Happy, sad, memory filled, delicious… there are so many different Christmas traditions that are honored this time of the year. Whether it is a gag-gift exchange or the opening of the first carton of AE Egg Nog, in our family, each tradition is an opportunity to keep alive, the memories of those who have passed, or provide a little laughter.
If you don’t follow my snapchat (CristenCClark) you may not be apprised of a certain tradition of ours that starts with good intentions and typically ends in a dramatic fashion.
My name is Cristen, and I like giant Christmas trees.
When we are out at our local tree farm, it’s difficult to fully understand how big a tree would look in our living room. The excitement of Christmas, coupled with kids who are sugared up on their first candy canes of the season, can put us in quite a precarious situation. Afterall we do have lots of lights to put on the tree and more than enough ornaments (thanks to the $200 I spent on a revamp towards a more colorful tree this year) to throw up there too. Bottom line, our eyes for a tree are always bigger than our home can handle, and then we end up with this:
The best part of the Christmas tree decorating night, is when we break out the snacks and goodies. After getting the tree inside and positioned, we all take a break and admire it before we decorate it. We sit around and sip AE Egg Nog, and nibble a bit until the decorating begins. Those quiet moments, where the tree gives off its chill to the living area of our home and the kids snuggle in are my favorite Christmas memories.
This week I wanted to make a special dessert to commemorate my husband’s love and adoration of egg nog, (and my obsession with cheesecake). These cheesecake bars came together in a snap and can be stored up to 4-5 days in the refrigerator! A great make-ahead treat, and you can even store them covered, outside, if there is no more room in the refrigerator. Try these bars with gingersnaps in place of graham crackers for the crust, if you like the intense ginger flavor.
Egg Nog Cheesecake Bars
makes 1 9×13 pan of bars
For the crust:
2 packages graham crackers, crushed finely
1 stick butter, melted
3 TBSP sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar, stir to combine. Press gently into a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.
For the filling:
24 oz (3 packages) regular cream cheese, at room temperature.
3/4 cup sugar
3 TBSP flour
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional: 2 TBSP brandy
1 cup plus 2 TBSP AE Egg Nog
garnish: cinnamon and nutmeg for sprinkling
In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese for 1 minute until smooth. Add sugar and flour, beat for 20 seconds until combined. Add eggs, egg yolk, salt, nutmeg, vanilla and brandy if using. Beat until smooth. Add AE Egg Nog and beat on low until combined. Pour into par baked crust. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes until center is nearly set. (It will still jiggle a bit.) Remove and let cool completely. Sprinkle with a very light dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg. When cool, pipe on swirls of whipped cream to each “square” of cheesecake.
For the whipped cream swirls topping:
2 cups AE Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBSP sour cream (helps stabilize the whipped cream so it doesn’t weep if held over in the refrigerator)
Combine cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and sour cream, whip until stiff peaks. Scoop into piping bag, or spoon on to individual desserts. Alternatively, you could spread whipped cream over entire pan of cooled bars. Garnish with sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of AE Dairy. The opinions and text are all mine.