Re-Purposing Your Favorite Christmas Foods
It’s an inevitable part of the holidays. You are expecting lots of guests, so you make sure to make lots of food (or, you’re gifted a lot of food), but no one is able to finish it all, leaving you with all the leftovers. While we can’t help you finish off your roast tenderloin (though steak sandwiches sound mighty good) or your roast bird, we can help you find new uses for three traditional holiday foods: eggnog, panettone, and fruitcake.
A favorite holiday drink that is made only once a year; it is so good that no one should ever let a drop of it go to waste.
Eggnog French Toast:
Instead of using plain milk to make the dipping batter, substitute in the same amount of eggnog, adjusting the amounts of sugar and spices you add accordingly so the batter is not too sweet. To make this recipe even more flavorful, let the bread soak in the egg mixture overnight. Serve with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar and sliced strawberries.
There is no longer a need to go to Starbucks to get your holiday latte fix. When making your morning latte, instead of steaming a cup of milk, steam a mixture of half milk and half eggnog. Pour into your espresso and go — there is no need to add any extra sugar. Perfect for those cold mornings you need a little added oomph with your caffeine boost.
Transform a healthy breakfast standard into something more flavorful and slightly more indulgent. To make eggnog oatmeal for one:
1. Heat up 1 cup of eggnog with ¼ cup water. When it comes to a simmer, add in ½ cup of rolled oats (not the quick cooking oats, or steel-cut oats).
2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
3. Season with a small pinch of salt and cook until the oats have absorbed the liquid. For a lighter alternative, you can use a 1:1 ratio of eggnog to water, rather than the 4:1 ratio above.
Eggnog Bread Pudding:
Similar to French toast, bread pudding is its low-maintenance sibling. Bread cubes are tossed in a milk and egg mixture and then poured into a pan and baked in the oven. Plus, it’s versatile; serve alone or with a drizzle of berries and syrup for breakfast, or serve warm, with a caramel or chocolate sauce, for dessert. We love this easy bread pudding recipe, studded with bright red dried cranberries.
This Italian sweetbread has a texture a bit like brioche, but even more flavorful, thanks to the addition of candied orange, orange zest, lemons, and raisins. During the holidays, panettone is widely gifted, so often families will end up with much more than they know what to do with.
There is no need to buy sliced bread when you have panettone in the house. In the morning, instead of your coffee and wheat toast with butter, jazz things up and have your coffee with toasted panettone and butter (‘tis only Christmas but once a year… ). At lunch, you can also make your favorite ham and cheese sandwich on panettone, rather than white, for a more flavorful combination (we like the addition of creamy avocado and a sprinkle of sea salt for a balance of flavors and textures).
Panettone French Toast:
What can’t you make into French toast? Take a basic French toast recipe and swap out your standard breakfast bread for this holiday favorite — it will be as if the holidays never ended. You can also try making a dressier grilled cheese or croquet monsieur with panettone, as well.
A trifle is a classic British layered dessert that is easy-to-make and often served in big glass bowls, where the stacked layers are clearly visible. While one would typically use pound cake, mousse, and berries when making a trifle, you can also use panettone. This recipe layers panettone cubes with a chocolate mascarpone mixture to make a decadent dessert.
During the holidays, Michael Chiarello would always receive lots of panettone. What started as a way to make use of an overabundance of panettone is now a family-favorite recipe that was featured in his latest book, Bottega: Oven-Roasted Cornish Hens with Panettone Stuffing.
This dense dried fruit, nut, and spice-laden cake, well-soaked in booze, is often gifted around the holidays. In the days before refrigeration, these cakes were packed full of dried fruits, sugar and booze as a means of preservation. As a result, the cakes were more fruit than cake, extremely heavy, and lasted forever. Though not necessarily well loved, and the butt of many a joke, fruitcakes are still gifted today during the holidays, and can actually be quite delicious. If you are sick of plain slices of fruitcake, try one of these tasty alternatives (and no, using it as a doorstop is not an option).
Fruitcake Rum Balls:
Rum balls are a classic holiday cookie. Instead of using graham flour, this recipe calls for fruitcake. The balls are finished with a roll in chopped nuts, resulting in bite-sized treats that are crunchy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside.
Fruitcake Ice Cream:
Cake and ice cream is a classic dessert combination. If you have a particularly tasty fruitcake, why not make fruitcake ice cream with it?
1. Start with vanilla ice cream (depending on how much fruitcake you have, you may need a pint or more; we like the ratio of 1 cup of chopped fruitcake to one pint of ice cream). Let it sit out and soften until it is spreadable, between the consistency of cream cheese and yogurt.
2. While the ice cream softens, chop up your fruitcake into ½-inch cubes.
3. In a freezer-safe container, combine the fruitcake and ice cream, stirring until incorporated. Re-freeze the mixture until it is solid.
Inspired by a recipe for Dundee Pudding, which bakes fruitcake and custard in a traditional pie crust, why not use chopped pieces of fruitcake as the crust for a no-bake cheesecake? Line a pie plate with pieces of fruitcake, pressing them into place (making sure to overlap at the seams, so there is no leakage). Pour in your no-bake cheesecake filling, chill, and serve.