We’re walking in a cookie wonderland.

St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church will host its annual Cookie Walk on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 140 Church St., Old Forge.

For one of the church’s largest fundraisers of the year, parishioners will make dozens of kinds of cookies, from staples such as chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin to pepper cookies, almond crescents, fruit cakes and more. Then, guests will walk around tables filled with treats and load them into takeout containers.

“Sometimes they’re taking pounds and pounds,” fundraising committee member Betty Gatto said.

There are tons of favorites at the event, but Linda Mokay’s Rum Balls are a showstopper every year. Mokay’s recipe also earned the church a $50 gift card from Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore, through Local Flavor Gives Back.

Mokay got the recipe from her late mother, Regina. Her mother and aunt were always baking something, and Mokay has been whipping up treats for as long as she can remember.

“Especially around this time of year, I’m always baking,” she said.
The simple recipe is perfect for a party or in a pinch since the Rum Balls don’t require any baking. Mokay advised home cooks to pop them in the refrigerator, freezer or any cool place for at least a few hours. The longer they sit in the cold, however, the better.

“That really lets the flavors come out,” she said, adding they should be stored in an air-tight container, too.

The Rum Balls felt chewy and soft with hints of crunch thanks to the chopped walnuts. The slight heat from the rum made for the most delectable taste when mixed with the powdered sugar.

In addition to the Cookie Walk, the church holds an annual flea market, a ham bingo and monthly raffles to raise money. The Cookie Walk is a hit, though, and committee members expect hundreds of guests to pass through the doors that day.

The event is a lot of work, committee member Maria Calogero said, and dozens of parishioners take part in baking, getting everything ready weeks in advance to prepare for the mass amount of orders. It’s a lot fun, too, she said, since everyone bands together to do the work.

“Everyone’s together and baking and getting things ready. It’s the community aspect of it we love so much,” Calogero said. “From the baking and organizing to even the people that come in, it’s nice to all be together during Christmas.”

Linda Mokay’s Rum Balls

Yield: 5 dozen

3 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup rum

Use a mini chopper or food processor to crush vanilla wafers.
In a large bowl, stir together crushed wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa and nuts.
Stir together corn syrup and rum until corn syrup dissolves.
Mix together dry and wet ingredients. Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in additional powdered sugar. Store in airtight container for at least a few hours to several days to develop flavor. Roll again in powdered sugar before serving.



If you go
What: Annual Cookie Walk
When: Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church, 320 Vine St., Old Forge
Details: Cookies cost $9 per pound.