More than a year ago, I took 125 Cookies by Elinor Klivans out of the library and fell in love with it. I had to have it! It was full of so many different kinds of cookie recipes with a little story before each one, general tips for packaging and sending cookies, and every recipe has some general tips including freezing and doubling guidelines. I think it's not a very popular cookbook as Amazon.ca didn't have it in stock at the time, and when I just checked now Amazon.com didn't either. (I ordered mine through the "used & new" link on the Amazon page). You'd probably recognize Elinor Klivans' other cookbooks, Big Fat Cookies and Cupcakes! And oh my I just discovered another cookbook I want while looking her up on Amazon, The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookie Cookbook.
Anyway, even though I've had this cookbook for a while, I've yet to make anything from it. I came across the eggnog bar recipe and thought it would be a perfect addition to our Christmas goodies. It's actually more of an eggnog cheesecake bar, but is delicious whatever you call it! It has no eggnog in it, but does have rum, nutmeg and cinnamon. The crust to eggnog cheesecake ratio is about 50/50 which I love, as I am a real crust lover. As for how it tastes, yes it is delicious but it's not super eggnog-y. Next time I'd add more spices, and make sure that I use dark rum (I used light rum). Maybe even add extra rum. The recipe also suggests that it makes 12 servings, but I cut it into about 30 little squares, which are just big enough to nibble on while also being able to eat other treats!
slightly adapted from 125 Cookies (Elinor Klivans)
Nutmeg Graham Cracker Crust
2 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
10-12 tablespoons (1.25-1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted*
12 ounces cream cheese, softened 3 to 4 hours at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Make the crumb crust:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with parchment paper, letting the parchment paper extend over the ends of the pan.
Put the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix together. Add the melted butter and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened with the butter. Transfer the crumbs to the prepared pan. Using your fingers, press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the parchment paper. Bake the crust for 8 minutes**. Cool the crust while you make the filling.
Make the filling:
Increase the oven temperature to 350F.
Put the cream cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute, and blend in the sugar and flour. Add the egg and egg yolk and blend in until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix in the vanilla, rum and whipping cream. Pour the filling into the crumb crust. Sprinkle the nutmeg evenly over the top.
Bake about 25 minutes, or until the filling looks set when you give the pan a gentle shake.
Cover the pan loosely with paper towels or a tea towel and cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Take the paper towels or tea towel off of the top and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator at least 6 hours or overnight.
*Original recipe calls for 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter, which is what I tried originally but the crust was so crumbly even after baking it. So I drizzled and spread more melted butter on top. In my notes I wrote 10-12 tablespoons butter.
**I ended up baking it for probably 15 minutes, but I'll leave the original suggested baking time in there because I did the crust a bit differently. Just bake it until it's firm and at a point where you'd want to eat it, as it's not getting any more baking after this.