21st Annual Cookie Walk to offer family activities Dec. 3

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By Ann Cipperly

With 30,000 cookies to select from, the Cookie Walk on Dec. 3 will be a dream come true for foodies and Cookie Monsters of all ages.  The 21st annual Cookie Walk is a family event with music, photos with Santa, crafts, a quilt raffle and other activities at Grace United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Sponsored by the WeHelp Coalition Churches for the Lee County Habitat for Humanity, proceeds go toward building homes for families in the community.

Along with the 11 churches in the coalition, a large number in the community have donated cookies in the past, including coaches, football players, mayors of Opelika and Auburn, AU President’s wife Susie Gogue, Sheriff Jay Jones, Barbara Patton, Dr. Mark Neighbors and many others, including local restaurants and businesses.

“Our greatest need is cookie bakers,” says Mark Grantham, executive director of Habitat. “Everyone may not be able to swing a hammer to build houses, but baking cookies to donate or coming out to buy cookies helps build houses. The Cookie Walk has helped build 13 houses.”

Their goal this year is 30,000 cookies. Bakers should drop off cookies at Grace United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall Friday, Dec. 2 between 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.   For further information on the Cookie Walk call Donna Roberts at 334-329-4879.

Those purchasing cookies receive a box and plastic gloves. After they have selected their cookies, they pay six dollars per pound at the checkout.

A gift table offers specialty packaged cookies and sweets as well as handmade gifts. Handmade holiday crafts are also for sale.

Along with the cookies, Santa arrives at 9 a.m. to have photos taken with children until 11 a.m. free of charge. Children’s choirs and other local talent will perform.

Raffle tickets are available for two handmade quilts made by the Cotton Boll Quilt Guild.

A hospitality table will offer coffee, hot apple cider and cocoa with samples of cookies to savor while enjoying the entertainment.

Volunteers of the WeHelp Coalition work for months organizing the Cookie Walk event. Formed in the late 1980s, WeHelp is one of the sponsoring agencies that support the Habitat for Humanity in Lee County.  Mike Kosolapoff, chairman of WeHelp Coalition Churches, has been involved in the fundraiser since 2003.

The 11 churches in the WeHelp Coalition include Auburn AME Zion Church, Auburn First Baptist Church, Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Auburn First Presbyterian, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, Green Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Grace United Methodist Church, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, True Deliverance Holiness Church and White Street Missionary Baptist Church.

The popular Cookie Walk event began when Dr. Bob Norton, a member of WeHelp, suggested the idea for the fundraiser.  Dr. Norton would bake at least 60 dozen cookies for the event. When he died, volunteers requested cookies from local restaurants to fill in. These cookies are on a separate table with the name of the business on each batch.

“The Coalition of churches is such a blessing to Habitat,” says Mark Grantham, director of Habitat for Humanity. “They raise an average of eight to 15 thousand dollars on this one fundraiser. It takes a lot of support of the churches and the community to bake and come out and buy the cookies.

“That money helps a qualified family realize the dream and responsibility of a home in our community,” adds Mark. “Our partner families work very hard to contribute 500 volunteer hours, attend training on responsible financial management and home ownership, save a down payment and pay a nonprofit no interest mortgage.”

For additional information on Habitat for Humanity contact Mark Grantham at 334-745-2123 or email mark.a.grantham310@gmail.com.

Plan to attend the Cookie Walk and fill your freezer with homemade cookies to have on hand for the Christmas season while helping a family have their own warm home by the next holiday season.

Recipes:
Holiday Fruit Cookies
Judith C. Hale
1/2 cup soft shortening
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see note)
3 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups cut-up candied cherries
2 cups chopped dates
Mix shortening, margarine, sugar and eggs thoroughly. Stir in milk.
Sift together flour, soda and salt and stir into wet mixture. Mix in pecans, cherries and dates. Chill at least one hour. Dough may be kept in refrigerator for several days until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto lightly greased baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 8 dozen.
Note: To make 1 cup sour milk for baking, use 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice. Stir well and let stand for 5 minutes before using.

