Parishioners Mary Haynes (left) and Jude Lamb partner up each year to bake and decorate gingerbread cookies for the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Ellsworth’s Cookie Walk. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

Congregants baking up a storm for cookie walk Saturday

ELLSWORTH — It isn’t Christmas — or Hanukkah, for that matter — without cookies.

To that end, the creative souls at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth have been mixing, baking and decorating dozens and dozens of cookies in anticipation of the annual cookie walk from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 15.

“Fifty members of our congregation agree to bake at least three dozen cookies and have them at church on Friday at 5,” said the Rev. Sara Hayman.

“Worker elves” on Saturday before the cookie walk will arrange all the cookies on long tables.

Decorations make everything more festive. Haynes found sprinkles shaped like candy canes, Christmas trees and colored-lights at Walmart in Ellsworth.

All those cookies, approximately 2,000, will be available for purchase. The church’s cookie walk is in its fourth year.

“The invitation is broad for holiday cookies of all stripes,” Hayman said. The congregation is such that members might celebrate Christmas or the winter solstice or Hanukkah, she said.

That’s the case for parishioner Mary Haynes of Ellsworth, who has teamed up with another congregant, Jude Lamb, the past three years to make gingerbread men.

Jude was born into a Universalist congregation in the western Maine town of West Paris.

In Haynes’ case, she converted to Judaism after marrying the late state Rep. Edward Povich, who owned and operated Mike’s Country Store on Water Street.

After Povich died, Haynes tried to keep going to the synagogue Congregation Beth El in Bangor, but it was sad.

“That was something he and I did together,” she said.

Haynes said she knew she needed a religious community. “And I thought, well, the Unitarians take everybody.”

Haynes and Lamb know each other through church.

“I said I don’t mind baking but I don’t like decorating,” Haynes said.

Lamb added, “I said I could care less about making cookies, but I like to decorate.”

“We said ‘let’s get together,’” the pair chimed in unison.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Lamb added.

Haynes mixes, rolls and cuts out the gingerbread dough and bakes the cookies.

Once the cookies are baked, Lamb comes over and the two set to work using royal icing that Haynes has made and an assortment of sprinkles procured from Walmart.

The women are happy to help the church. They advise anyone interested in buying a box of cookies to show up early. Last year, the church ran out of cookies a good 30 minutes before closing time.

“I’m really happy to do this with Mary,” Lamb said. “I used to bake gingerbread men with my kids. They’re all in Maine but they’re too far apart and too busy to do that now.”

These gingerbread people are among 50 different cookies that will be on sale from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dc. 15, at the Ellsworth Unitarian-Universalist Church located at 121 Bucksport Road in Ellsworth.

The women noted the abundance of children in their church’s congregation.

“We have a lot of children,” Lamb said. “It’s a vibrant and growing community in contrast to a lot of the mainstream churches in town.”

“We wanted to celebrate the holiday season in a fun way and also have a community building way to raise money for the church and the causes we support,” Hayman said. “The cookie box sales will support the church’s operating budget as well as the community organizations the church supports, including Loaves & Fishes food pantry and the Emmaus Homeless Shelter.

“We really rely on the friends and members of the congregation to do the baking.”

Hayman said her church was inspired by Brooksville’s Reversing Falls Sanctuary, which has hosted an annual cookie walk for several years.

How does a cookie walk work?

Participants may purchase small or large empty boxes. A small box is $10 and a large box is $20.

“They put on a glove and they can walk around and put cookies in a box,” she said. “We wrap the boxes and put on a sticker.”

Maybe the boxes of cookies are given away as gifts or maybe they’re eaten in the car on the way home.

This year, there will also be truffles, including Nutella-flavored ones courtesy of Haynes.

The church is located at 121 Bucksport Road in Ellsworth. For more information, call 667-4393 or email [email protected].

Mary Haynes’ Gingerbread Cookies
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
3 dozen
3 dozen
Mary Haynes’ Gingerbread Cookies
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
3 dozen
3 dozen
  • cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsps. cinnamon
  • 2 tsps. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¾ cup butter 1½ sticks
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
Servings: dozen
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cloves. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until fluffy.
  3. Turn mixer to medium-low. Drizzle in molasses, mix well, scraping bowl halfway through. Add the egg and beat the mixture until well incorporated. Lower the mixer speed to low. Slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  4. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Place one ball of dough on a piece of parchment on a large work surface.
  7. Put another piece of parchment, plastic wrap or waxed paper on top of the dough to prevent it from sticking to the surface while you’re rolling it out. Roll dough ¼ inch thick for chewy cookies or 1/8 inch thick for crispy cookies. Remove the top sheet.
  8. If you don’t use parchment paper, sprinkle a bit of flour on the work surface and rolling pin to prevent sticking.
  9. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter, cutting as close to each shape as possible. Transfer the parchment paper with the cutouts to an ungreased baking sheet and remove the dough scraps between the cookies.
  10. If you haven’t used parchment paper, use a spatula to transfer the cutouts to an ungreased baking sheet, being careful not to alter the cookies’ shape.
  11. Bake 8 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees F or until cookies are slightly brown around the edges or until they feel firm.
  12. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
  13. Decorate cookies with royal icing and small candies (“glued” with royal icing) as desired.
  14. Store decorated cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to a week.
Share this Recipe
Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.