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December 2007 Issue
by Ronda L. Halpin
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Coffee Guru

    Coffee is hot. Well, the kind that's meant to be served that way, that is! Iced coffee is, well, cold. But that's a subject for another article. In this context, coffee and coffee gear make a great gift for the guru in your life. Besides the obvious beans and/or ground coffee options, here are some fun things to consider:
    • For many, coffee is as simple as pouring a cup from the maker. Others take it to an art form. For those people, consider a copy of Maxwell House Coffee Drinks & Desserts Cookbook: From Lattes and Muffins to Decadent Cakes and Midnight Treats. By the time you've flipped through the first few pages, you will be wanting to brew your own and enjoy.
    • Of course, there's always the tried and true gift of specialty beans with chocolate-covered spoons and such all tucked into a really great mug. But don't just choose any mug. Try to find something that really suits the recipient. You can even find services that will put your photo on a mug for you ... so think outside the cup, er, box!
    • Cuisinart just introduced an automatic coffeemaker with a built-in burr grinder this fall. While it's about $170, it does take all the guesswork out of brewing the perfect pot and takes their earlier idea of a built-in grinder and elevates it to heaven with a burr grinder addition. The Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker from Cuisinart will have the coffee guru on your list smiling from ear to ear.

Baking Bug

    The colder months of the year scream for more baking. The holidays are a perfect time to encourage that habit in a friend that loves baking. And with all kinds of advances in materials and ingredients, you can opt for so much more than a metal baking pan and a boxed mix. Here are some suggestions:
    • A selection of hotpads and trivets in some of the newest materials might impress. Beautiful tempered glass trivets are decorative and durable. Consider silicone hotpads that are great insulators that are easy to keep clean.
    • Consider pairing a baking cookbook with items for decorating desserts and nestle them all in a baking pan of your choice. A beautiful bundt pan could be especially decorative!
    • Pair a muffin tin with a small jar of preserves nestled into each of the muffin cups. What a great way to encourage a taste test!
Whatever you opt to get for the foodies on your list, just remember that, for most of us, cooking is about sharing and love. So it only seems appropriate that this holiday season would feature cooking, sharing and love in abundance! Seasoned Greetings!
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