until I slip into a sugar coma.)

  3. says

    Have fun at the wedding and enjoy your east coast holiday. Is is a special place. Will make these because you mentioned two of my favorite words…shortbread and creme brule! Yummmmmm.

    • says

      I’ve been giving hints, to my byofriend for quite some time now that kitchen torch is the one thing I absolutely must have. He didn’t get it yet but hopefully, with more direct approach, he’ll be buying one just before Valentine’s Day. LOLI love cre8me burle8e, and I’m sure it’s delicious with white chocolate. Yours looks amazing. :)

  4. Peggie says

    These look great and I will probably try them out in the next couple of weeks but one suggestion I would make for your recipes is to put a note at the bottom of things like cookie or sweets recipes to say (a) whether they are freezer friendly and if so what special care must be taken and/or (b) what their shelf life is and how to properly store them for optimum goodness. That would be so helpful. Love your site though, some fabulous recipes.

  5. says

    How wonderful for you to spend so much time with your family. I haven’t been able to spend more than 5 days in about 8 years and at times, it breaks my heart and makes me feel lonely. And better yet to be celebrating such a fabulous occasion. Congrats :) And have a blast!

  6. says

    Congrats!! How wonderful to spend a whole month with family…Cheers to you and your family. I can’t imagine any tastier then those eggnog squares. Thank you for sharing a wonderful story.

  7. says

    Congratulations to your brother! So when you say a splash of rum what do you mean? Less than a bottle, more than a tablespoon? Just kidding. I will be making these asap. As in, I might leave work early and get to baking so I can have these for lunch.

  8. says

    You are fast becoming my wordpress favorite. My favorite everything… writer, cook, photographer. With all that you have to do it’s pretty nice how you find time to write for me. Well, for us the readers, but I read alone so it’s sort of just for me.
    thanks
    have fun!

  9. Cindy says

    oh
    my
    god.

    that is all.

    ps
    I just tried to make a cookie bar like that with cherry pie filling. Tastes so dang good but messy.

    I need to quit coming here when I have a sweet tooth. but I would miss thee so!
    much love!

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