Pfeffer Nuesse
Marilyn (Chris) Johnson
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup lard or 1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3 cups molasses
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk (see note)
1 tsp. soda
A few drops Anise oil, if desired
1/2 tsp. cloves
3/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Put all ingredients in bowl in order written. Mix together, then add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Roll into small balls, and bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. You can roll into long rolls and refrigerate for 24 hours. Then cut into 1/4-inch slices and bake.
Cookies will be very firm. Store in freezer or in an airtight container with a cut apple for ripening flavor.
Note: To make 1 cup sour milk for baking, use 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice. Stir well and let stand for 5 minutes before using.

Ginger Crisps
Wesley Ellis
3/4 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 rounded tsp. ground ginger
Vegetable baking spray
Cream margarine and sugar; beat in egg substitute and molasses. Sift dry ingredients together, then add to first mixture. Chill dough thoroughly.
Drop by 1/2 teaspoonful 2-3 inches apart onto baking sheet sprayed with vegetable baking spray.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 350. Remove from pan immediately. Makes about 7 1/2 dozen cookies.

Macaroons
Shirley Beckett
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 cups corn flakes
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. flour
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar, coconut, nuts, corn flakes and vanilla; mix well. Add flour.
Drop by teaspoons on buttered pans. Bake at 300 for 15 o 20 minutes. Remove from pan when cool.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Meg Rankin
1/2 cup whole natural almonds, toasted for 5 minutes at 350 degrees
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 tsp. almond extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Chop almonds. Cream butter and sugar; beat in eggs. Mix the rest of the ingredients except for almonds and fold in until well mixed. Stir in almonds.
Make two ropes of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until the tops of the ropes are slightly brown. Remove and let cool for five minutes.
Slice diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Lay flat on baking sheet and return to oven for another 10 minutes to dry out.
Store in tightly covered containers and enjoy with either coffee or milk or just by themselves.

White Chip Orange Dream Cookies
Mona Gribbin
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 or 3 tsp. grated orange peel
2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) Nestle Toll House Premier White Morsels
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and orange peel. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes until eggs are light golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Iced Shortbread Christmas Cookies
Susi Grantham
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter and sugar in large bowl. Stir in flour. If dough is crumbly, mix in 1 to 3 Tbsp. butter or stick margarine, softened.
Roll dough ½ inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into small rounds or use cookie cutter.
Place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool and then frost. Makes about 2 dozen.
Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk
Mix powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 Tbsp. milk.
Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting becomes too thick, beat in small amount of powdered sugar.
If desired, tint frosting with food coloring in favorite Christmas colors. Frost cookies.

Rum Balls
Dr. Bob Norton
1 box vanilla wafers, crushed
16 oz. pkg. pecan pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup bourbon
1/3 cup dark rum
Sugar
Crush wafers; process pecans until finely chopped. Mix wafers and pecans in large bowl. Stir in honey, rum and bourbon; mix well.
Roll into one-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place in airtight container.
Store in refrigerator or freezer up to four weeks.
Makes 6 dozen.

Ranger Cookies
Vera Autrey
1/2 cup shortening or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup rice krispies cereal
1/2 cup coconut
Cream shortening and sugars; add egg and vanilla. Stiff together flour, soda, baking powder and salt; add to sugar and egg mixture. Add oatmeal, rice krispies and coconut.
Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 4 dozen.

Toffee Topped Bars
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate bars
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar and flour. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove 1 cup of mixture and set aside.
To mixture in large bowl, add baking powder and salt using a fork. Lightly beat in vanilla, milk and egg. Continue beating until a smooth batter forms. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips and walnuts. Fold in coconut. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top of batter in pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts over top. Using a long flat spatula, spread topping evenly over top of the batter.
Bake bars for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer pan to wire rack. Cool bars in pan completely before slicing.
Using a serrated knife, cut into 24 bars. Store in airtight container for up to 5 days.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Barbara Baldwin
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
Mix margarine, peanut butter, sugars and egg thoroughly. Measure flour by dip-level-method. Stir flour in mixture. Chill. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll into balls the size of large walnuts. Place 3-inches apart on cookie sheet and flatten with fork dipped in flour, crisscross. Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

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