Tradition! Tradition! Cookie Walk returns to Highlands Methodist Church

Tradition! Tradition! Cookie Walk returns to Highlands Methodist Church

The ladies of the Highlands United Methodist Church in Bella Vista didn’t quite break into a chorus of “Tradition! Tradition!” — well, maybe just a tiny one — at a gathering Monday to talk about the 32nd annual Cookie Walk. But they all agreed that this year, more than ever, the event isn’t just about Christmas crafts and sweet treats.

Crafts for Christmas giving this year include candy bars packaged with a pair of gloves. (The Free Weekly/Becca Martin-Brown)

“It seems like a year to really reflect on Christmases past,” says Lori Pinkerton. “I find that I’m really aching to put up a tree and decorations this year. I think people are hungry for those traditions.”

“People want a reason to make cookies,” agrees Nancy Johnson. “Sometimes even people who don’t go to this church want to get involved.”

“We’ve even had people come in matching shirts, like they wear at the crafts fairs,” adds Jean Galloway. “It’s a tradition — something they do every year.”

Of course, the Cookie Walk didn’t happen in 2020 due to covid-19 concerns, so the organizers were a little concerned about bringing it back at the level of its former glory. They needn’t have been. As of Nov. 15, they had 33 people committed to make cookies — and each person commits to make 20 dozen. In case you don’t have a calculator handy, that’s more than 7,000 individual cookies already promised, and the total usually reaches 10,000.

For $12, shoppers can walk the cookie walk — around a U-shape of tables — and select as many cookies as will fit in a 1.5 pound plastic coffee container. Each container is wrapped in holiday fabric, and the consensus is that most people will get about 2 dozen cookies.

“Unless they really smash them in, then they get one giant cookie,” jokes Sue LaHood, chairwoman of the Cookie Walk, adding seriously that smart shoppers separate them when they get home anyway. “And put the iced ones on top.”

Gift baskets are also available for purchase at the Cookie Walk. (The Free Weekly/Becca Martin-Brown)

Cookies range from traditional chocolate chip, sugar cookies and snickerdoodles to decorated gingerbread men and “heritage” cookies that are made from grandma’s or mom’s family recipe. One of the most popular of those is Connie Kiefer’s Spritz Cookies, for which the recipe is included here.

Cookies, however, are just part of the event, which actually has five components — the Cookie Walk; the Sweet Shop, where visitors can purchase homemade fudge, peanut brittle and other candies, already packaged; Soups To Go, where 5 cup containers of homemade soup are sold; a Coffee Shop offering cinnamon rolls, coffee, tea and hot chocolate; and the crafts area, which offers handmade holiday crafts like the bowl-shaped pot holders for microwaved dishes, wooden signs and crocheted and knitted items, along with wreaths, decorated Christmas trees and gift baskets.

Doors open at 8 a.m. Dec. 4, and visitors will be assigned numbers and admitted to the Cookie Walk portion of the event 10 at a time. The organizers say don’t dawdle; the event closes at 11 a.m., but cookies and soup are usually sold out before that.

Funds raised by the event stay in Northwest Arkansas and are donated to charities like Bright Futures and Samaritan’s Feet that serve women and children.



Cookie Walk

WHEN — Doors open at 8 a.m.; cookie walk, 8:30-11 a.m. Dec. 4

WHERE — Highlands United Methodist Church, 371 Glasgow Road in Bella Vista

COST — Cookies are $12 per container; other items priced individually

INFO — or email



Connie Kiefer’s

Spritz Cookies

1 cup butter

1 egg

21/3 cups flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. almond flavoring

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar together, then add egg and almond flavoring.

Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.

Mix well. Pack dough into cookie press, and press into desired shape on an ungreased cookie sheet.

If desired, sprinkle with colored sugar crystals.

Bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Makes approximately 6 dozen.

Categories: Family Friendly