What is the best cup sized drip coffee system for home?

Confused whether which are the best drip coffee makers for home use? Unsure about the quality and features all these coffee maker machines has to offers? Worried about the authenticity of various coffee makers in the market? Don’t worry! We have solutions to all your questions. Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 coffee maker is one of the most popular and among the best coffee maker in the market which is certified SCAA and SCAE. Let’s learn more about its features, pros and cons with a detailed review and conclusion. Keurig k55 and keurig 145 coffee machines can also be a tough competition for home expresso machines.

Review of Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 Coffee Maker

Below is a detailed and feature rich review of this popular coffee machine that will help you out in deciding whether this machine is worth buying or not.

Stainless Steel Thermal Carafe

This drip coffee maker machine comes with 1.25 liter thermal carafe with brew-thru lid. The brewer is built using high quality metal to ensure high durability and is also easy to clean. Brewing of the coffee is done through an outlet in the lid in such a way that carafe will fill and brew simultaneously. For more information read this blog.

Brews the Coffee Quickly

One of the most promising features of the coffee maker is its fast and brewing technology. The manufacturer terms it as precise coffee-water saturation time. You can get 10 cups of coffee in just 5 minutes. This feature is helpful when guests come to your home or colleagues taking short coffee break at the same time.

Manual Adjust Drip-Stop Brew Basket

Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 coffee maker is equipped with manual adjust drip-stop brew basket. In simple words, it is a pause in between feature. One can stop the process instantly if one wishes to add more coffee to the basket or in order to increase the quantity of milk or water for additional members.

Copper Boiling Element

Copper boiling element within the coffee maker monitors the temperature of coffee. It stabilizes the temperature of coffee maker that enables the coffee to release its best flavor and give you a pleasurable taste. It sets the temperature in between 195 and 205 Degree Fahrenheit, ideal for making perfect coffee which makes it one of the best drip coffee makers in the market.

Auto Shut Off

You will also find the auto shut off feature available in the machine. This feature gets activated once the brewing cycle is complete. The brewing cycle does not create any noise like loud bubbling or gurgling noises that annoys you or wakes up someone from sleep.

Pros of Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 Coffee Maker

  • Built quality of this drip coffee maker is excellent as it is handmade in Netherlands.
  • While you sip in a cup of coffee, you will realize that there is no plastic taste or smell unlike coffee made using other coffee makers.
  • It brews 10 cups of coffee in just 5 minutes giving it an advantage over other drip coffee makers.
  • The coffee maker is SCAA SCAE certified.
  • This impressive drip coffee maker comes in 5 year manufacturing warranty.

Cons of Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 Coffee Maker

  • The disadvantage of the coffee maker is that it is priced bit higher as compared to other drip coffee maker machines.
  • The programming of the machine is not easy and cannot be brewed ahead of the time.
The Last Words

Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 coffee maker is undoubtedly one of the best drip coffee makers one can buy for home use. You will find some of the features in this coffee maker that are not available in other coffee makers which is the reason a lot of customers trust the machine over others. You must definitely try out the machine for your home.

Which is the better coffee place, Starbucks or Coffee Bean?

A coffee place or a cafe is an establishment which serves hot beverages such as tea, hot coffee, cold beverages such as iced coffee and iced tea. Many cafes also serve food such as muffins, pastries, cookies and other light refreshments. It is very important for a coffee shop to make their consumers feel comfortable and hence, convenience and fast service are must.

Two such cafes – Starbucks and Coffee Bean have made their way to the top for their service, quality and coffee lovers. Both have their own pros and cons and can serve you as a guide in deciding which one to go for.

Starbucks

Starbucks has initially distinguished itself from other cafes in terms of taste, quality and customer experience. Starbucks uses the highest quality Arabica coffee as the base for its espresso drinks and popularized darkly roasted coffee. It also uses automated espresso machines like the best French press coffee makers for their efficiency and safety reasons. This café company always purchases roasted whole bean coffee. They serve hot and cold beverages, pastries and other snacks as well. They have large varied offerings both in service and products. Keurig coffee makers are popular among available espresso machines. They comes with incredible brewing capacity which makes them incredible for home use.

Coffee at doorstep is one such successful service offers. Starbuck introduce themselves with a mission stating to inspire and nurture the human spirit that is one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. Although the company has good global presence and competent management yet there are few cons for which people prefer Coffee Bean over Starbucks for some category of products.

