Vegan Cashew Eggnog!
Outside of my window glossy holly branches sway, their tender spikes cutting the air.
The camellia tree resists the wind, knotted with thick green flower buds.
Maroon leaves on my blueberry bushes shake.
I think of the man in a yellow jacket at the market weaving wreaths from grapevines,
what he might choose to do with the thick branches of my fig tree, bent over, succumbing to frost once again.
This season is spicy sweet sticky pine sap and decaying leaves on the street.
It’s the cinnamon essential oil I spilled on the sheets
and husband’s warm musky skin as we curl under piles of smooth blankets.
It’s caramelizing onions and cold apple cider with sweet rum,
vanilla-sweetness of juicy golden persimmons,
strong acrid coffee in smooth ceramic cups.
It’s sparkling sugar dusted over snowflake-shaped cookies
and the ever-present minty chapstick warmed by the heat of my
These days, grey as aged lace, are made up of
the snap of thin chocolate bars
rustle of the leafless date tree as red cardinals flit in and out of it
sometimes the bray of a squirrel protecting its winter shelter
scratching of mice at duct-work under the house
the hiss of water boiling-over in the kettle
the one-time buzz of a chainsaw at the christmas tree lot
clack of twinkle lights getting pulled apart
silvery clink of glass ornaments brushing against one another.
I step outside
coat pulled up to my chin
long mismatched socks peek out from above my boots
and my own breath comes in great clouds
and I'm awed at
the way things really are
stark sweet and strange
on this barren wonderland earth.
I'm welcoming Winter this year with plenty of writing time, self-care time, creative explorations, infinite cups of tea, pine and eucalyptus wreaths, glittering twinkle lights and copper cocktail straws.
And buckets of eggnog.
So much eggnog.
I've been on a quest this holiday season to develop a vegan eggnog worthy of my high standards. I've made many a nog over the years. And what I've learned after loads of trial and error is that eggnog is simple, and fancy-ing it up does nothing to improve it's essential character. All you really need is a creamy, custardy base, a rich sweetener, loads of cinnamon and nutmeg and perhaps a spot of rum.
The recipe I have for you here is a no-brainer. It's cashew-based, sweetened with dates and spiced with cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and a bit of cardamom. It can be served warm or chilled, virgin or spiked. I love how versatile it is, and that it can be made entirely in a blender! You can also make it a couple of days in advance if you're making it for a holiday party. Double win!
I've also included a quick cranberry jam recipe, which adds some tangy contrast to the richness of this nog. It makes just enough for two glasses. And it's totally optional. Honestly I included it because that pop of red adds some essential visual interest! Gotta have that swirl of red for a holiday drink, amiright?
Vegan Cashew Eggnog
Created by Renee on December 8, 2016
Silky smooth, heavy on the spices! This dairy free delight is decadent, thick and made entirely in a blender. Make it virgin (and breakfast friendly) by omitting the alcohol. Can be served hot or cold. Requires overnight soak time for the cashews, keep that in mind!
- Total Time: 5m
- Serves: 2
- 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight or 8 hours
- 4 -5 pitted medjool dates (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped of its seeds
- dash ground turmeric (for color)
- pinch pink salt
- 2 cups water (if you like it thinner, add up to 1/2 cup more)
- 2 tablespoons rum, brandy or whiskey + more as you like
1 Minute Cranberry Jam (optional, as a garnish for serving)
- 1/3 cup whole raw cranberries
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- To the bowl of a high powered blender, add the soaked cashews, dates, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla bean, turmeric, salt and water. Blend until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes or until the dates and cashews are silky smooth. Add the rum/brandy/whisky and blend again (or omit it to make it virgin). Note: you want about 1 tablespoon liquor per glass.
Cranberry Jam (Optional)
- Add the cranberries, maple syrup and water to a small sauce pot and set it over medium low heat. Cook until the cranberries soften and pop, then smash the cranberries into the liquid, stirring everything together constantly until the mixture thickens and becomes jammy. Serve immediately.
- Add half of the cranberry jam to the bottom of each glass, pour the eggnog on top and tap a dash of cinnamon overtop of the glasses. Best served either chilled OR gently warmed up in a saucepot until hot (but not burning) to the touch.