I sort of contradict myself here calling this a plant-based egg nog because there are no eggs in this nog. There's also no dairy milk nor granulated sugar like in the traditional stuff. So where do I think I get the liberty to call this egg nog in the first place? Because this really does take like the real deal...with the same rich and festive taste, albeit lighter. In a good, still satisfying way. Not in the oh, this will suffice kind of way. And it has a pretty awesome nutrition profile if we're comparing things.
I've tried making a plant-based nog in the past because the ingredient list of Silk Nog left a little more to be desired (caraggean and turmeric in your beverage, anyone?), but my results were mediocre. One tasted too much like almond milk with spices and the texture was too thin. I thought coconut milk would lend a nice rich texture, but it tasted too much like well...coconut. Duh. I tried maple syrup but that was overpowering and coconut sugar, but it didn't wow me. I even tried throwing in frozen banana thinking that would give a nice creamy texture, but it resembled a smoothie too much. I consulted other recipes out there, but results were lackluster. All of the experiments were certainly edible, but they just didn't taste like the egg nog I grew up with. In the end, as much as I would love to get a recipe right on the very first go, all of this experimenting was worth it because I'm always learning something new about the potential and limitations of certain ingredients.
That's why I am so proud of this recipe. Really, I am. Like I'd totally serve it to plant-based skeptics knowing that it tastes delicious. It took a lot of trial and error, but it's all worth it.
Because I'm so excited about it, I'm giving away a box of goodies to one lucky someone who would like to recreate this delightful drink at home. To enter, comment below and on my Instagram post announcing the giveaway. The winner will receive all of the ingredients plus a handy-dandy nut milk bag(!) for future plant-based milk endeavors. Contest ends Monday, December 12 at 8pm EST.
But of course, you can still make this at home even if you don't win. Cashews and almonds get soaked overnight and made into an almost-nut milk. Almost because it's going to be thicker than your average nut milk. Dates give a wonderful caramel note and also contribute a velvety texture. Cinnamon and vanilla are added for a festive touch, but not too much as to overwhelm, and the quintessential egg nog spice—nutmeg—goes into the mix as well. A bout in the blender and then chilled in the fridge, it thickens up even more. Don't forget to sprinkle a hefty portion of nutmeg on top either. It's all the merrier that way.
Spike it with a little bourbon, drink it on its own, or sip it with some Christmas cookies—healthy ones, of course ;).
Plant-Based Egg Nog
½ cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
½ cup almonds, soaked overnight and drained
3 cups water
4 medjool dates, pitted (soak overnight if on the drier side)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, depending on preference, plus lots more for serving
Pinch of salt
Make nut milk. Add soaked nuts, water, and pitted dates to blender. Process on high for about 3 minutes. Mixture will get hot. Pour mixture through nut milk bag (or unused clean stocking or pantyhose!) into a bowl, squeezing excess liquid from bag until left with mostly dry pulp in bag. Discard or reserve for another use*.
Return milk to blender (or just use a whisk) and add vanilla, ground cinnamon, generous amount of freshly grated nutmeg, and salt. Blend briefly just to combine. Taste and adjust spices. Pour milk into clean jar and allow to cool in refrigerator until well chilled. It will thicken a bit as it cools. Shake jar before serving, and top with an extra sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg. Mixture will last 3 days in the refrigerator. Makes about 3 ½ cups.
*I swirl leftover nut milk pulp into my oatmeal just so it doesn’t go to waste