Coffee Bean

The Coffee Bean Company is known for its Original Ice Blended coffee and tea drinks including the hot coffee drinks. It also sells a variety of whole bean coffees, flavoured powders, baked goods, and whole leaf teas. Likewise the Starbucks, it too is a recognised and successful company, thus they try to improve their customer services, product line, pricing strategies, and management system.

When compared to Starbucks, there seemed to be more positive reviews for this company. Like Starbucks they too use the best French press coffee makers yet they are said to provide better quality and taste when compared to Starbucks. Bunn coffee makers can be considered as a strong competitor for Keurig if you need something which is cheaper and doesn’t compromise on quality.

Metrics For Comparison

  1. If both these companies are compared on positioning of their products, they seemed to be quite close on the metrics that is customer perception for the brands, although Coffee Bean wins the race due to more relaxed and comfortable environment.

  2. Next on comparing them based on brand personality, Starbucks refers more too competence dimension. Competence would basically indicate their reliability, intelligence, and success. It also maintains its premiumness which thereby helps to hold back their loyal customer quite similar to the strategy used by Apple earlier. Also they have shown a great deal of social responsibility by contributing in charity and art activities. On the other hand Coffee bean too focus on competence and sincerity. This company has an older brand and hence had gained the competitive advantage. They have great intelligent market development ideas and also own marketing strategies.

  3. Starbucks has always targeted high end customer and hence show a less growth rate when compared to Coffee bean.

The Last Words

Each company has its own way of managing and conducting a business. it must apply both marketing and business strategies in order to keep the business growing in the market. Both these coffee places conduct the same business selling coffee and beverages and have established many stores over the decades. They have been using the best French press coffee makers for their brewing, yet when compared on few of the metrics, Coffee Bean shows a slight advantage over Starbucks.…

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Caramel Frosting

Fall is one of the best times of year. I love the sweaters, football games, pies, warm hot chocolates and apple ciders, spooky activities, costume parties, colorful leaves, and cool air. And let’s not forget the PUMPKINS! My friend Shelby posted her mom’s famous recipe for Pumpkin Cookies on her adorable blog, Salted Sugar, last week and I was smart enough to make them yesterday. They are uh-mazing!

These cookies are perfectly spiced, amazingly soft, and incredibly delicious. Not lying. I know that sounds over the top, but it’s true!! They are just what I needed to help me usher in the fall season. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I followed Shelby’s advice and used half the amount of cloves the recipe calls for and it was perfect. I wouldn’t have wanted any more. I cut the amount in half in the recipe below, so just follow it as written. Oh, and I had to use a small, fresh pumpkin cause I didn’t have any canned pumpkin on hand, but it was easy to cook and made the cookies taste extra fresh! So, whether you use canned pumpkin or a small cooking pumpkin, these cookies really are the best.

Shelby mentions that she never uses a timer, she just watches them. I was expecting them to brown a little more than they do so I left my first batch in for a little longer than I would have liked. After trial and error, I found that they came out perfectly after 12 minutes.

The frosting recipe that goes with cookies is vanilla buttercream (and it’s perfectly amazing), but as I was waiting for the cookies to bake, my mother-in-law suggested making a brown sugar frosting as well so we could switch things up and have two flavors. We weren’t disappointed!! Both frostings were SO yummy with the pumpkin flavor, and everyone agreed that it was too hard to choose which frosting was better because they are so different and equally delicious. Guess I’ll always have to make both frostings when I make these cookies! It was fun having brown and orange frosting too :)

The only other thing you need to know is that this recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies—so don’t double it unless you really need to make a TON!

The BEST Pumpkin Cookies EVER

adapted from Salted Sugar
Yeild:
about 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  •  2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups shortening
  • 2 cups pumpkin (the can should say 100% pure pumpkin…don’t accidentally buy the pumpkin pie filling! You don’t want the sweetened stuff)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  •  ¾ tsp. cloves

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In an electric mixer, blend shortening and sugar.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each one.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix.
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients one cup at a time
  • Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes (I found that mine were perfect after 12).
  • Meanwhile, make your frosting (I made 1 batch of each kind of frosting…this will give you more vanilla buttercream than brown sugar caramel).
  • Once cookies have cooled, frost and add your favorite festive sprinkles. Enjoy!

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

*If only making this frosting, make one and a half recipes.

  • 4 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • add orange food coloring for a festive touch (I did 8 drops yellow, 5 drops red)

Brown Sugar Caramel Frosting

*If only making this frosting, double.

