Hello everyone! Let’s talk about regional foods, shall we? Otherwise you might start to wonder if this post is going to be about an animated cat and mouse. 🙂
One of my favorite things about food is all the weird little regional dishes and quirks you’ll find depending on where you go in the country. And I’m not just talking about chicken and waffles in the south. I’m talking about weird little additions to your coffee, or the ONLY way to have a certain sandwich.
It seems to me that these little regional quirks really start to show themselves around Christmas. At least they do in Minnesota, anyway. The grocery stores right now are filled with interesting little numbers that could have come with our ancestors right after their stop at Ellis Island. These are cookies of Scandinavian descent, usually, that you can only find this time of year. I’m talking about rosettes, which are a little difficult to make, actually. When hot oil and I tango things always get interesting. But then you have others like krumkake (which basically looks like a rolled up Belgian waffle stuffed with cream. And of course the Norwegian spritz cookies. Spritz cookies everywhere!
But the one thing that I always remember from my childhood was walking through the grocery store after Thanksgiving and seeing the clear plastic containers of Tom and Jerry batter. That’s how you knew Christmas was on its way.
Tom and Jerry batter is a SERIOUS thing in Minnesota, especially with the older generation. It was such a big deal that back in the day the bakeries inside the grocery stores would make the stuff. That’s some serious business. 😉
So what in the heck is Tom and Jerry batter anyway? Well, have you ever had hot buttered rum? If so, you are getting close to the land of Tom and Jerry. But there are a few differences. Firstly, hot buttered rum generally features butter…I mean, obviously, right? And I’ve seen recipes that have whipping cream too, or brown sugar. Tom and Jerry batter is a little different. You have butter, yes, but you also have eggs, and you have to separate those eggs and beat the egg whites to get some nice fluffiness going on. And there’s powdered sugar. And then you have all of those nice Christmas spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Tom and Jerry batter is usually served with brandy, but I’ve also heard of people having it with rum or whiskey. But kids aren’t left out of the fun. For them it’s done up the way you make instant hot cocoa. Just take a little and mix it into boiling water. It kind of makes it taste like you’re having eggnog, actually. As a kid I loved it. And apparently it’s also really good in hot milk, hot cocoa, and eggnog! Who knew? I’ll have to do some experimenting. 😀
The reason I’m sharing this recipe instead of just telling you about how I get it from the store each year is because, like everything, Tom and Jerry batter seems to be something that’s just getting to be a little old fashioned. Fewer and fewer grocery stores are selling it, and when you do find it, it already looks a little deflated, like it’s been sitting and waiting for you a while. Now the stores are filled with eggnog instead.
Well, I love old movies, old novels, and old-timey everything, so I’m going to keep the tradition going. I’m putting on my best ugly sweater and having a mug. 😉
- 12 eggs, separated
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 lb butter, at room temperature
- 3 lbs powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg whites and salt until you reach stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolks plus the vanilla to the butter mixture and mix.
- Add the spices plus the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture. Beat gently until incorporated.
- Use immediately or freeze.
- Fill a small mug with brandy, rum, or hot water. Stir in a heaping tablespoon of batter and enjoy!