Doors open at 9 a.m. for the Community Church of Barrington’s annual Cookie Walk which starts tomorrow at 10 a.m. sharp! I’ve written about this beloved Barrington tradition for the past several years and I finally found a chance to meet some of the ladies in charge of all of that baking. 10,000 cookies in about 80 varieties have been prepared with love by about two dozen volunteers and, today, we visited with four of them as they put the finishing touches on all those sugary treats.
The Community Church of Barrington’s Cookie Walk dates back to about 1980 and the featured cookies are the work of many helping hands. But three sisters from Barrington’s McLean family bake about a third of the cookies each year and we caught up with them in the kitchen this morning sorting and plating cookies with one of the founding bakers of the church’s cookie walk, Lillian Riddell. “In the beginning we had missionary goals to fulfill and we felt that the cookie walk would be a good fundraiser. Every lady who baked was asked to bake 100 cookies, it was very successful and the money was designated for our missionary programs.”
At 94-years-old, Lillian is the oldest member of the congregation at Community Church of Barrington and says she’s tickled to see how big their original cookie walk has become. With an infectious laugh and dressed in full holiday attire as she worked alongside her friends, Lillian quipped, “You’re never too old to smear frosting on a cookie”.
Around the kitchen island, we also met sisters Heather McLean and Lindsay Campe, life-long Community Church of Barrington parishoners whose mother was also a founding member of the cookie walk.
They told us the cookie-baking process begins each year when the prepare and freeze some of their cookie dough at the end of October and they say we can expect a delicious variety of freshly baked options at tomorrow’s walk.
Varieties include Andes candies mint thumb print cookies, gingerbread men, mice, cranberry coins, cream wafers, spritz cookies, gingersnaps, Hershey kiss blossoms, candy cane blossoms, peanut butter bon bons, coconut sandwich cookies and their sister Melanie’s wildly popular Mexican chocolate cookies made with cayenne pepper and dipped in chocolate.
Lindsay says another favorite is their sister’s aloha paradise cookies made with macadamia nuts, pineapple, coconut and white chocolate. “The taste is gooey, crunchy, ahhhhh, with a sugar cookie base.” We took photos of too many cookies to count today for you to take a look.
If you’d like to get your hands on any of these cookies tomorrow, here’s the secret. You should arrive early! The walk starts at 10 a.m. but the doors open at 9. Boxes cost $12 and you can fill yours with as many cookies in each variety as you’d like, while supplies last.
Heather says the best part is that the ladies at the church hope to raise between $3,000 and $4,000 during tomorrow’s cookie walk. In February, they’ll select local causes and donate all of the money they’ve raised.
“It brings me joy to be able to do this because it’s something I love to do but it’s all about giving to others.”
Lindsay says she loves how it’s a fundraiser with impact felt well beyond the church. “It’s for the womens’ fellowship to then disperse funds to so many different organizations that will benefit.”
And their friend and fellow cookie baker, Holly Rebman, says it’s become a tradition she looks forward to. “I’ve been doing this for years with my friends and to see the delight on people’s faces when they’re coming to buy the cookies, that’s a joyful thing. But being right here with my long-time friends and just being together and doing something for someone else, that’s what it’s all about.”
Past recipients of Cookie Walk donations include Gigi’s Playhouse, the Barrington Township & F.I.S.H. food pantries, Chicago Childrens Advocacy Center, Hough Elementary School Christmas Gift Baskets, Lake County PADS Crisis Services, Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs in Barrington, Women in Need Growing Stronger (WINGS) in Palatine, The Night Ministry in Chicago and humanitarian efforts in Kenya, Africa.
You’ll find the Community Church of Barrington at 407 S. Grove Avenue, you can CLICK HERE to find their Facebook page and you’ll find more information about the church on their website at CCBarrington.org.