Ingredients:

  • ½ stick melted butter
  • 1 T water
  • ⅛ c half and half or whole milk
  • 2 ¼ c  powdered sugar
  • ½ c brown sugar, packed lightly
  • 1 t vanilla

Directions:

  • Prepare pan by spraying with Pam and rubbing down the sides. In the pan, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar and water. Cook and stir until the sugar has melted and isn’t grainy anymore.
  • Remove from heat and add the half and half and vanilla to cool the mixture. Let stand for 10-15 minutes to cool (don’t skip this step!)
  • Transfer brown sugar mixture to kitchen aid or bowl, add the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth.

No-Sew DIY Ottoman from a Coffee Table!

Ever since my husband and I bought our coffee table I have hated it. It is made of glass, stone, and metal so it is constantly covered in fingerprints and I always have bruises on my shins from running into the dang thing. A few months ago I found a cute little wooden coffee table for $10 at a garage sale. And after bought you should maintain coffee table for long lasting.

Though the color was heinous, I had a vision for it and I knew that a little paint, foam, and fabric would spruce it up nicely. It took me a few months to gather up the motivation to start the project, but I finally did it and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Let me start off with this disclaimer: This DIY ottoman project really isn’t very hard, which surprised me. I was stressed about starting it all day on Friday because I knew it was a big project and I just wanted it to turn out well. Luckily for me, it wasn’t that hard to figure out. However, Do not Consume Too Much Coffee Everyday. It Fetches Some Bad Results On Your Health. it is very time consuming…especially if you are new to upholstering like I was! My shoulders, back, forearms, and thumbs were very sore the next day and I was up until 4:30 a.m. finishing it (that makes a total of about 13 hours). Fortunately, the amount of love I immediately had for my new piece of furniture made up for my soreness and lack of sleep. Would I want to repeat the process again any time soon? Heck no. But I don’t regret making it one bit.

You should also probably know that my ottoman was not the only project made that day…my friend Christy and I worked on my ottoman and her bench simultaneously, so it took us about twice as long. I would say plan for about 6 or 7 hours if you are just making one :) (and if you are smart enough to buy enough fabric and supplies on your first trip to the craft store!! We had to go back twice…once for new fabric because we hated our first choices, and a second time because we didn’t buy enough fabric to cover the sides. Math isn’t our forte, okay?)

I hope my disclaimer doesn’t make you change your mind about doing this project. Like I said, it’s SO worth it when you’re done!! So. Let’s begin!

The supplies you need for your DIY Ottoman are as follows:

  • A coffee table (try Goodwill, Deseret Industries, Craigslist, or a garage sale…cheaper is better!)
  • Primer and semi-gloss paint if you don’t like the color of the table’s legs…
  • A saw if you are making an ottoman instead of a bench.
  • Enough fabric to cover your coffee table plus an extra 6-8 inches on each side to cover your foam! Also, keep in mind you need a little extra fabric to cover your buttons and the sides of your table if you want those covered as well. I got 2⅔ yards of fabric and it left me with a little extra. Fortunately, I got it for 50% off at Joann’s (Veterans Day Sale!), but most craft stores have coupons you can use no matter what time of year it is! Just make sure you get a flexible fabric that’s good quality without being too thick (or covering your buttons will be nearly impossible). I used a suede and it worked perfectly…and it’s SO soft!
  • Enough foam to cover the top of your coffee table plus an extra inch on each side. I used 4 inch thick foam. Luckily it was 50% off as well cause that stuff is pricey!! Hobby lobby has a 40% off coupon you can use on any one item if you get it there…but do your research and find the best deal. It’s worth it.
  • High-loft batting. My table was 38×38 and a full-size package of high-loft batting (81”x96”) left me with just a little extra…you want the measurements of your batting to be about double that of your table so you can use two layers…and make sure you get high-loft if you want deep-set buttons.
  • A button kit. I bought the pack of 10 of the bigger size and only ended up using 6 buttons.
  • A pack of cheap buttons large enough to cover the holes you’re going to drill into the bottom of your table.
  • An upholstery needle (this will be about 6 inches long and you can find it in the upholstery section of most craft stores)
  • Thick upholstery thread or fishing line (I used fishing line…)
  • A heavy-duty staple gun and staples
  • Upholster nail tacks (I bought a pack of 24 and that gave me exactly enough to do 6 per side…you might want to buy a few extra though…cause they are stubborn buggers and I ruined 5 of mine trying to nail them in)
  • An electric drill
  • Adhesive spray
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • A permanent marker
  • A small knife to create holes in your foam for the buttons to sit in (I used a paring knife…)
  • A bread knife or electric carving knife to cut your foam with
  • A hammer

The process:

  • Okay…where to begin. The first thing I did was have my handy-dandy husband saw a few inches off the bottom of my coffee table legs. He’s the greatest. I was about to add an extra 5 inches to that thing, so it had to shrink. No one wants to rest their legs on something higher than the couch.
  • The next thing you need to do is paint some primer on any parts of the table that you don’t plan on covering with fabric. Once that’s dry, paint 2 coats of whichever color you have chosen for the legs. I used a semi-gloss black and I liked the shininess level.

