"I was raised in a Jewish family in Los Angeles, so I didn't celebrate a white Christmas," Elizabeth Colling says. But there was always eggnog. "I just love that flavor." She worked the holiday drink into cheesecake bars, dense on the bottom, silken on top. She spikes them with brandy for a grown-up taste and dusts them with fresh nutmeg.
Elizabeth's Eggnog Cheesecake Bars
Vegetable oil cooking spray, for pan
12 graham crackers, finely ground (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup eggnog
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
Bars can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Stir together graham crackers, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the melted butter. Press into bottom of pan. Bake until crust is just brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the eggs, yolk, eggnog, flour, brandy, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt; beat until smooth. Pour filling over crust. Set pan in a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of baking pan. Bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove baking pan from water bath, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
3. Cut into 1 1/2-by-3-inch bars. Lightly dust tops of bars with freshly grated nutmeg just before serving.
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The only combo better than eggnog and cheesecake (maybe)? Brown butter and apple pie.