Local woman provides colorful, Christmas confections to residents

Samantha Hill

Mushroom-shaped meringues, delicate chocolates and festive sugar cookies are just a few of the treats made by one local woman in celebration of Christmas for the last ten years.

Zank said she makes a dozen styles of cookies for the occasion and nearly a thousand overall, putting them out at the Community Closet the Friday before Christmas every year, where people of all walks of life can grab as they shop.

Other styles of cookies include two different styles of shortbread, several kinds  of nut-based sweets as well as a cream-cheese turnover and molasses spice cookies.

Zank who once owned a bakery said she used to bake everyday but after several years in the businesses, she mostly hones her skills during the Christmas season.

“I got to keep my skills fresh,” she said.

She began the baking process the weekend before so she could have all of the cookies done in time to set them out Friday. Beginning with the perishables first, Zank then would bake throughout the week, finishing Thursday evening.

She said that she doesn’t really like to pick favorites on her cookies because they are all good but if she had to choose it would be the Viennese crescent butter cookies.

“I will see older guys stand next to those and eat one right after another,” Zank said.

She said that many of her cookies are Scandinavian in origin so they often remind people of a different time.

The sweets she creates are meant for everyone even for people with any dietary restrictions, she said after being a vegitarian for years.

“There are gluten-free kind and vegan kind,” Zank said. “I try to accommodate people’s problems because I have always had problems too.”

People come and go with their bag of snacks throughout Friday and she said she will sometimes have enough left over for the following day.

Zank said she is always happy to make things for the community and will continue to do it for as long as she can.

“This is like my Christmas present to the community,” she said.