  • Now, you can’t start anything else until that paint is completely dry or you’ll have a mess on your hands and pretty pathetic looking table legs. Because of this, I painted my table the night before I started the rest of this project.
  • So, once your paint is dry, you’re ready to cut your foam and glue it to the table. Use your handy math skills to figure out exactly how to cut your foam so that it covers the whole table with an extra inch on each side. Draw a straight line with a permanent marker and use your bread knife or electric carver to cut the foam. I ended up using one large piece and one smaller strip on the side.

  • This is where things get a little tricky…You need to glue your foam to the table so it stays in place, but if you have thick foam and a pretty wimpy drill like me, you might need to lift the foam up to drill your button holes in the table. Don’t skip the gluing step though…cause you want the foam to stay where it’s supposed to.
  • So, position your foam on the table exactly where you want it, lift each side slightly, and spray with the adhesive. Then press down. I sat on mine to make sure it was on there good (this was before I knew I was gonna need to lift it up again to get my drill to work…).
  • Now, figure out how many buttons you want and use those math skills again to space them out evenly on your table. I decided on two rows of three buttons, and one row of two in between. The buttons can be a headache, so if you’re debating between two different amounts, go for the smaller amount. haha. Trust me. I drew a grid on my foam to try and figure out where to put the buttons and it ended up being a big waste of time. Basically you just need to make sure they are exactly in line with each other and equally spaced apart from each other and the sides. My foam looked so ridiculous after drawing my grid that I couldn’t bear to take a picture of it…sorry.
  • Once you’ve marked off the button spots, it’s time to grab that drill. After much trial and error (my foam was so thick that it literally broke the first drill bit I used), Christy and I figured out that the best way to do this is to poke the drill bit all the way through the foam before turning it on, and then turning it on for just a second to mark the table where the hole needs to be. Then, while keeping the foam perfectly in place, lift it enough to drill a hole through the table exactly where the mark is. This keeps your foam from shredding to pieces. Just be really careful about not letting your foam move! You want the hole in your foam to match up with the one in the table, trust me. Repeat for every button.
  • Now, time to add some more spray adhesive to your foam so it’s nice and stuck. Once again, don’t let it move out of place!!
  • After your foam is officially stuck to your table, it’s time to grab your paring knife and make those holes you poked in the foam bigger. I would say we carved the holes about as big as a quarter…but keep in mind that my buttons were pretty big. This is what will help your buttons look deep
  • Now you’re ready to put your batting over the foam. Staple in place under the lip of the table.

  • At this point you should know how big your table is with the extra foam and batting. That should give you a good idea of what size your fabric needs to be. Cut off a piece that is big enough to cover the entire top of your table and wrap down under the lip with enough excess to staple in place. Don’t forget that your foam added an extra inch to your table in every direction…So, if your table is 38×38, you need a piece of fabric that is at least 44×44 and maybe even 45×45. Make sense? Just place it on top to test it out before cutting it to be safe.
  • Once your fabric is cut, take the extra fabric that you have and make your buttons (just be sure to cut it strategically so that you still have enough for your strips later (I needed to save enough fabric for four 5×20 inch strips). Your button kit will show you how to make the buttons. It’s surprisingly simple!!

  • Now, this is where the explaining gets tricky. You need to take your fishing line and run it through the needle…then run it through the back of your button and secure it in place. Christy did this part for me cause I am no pro at knots or sewing.
  • If you can, have an extra set of hands help you with this part—it will really make your life easier…
  • Prop your table up on some chairs so it’s high up off the ground, drape your fabric over the top of it (exactly where you want it to be), and use your hands to locate those nice big holes you cut into the foam.
  • Now, starting with the middle button, stick your needle straight through the fabric and down into the foam. If you’re lucky, your needle will go straight down through the hole you drilled into the wood as well. However, if you’re like me, it will take about 5 minutes to find that gosh dang hole with the needle. We let the foam move on my table when we were drilling the holes through the wood, so it caused some issues. You shouldn’t have that problem though if you were careful in step 8.
  • Once the needle is finally through the wood, have your helper grab it, string the needle through one of your cheap buttons (not the nice ones you just made), and cover the hole in the wood. The person above the table needs to push down on the button as deep as wanted while the person under the table pulls the fishing line tight and starts securing it with staples. Put one staple in, hammer it tight, and then repeat in a zig-zag pattern at least 3 times. See my really bad picture below if you’re confused. This should keep your fishing line and button in place :)

  • Repeat with the rest of your buttons.

