Sort of.

Meghan Overdeep

I don't love eggnog. I respect eggnog. I appreciate eggnog. Heck, I'll even drink a little eggnog given the right holiday conditions. But, for the most part, eggnog is a seasonal treat I keep at arm's length. I admire how truly decadent it is, but it's that same rich decadence that knots my stomach after more than a few sips.

So, when I was tasked with creating Layered Eggnog Blondies for the Southern Living cookie swap, I was dubious. Plus, my food processor was broken, so I'd be making them in the kitchen at my boyfriend's restaurant during dinner service (he's a chef), using equipment I'd never seen before, surrounded by actual chefs. What if the pastry people walked in while I was doing something weird? How will I melt butter without a microwave? What if I burned the place down? (Fortunately, none of those things happened, though the butter situation was dicey.)

I admit that things didn't start out well for me when it came time for The Bake. First, I forgot my eight-inch square pan at home and was forced to make do with a long, deep pan. I also spent an embarrassing amount of time searching for an 1/8 tsp. measuring spoon. And the fancy convection oven might have well been from outer space. But, with a little help from the professionals, I was able to get my bearings. We adjusted the cook time and temperature, and in my blondies went. It was easy! And y'all, they looked so good when they came out that I got compliments—from chefs!

This is all to say that this recipe grew on me. Despite every curveball my unique situation presented, it proved both flexible and foolproof.

As directed, I let my blondie-filled pan cool on a wire rack for an hour after it came out of the oven. But when an hour passed, I was surprised to find that it hadn't quite set. After 15 additional minutes in a refrigerator my patience was beginning to wane, so I began the process of removing them from the pan. It came out easily thanks to the aluminum foil, but it was clear it could have done with a little more resting time. Nevertheless, I persisted, and set about cutting my sheet into squares.

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With my blondies cut into squares, I topped each one with a dollop of whipped cream (I used store-bought because I wasn't about to be seen testing my peaks in that situation!) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

And that's when the magic happened. Word had spread that I was in the kitchen making something with eggnog, and one by one, restaurant staff came by asking for a sample. Everyone loved them! A couple people agreed with me that they weren't quite set, but they were so delicious that it didn't matter. And when more than one person asked me if I'd be joining on as a pastry chef I knew: this recipe is a winner.

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