Dr. Rebecca Lancefield’s Eggnog

I first heard about this recipe on an NPR program. The comments and recipe below were copied, in 2013, from a website whose name and URL I have long forgotten. I have made this many times over the years and always enjoyed the results.

As I recall from the NPR program, at some point Dr. Lancefield and her colleagues wondered about the science behind making this with a dozen raw eggs and nobody ever becoming sick from it. So they did an experiment. They made a batch and injected a massive dose of salmonella into it. It then sat in the fridge and was tested each week. After a short time–two or three weeks if memory serves–there was no trace of salmonella. The alcohol did what you might expect. If there is a lesson from this, I would say: Don’t skimp on the alcohol and Do make it by Thanksgiving to be consumed at Christmas.

With that said, the following is the recipe as I copied it down.

Dr. Rebecca Lancefield’s Eggnog

This recipe comes from Dr. Rebecca Lancefield (1895 – 1981), a prominent microbiologist who worked at The Rockefeller University. One of her perhaps lesser-known legacies is related to eggnog: every year, she would make eggnog in the lab before Thanksgiving, let it “mellow,” and then serve it at Christmas. Forty years later, the eggnog tradition persists in that laboratory.

Ingredients

12 Eggs
1 Pint Bourbon or Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
1 Quart Rum
1 Quart Heavy Cream
1 Quart Light Cream
1/2 – 3/4 Lb Sugar (to taste)
Nutmeg

Directions

Beat the eggs, add bourbon and rum slowly while stirring to prevent precipitation of egg proteins.
Beat heavy cream separately until it peaks and add it to the egg/bourbon/rum mix.
Add the light cream while stirring.
Add the sugar to taste while stirring. Add nutmeg to taste.
Leave standing at least overnight in refrigerator with the lid slightly ajar.
Serve after at least 2 – 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Chip Garbage Cookies

This recipe began with the basic oatmeal cookie recipe on the oatmeal box. But, of course, that wouldn’t be enough. So we added chocolate chips. Then we added nuts. And then whatever was lying around in the kitchen cupboard was fair game. Like currants or coconut or raisins.

Eventually we started calling it our Chocolate Chip Garbage Cookie recipe. No actual garbage involved, just whatever looks handy. Some people seem put off by the name but you won’t be put off by the result.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes per batch
Servings: 3 – 4 dozen cookies depending on size

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soad
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins or black currants (optional)

Directions

Chop nuts and set aside. Measure chocolate chips and add to nuts.
Measure oatmeal and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar well. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.
Mix baking soda and baking powder into the flour. Add to the wet ingredients slowly, mixing well.
Add remaining dry ingredients, mixing just enough to distribute well.
Put dough in refrigerator to chill while preheating oven to 375F.
Form dough into 1 – 1.5″ balls and set apart on cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size and how you like them.

Notes

Using a #40 scoop works really well for measuring out the dough and it keeps your hands cleaner.
Another option is to roll the dough into a 1.5″ log, chill, and then cut 1/2″ slices to put on the cookie sheet. This is also useful if you want freeze half the dough for later.
Longer bake time produces crunchier cookies.
Use high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips. Ghirardelli or better.
Chilling the dough for 10 minutes after placing on the cookie sheet will reduce the spread and make higher cookies.

Variations

This recipe can be tweaked in a lot of directions depending on your preferences and imagination. The simplest is to add the optional currants or raisins. My family objects to that, so I make them without. Read on for more…

Oatmeal Cocoa Walnut

Leave out the chocolate chips. Increase the sugar to 1 cup of each and add 6 – 8 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. (Sift it together with the flour to avoid clumping.)

Coconut Cocoa Walnut

Same as for Oatmeal Cocoa Walnut above, but replace the 2 cups of oatmeal with 2 cups of shredded coconut.

Almond

A variation that can be used with any of the above:
Replace about 1/3 of the flour with Almond flour.
Use chopped almonds for the nuts.

Banana Bread

This recipe is based mostly on a recipe for “Banana Nut Bread” from the McCall’s Cook Book (1963). The primary change is the addition of chocolate chips. This change was demanded by my family and, after some resistance, I gave it a try. We now think of it as Banana Bread Crack. With the chocolate chips, it disappears in a couple of days. Without them, I still have banana bread left after a week.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (a little more if using unsalted butter)
3/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup mashed (very) ripe bananas
Zest of one orange. (Fresh, please.)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli or better)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch bread pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, if you have it.
Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder.
Roughly chop one cup of walnuts and set aside in a bowl.
Measure out one cup of chocolate chips and add to the walnuts.
Mash two or three ripe bananas, depending on size, to get a cup or so.
Zest an orange.
In your mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and egg until smooth.
Add the mashed banana, milk, and orange zest. Mix.
Add the flour slowly, mixing until incorporated and smooth.
Mix in the nuts and chocolate chips.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake on middle shelf of the oven for about an hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool for 15-20 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Notes and Variations

For best flavor, use fresh orange zest. Second best would be a few drops of orange oil. If you have no other choice, use 2-3 tbsp of the dried stuff that comes in a bottle.
Don’t cheap out on the chocolate. Use whatever is your favorite high quality brand. Semi-sweet works best.
If you don’t want to put in the chocolate, increase the sugar to 1 cup and nothing else needs to be changed.
Let it cool completely to room temperature before slicing. It will tend to crumble if you try to slice it when warm.

Mandarin Orange Cake

Well, I like baking cakes so the answer is easy. The only problem is coming up with a recipe.

My friend Mr Google hooked me up with a lot of recipes for Mandarin Orange Cake. 90% of them had the first ingredient as “yellow cake mix” or “white cake mix”. Well, that’s not happening.

But there were a few “from scratch” recipes. Because I wanted a simple recipe, I narrowed it down to two that are very similar and this is a slight variant on those. This worked out surprisingly well and was very quick and easy to make.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1.5 cups white sugar

2 large eggs

22 oz canned mandarin orange pieces, drained

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F.

Grease a 9×13″ pan or line with parchment paper and lightly grease that.

Sift flour with baking soda and salt.

Put all ingredients in a large mixer bowl and beat well for 3 minutes.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.

The cake is done when a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean.

When cold, ice with a cream cheese icing to which several drops of orange oil have been added.

Notes and Variations:

The original recipes called for a syrupy topping. I have changed to a cream cheese icing because the original is too sweet for my taste.

The original recipes listed two 11 oz cans of mandarin orange. My cans were 15 oz, so I went with 1.5 cans, more or less.

You can replace the 2 tsp vanilla with almond essence.

You can add a few drops of orange oil to the batter to kick up the flavor.

I haven’t tried this yet, but I think it would make a good layer cake if baked in two 8″ square pans or two 9″ round pans. I would use the same cream cheese icing between the layers.

You could add raisins or coconut or nuts (chopped almonds?) to the batter.