  • Your ottoman should now start to look like an ottoman! This is where I started to get excited :) Once all your buttons are secure, you can staple your fabric to the underside of the table. Make sure those staples are in tight (this might mean hammering some of them in). We started at the middle of each side, and then worked our way to the edges and did all four corners last.
  • For the corners, just roll one side into the other to create a nice fold…unless you are great at folding and come up with a better plan! That is just what proved to be easiest for us.
  • Now, it’s time to go cut those strips we talked about. Measure the lowest part of the lip of your table and add an extra inch to it so you know how thick each strip needs to be, and then measure the length and add two inches. I used four 5×40 inch strips.
  • Staple each strip to the table. You will have to cut little slits in the bottom of your fabric if your table lips are detailed like mine were. I promise it’s not as difficult as it looks, it just takes some patience. Staple to the underside of the table.

  • Once you’re done with that, you can enjoy your table how it is! Otherwise, grab those upholstery tacks and carefully nail them in (you’re gonna want to put some fabric over the hammer or all the paint will come off the tack when you hit it with the hammer). Some of them will be stubborn, break, and go in crooked, so be careful and try not to curse them too much. Like I said earlier, a few of mine broke so I need to go buy some more…
  • Hallelujah, you’re DONE!! Enjoy your beautiful new piece of furniture. LOTS of work, but way cheaper than buying one…and it’s way more loved when you make it yourself :)

Caprese Lasagna Roll Ups

Lasagna is my all time favorite meal. Probably because I was fed lasagna far too many times when on tour for Young Ambassadors. When an LDS group is asked to provide food, they provide lasagna. That’s just how it is. I’m not complaining, I was always very grateful for the free food! But having the same thing to eat all the time did get old.

Fortunately, this lasagna is not like regular recipes—it is meat free and it contains fresh tomatoes and basil. The word “caprese” in the title is what drew me to this recipe in the first place.

I love all things caprese. The combination of mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil has always been one of my weaknesses. However, this dish is still a “lasagna dish,” so I was skeptical. Fortunately, the first bite left me eager to gobble up the rest! It is deliciously fresh and just as wonderful as I hoped it would be.

I mean, just look at that ooey-gooey melted mozzarella and those gorgeous fresh ribbons of basil. How could you not be in heaven? These Caprese Lasagna Roll Ups definitely qualify as Italian comfort food at its finest. Not to mention, they are SUPER easy. Make them, trust me.

Perfect Sugar Cookies

It doesn’t feel like Christmas until there are homemade sugar cookies. It’s a tradition in my family to make sugar cookies and decorate them together. We love it…it ushers in the holiday season, it’s a fun family activity, and the end result is some dang delicious cookies.

I have searched high and low for the perfect sugar cookie recipe, and I think I’ve finally found it. I am not going to claim this recipe as “the best” because everyone has different opinions on what makes the best sugar cookie. Some love them fat, soft, and cakey. Others prefer thinner, crispier cookies. These fall perfectly in the middle. They are thin and delicious, but so wonderfully soft. The secret? Keep reading.

In my never-ending search for a great sugar cookie recipe, I found that some called for Crisco, some called for butter, and all recipes claimed to be the best. So, what’s the difference between using Crisco and butter anyway? The answer is the melting temperature and the flavor. Butter melts at a lower temperature than Crisco, resulting in crispier, flatter results. However, Crisco doesn’t compare to butter in terms of flavor. I wasn’t about to give up a great-tasting cookie just so it could be soft…and there was no way I was gonna make cookies that were crispy and hard. Not my style.

SO…I found a recipe I like and decided to use half butter and half Crisco (it only called for butter). And oh. my. goodness. They are perfect! They taste delicious, especially with my favorite buttercream icing (recipe below), and they are wonderfully soft and smooth. Hence, I have decided to call them “perfect sugar cookies.”

