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Eggnog Mousse



Serves 8 to 10

3 tablespoons dark rum
3 tablespoons brandy
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (1 scant tablespoon)
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon groun cloves
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Coffee Caramel, for serving (recipe follows)

1 Prepare an ice bath, set aside. Combine spirits in a small bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin; let soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; whisk until mixture is pale and fluffy, 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in gelatin mixture.
3. Set bowl over pan again; cook, whisking, until the gelatin has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to the ice bath; scrape down side of bowl, and whisk until cooled slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of whipped cream into gelatin mixture, then gently fold gelatin mixture into remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate (no more than 5 minutes) while preparing the egg whites.
5. In a clean bowl of the electric mixer, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into cream mixture. Transfer to a serving dish; cover. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes or overnight. Serve chilled, garnished with coffee caramel and other recommended toppings. (Chopped toasted hazelnuts, crushed peppermint, golden raisins, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and whipped cream.)

Coffee Caramel
makes 1 cup

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure coffee extract
Vegetable oil cooking spray

1. Coat a metal spatula and a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, wiping off excess; set aside. Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan. Cover,; bring to a boil. Remove lid; cook until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming, and swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is 300 on a candy thermometer.
2. Remove pan from heat, and carefully stir in extract( it will spatter). Pour onto prepared sheet. Quickly spread mixture into a thin layer with oiled spatula. Let cool completely, at least 15 minutes.
3. Break caramel into pieces, place in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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