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Sepia's Joshua Pearson makes a mean sugar cookie

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The bartenders interviewed for today's cover story on their homemade holiday treats gave us way more material than we could use. Here's are some delicious extras:

Post and photo by guest blogger Seanan Forbes

Forget the jokes about hand-me-down fruitcakes. When it comes to making Christmas presents, Sepia's Joshua Pearson tweaks his father's cookie recipes. Pearson's dad, Stephen Pearson, is a professional pastry chef turned bakery manager, which promises something better than a mythical fruitcake doorstop.

A bite of revised heritage: Joshua Pearson's Grand Marnier sugar cookies. "He used to make something very similar," Pearson remembers, "without the glaze." Pearson the Elder's recipe was easy to make. Pearson the Younger's twist is, too. Unsurprisingly, it's also boozy, with liqueur in both dough and glaze.

"A couple of years ago, I was looking for a holiday cookie to make. I had some Grand Marnier, and I love cooking with Grand Marnier," he says. Chuckling, he confesses, "I boozed up his cookies a little bit."

This winter, Pearson's father is up from Australia, enjoying a chilly white Christmas in Chicago. The father's out and about, seeing the town. As to Pearson, he says, "My wife and I are staying in." He's in the kitchen, cooking and baking and keeping things warm.

Has his dad tasted the Grand Marnier version of his cookies? "He hasn't yet. I'm making them for Christmas." They'll appear after dinner. "I always cook a goose. I usually do a bourbon-glazed ham." Pearson's voice drifts off to meals past and dinners yet to come. Sugar cookies, too: spirited ones.

In Australia, the big holiday meal - lunch, there as in Britain - showcases shellfish. The orange cookies would be just as welcome after a hot-season feast.

In whatever weather they're made, the next batch of cookies may have just a little finely shaved dark chocolate in the batter, grated orange in the glaze or (who knows, with Joshua Pearson?) a different spirit altogether. Only three things are certain: The cookies will taste good; they'll pass any top-shelf bar exam, and they'll be shared with friends, family and an abundance of cheer.

Recipe after the jump.

Grand Marnier Sugar Cookies
MAKES ABOUT 80 COOKIES

Dough
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon very fine orange zest

Grand Marnier Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
5 teaspoons Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder

In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, vanilla, Grand Marnier and orange zest.

Blend in dry ingredients.

Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until golden.

For the glaze, mix together Grand Marnier and sugar until the consistency of thick syrup. While cookies are still hot, spoon a small amount of glaze on each. If cookies cool too fast, then slide them back in hot oven for a moment.

Set glazed cookies on a rack until cool.

Joshua Pearson, Sepia

7 Comments

Baking cookies with Grand Marnier is a wonderful idea for the holidays..not bad in a glaze over roasted duckling either!

Mmm, now that sounds delicious. Anything in cookie form with a bit of sweetness...delightful!

Maybe this will be the recipe that breaks my baking curse!

Wow, now I have learned two *more* things today. Shellfish is used in Aussie holiday fare, and don't read the Chicago Sun-Times before noon if I intend to leave the kitchen.

This is a dirty little trick -- everyone will think I slaved away for hours when it's really such an easy way to tart up a simple cookie!

Fantastic cookies- something this good should not be so easy to make!

Grand Marnier sugar cookies? Be still my heart! :)

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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