Some things to keep in mind: 

  • Don’t skip the refrigeration step. The dough should be refrigerated for at  least 30 minutes before being rolled out. It will be much more workable and much less likely to stick to the counter. Trust me. I refrigerated mine for 4 hours.
  • Use a flat, light-colored cookie sheet (the kind with only one raised edge instead of four)…This allows the heat to evenly distribute over the cookies so they don’t puff up in the middle or become lop-sided. Also, a lighter-colored silver will keep them from getting too brown on the bottoms.
  • Because these are soft, it’s smart to stick them in the freezer before frosting them. I had a few gingerbread men lose their legs and snowmen lose their heads when I was trying to dress them in their frosting. Sad day. So, while making your frosting, stick the cookies in the freezer and only take out a handful at a time as you frost them.
  • If you are lucky enough to be frosting with a crowd you can take them all out of the freezer at once…I was working alone. I like to stick mine in the freezer once they are all frosted too! I love to eat them cold…it helps them.
  • A fan of crispier sugar cookies? Simply follow the recipe as outlined below, but use all butter instead of half butter/half Crisco. It’s as simple as that! Enjoy!!

INGREDIENTS

  • ⅔ cup butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup Crisco
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Buttercream Icing
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • a splash of almond extract (optional)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-5 T coffee cream (18% and up)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, using a rubber spatula to scrape the side of the bowl occasionally.
  • Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla until combined.
  • Beat in the flour and divide dough in half. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 375°F for 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Let sit on the pan for 30 seconds after removing from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool.
  • Place cookies in a container and stick in the freezer until hard enough to frost with ease.
  • In the meantime, prepare your frosting (recipe below).
  • Once cookies are frozen, spread or pipe the icing onto the cookies. If desired, top iced cookies with sprinkles and/or candies. I love using crushed candy canes, cinnamon sprinkles, peppermint sprinkles, and red hots.
  • Let frosting harden before placing cookies on top of one another.
  • Store in fridge or freezer for best results.

BUTTERCREAM ICING

  • Whip the butter with a paddle beater. Add in the powdered sugar (using a fresh bag makes all the difference—powdered sugar goes stale and you can taste the difference!)
  • Add in the cream and mix.
  • Add in the vanilla and almond extract and mix until fluffy and thoroughly combined.

  • Divide into four bowls and add a few drops of food coloring. I left one bowl white, then added green, red, and yellow food coloring to the other bowls.
  • Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Pan-Crisped Salmon with Lemon Dijon Cream and Garlic Breadcrumbs

Few things make me more excited for dinner than seafood. From lobster and shrimp to clams and salmon, I love it ALL. Okay, I have an aversion to octopus and caviar, but I’m just going to pretend like those don’t count. That’s why I was thrilled to make this salmon last night. Finding a new, incredible recipe is always a plus…especially when that recipe turns out to be something pretty gosh darn easy to make.

Instead of baking the salmon, you want to sear it for a few minutes on each side. The end result will be a beautiful, crisp crust and a warm, buttery inside. Then, you take the same skillet, add some cream, butter, garlic, and other yummy things to make a delicious cream sauce. I promise, you’re gonna love it.

Pan-Crisped Salmon with Lemon Dijon Cream and Garlic Breadcrumbs

yield: serves 2-4
adapted from How Sweet Eats

ingredients:

1 pound salmon filet
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 small shallot, diced
2 tablespoons freshly chopped sage
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup half & half or cream
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 lemon

Directions:

Prepare bread crumbs first by heating a small saucepan over medium-low heat and adding 1T of butter. Add in 2 of your minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in bread crumbs, tossing for a minute or two until the mixture is combined and slightly golden. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Season salmon with salt and pepper, then place in the skillet (skin side up, if the salmon has skin…personally, I like mine without the skin) and cook until opaque in the center and golden on each side, about 5-6 minutes for salmon that is 1-inch thick. If you use salmon with skin, simply cook it skin side up the entire time on a lower heat setting.

Remove salmon and set aside, then add remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter, shallots, garlic, and sage. Stir well to coat then cook for 1-2 minutes until sizzling, then add in wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing it to bubble and slightly reduce, then whisk in cream and mustard.

Continue to whisk and cook salmon while milk bubbles on the sides and thickens, stirring for a minute or two. Taste and season additionally with salt and pepper and the juice of one lemon. Whisk in a bit more dijon if desired.

Serve salmon immediately, drizzled with dijon cream and topped with breadcrumbs. Serve with rice, potatoes, vegetables, or salad!