Chow Bella

Grace Ellis, What Are You Baking?

Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our "What Are You Eating?" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be bringing you "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

On the baking sheet today: J. Grace Ellis' family sugar cookies. Ellis, former owner of Capitol Coffee Company, is now co-owner of Galileo Project, a consulting firm for environmental projects in Tempe. She and her sisters -- Donna Hall and Karen Richard -- "have finally found holiday baking as a healthy outlet for their compulsive perfectionism," she writes.

What are you baking for the holidays this year?
Ellis Family Sugar Cookies with Grapefruit Cello Icing.

Favorite holiday treats?

Eggnog crème Brule, candy canes, fruit cake, and baked brie with cranberries.

The Ellis sisters graciously share their recipe after the jump.

Least favorite holiday treats?

Christmas candies with anise. Yuck. It's a mean trick as far as I'm concerned.

Any food items on your holiday wish list this year?

Pomegranates, lemon curd, caviar.

Any food-related New Year's resolutions?

To expose my son more to harvesting, hunting, and fishing so that he can have a greater appreciation of the work and beauty that go into keeping us alive.


Ellis Family Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

2 gggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

4 to 5 cups flour

Mix well. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Roll and cut into shapes. Bake at 350
until golden brown. About 10 minutes.

Grapefruit Cello Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar

Pinch salt

2 tablespoons Grapefruit Cello (see below)

Water to thin. Add food coloring and ice away.

Grapefruit Cello:

1 bottle Everclear grain alcohol

3 grapefruits

4 cups simple syrup

With a very sharp paring knife, cut the rind off of the grapefruit. Be
careful to cut the rind so that there is very little pith, since the pith
will make the Cello bitter. Place the rind and grain alcohol in a sealed jar
for 3 weeks. Take out the rind, strain the infusion with cheesecloth, and
add the simple syrup. The rinds are extremely flammable, just saying. The
Cello is best served as a chilled aperitif, but it serves nicely as a

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at