New bakery in Ontario aims to perfect the art of cookie baking

Chelsea Skeen stands with daughter Camreigh as they inspect the cookies inside the case ahead of opening day. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

ONTARIO – Chelsea Skeen grew up baking cookies on her grandmother’s countertop. Now Skeen is starting a business venture that she knows would put her late grandmother over the moon.

Sugar Momma, a bakery that exclusively sells cookies, opened Saturday at 361 S.W. 12th St. in Ontario.

“It’s always been my dream,” said Skeen. “And now it’s a reality.”

The Friday before her big opening, with her 14-month-old daughter Camreigh riding her hip, Skeen said she was baking away to prepare for opening day.

But by noon she could barely keep up. Customers who heard about the shop had been knocking on the glass door since the morning and emptying the cases of her freshly baked goods.

The day before her official opening, she had already figured she’d spend the rest of the day, and into the night, baking to refill the cases.

“That’s what it takes,” she said.

The cookies come in two different sizes – one about the size of Camreigh’s head, and a smaller version.

On Skeen’s menu are mainstays – chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies – along with other flavors such as maple sugar and molasses. She plans to switch out cookie flavors once a month.

Seasonal flavors right now include a hot cocoa cookie which she described as chocolatey, fudgy, ooey-gooey-goodness topped with marshmallows and holiday sprinkles.


She’ll consider adding other types of sweets to her menu down the line, but for now, she said the cookies are keeping her “plenty busy.”

One giant cookie sells for $3, four cookies for $10 and so on. A dozen small cookies cost $10.

Skeen, who was born and raised in Ontario, caught the baking bug from her grandmother, who died from cancer eight years ago, and later from a culinary teacher at Ontario High School.

Skeen graduated from Cascade Culinary Institute in Bend in 2009. She later spent four years baking sweets for Jolts and Juice in downtown Ontario.

She took a break from baking, but decided to return.

“I wanted to create a fun space for people to come in with their kids, and have a good cookie,” Skeen said, watching as her own daughter wobbled around the room.

The shop has Wifi and several tables in a spacious seating area. Skeen will also sell coffee from Jolts and Juice, milk and hot cocoa.

Skeen said her entire family has pitched in to help with the opening. She worked with her father to remodel the space, revealing hardwood floors and adding cookie-themed touches to the walls.

When her daughter was born, Skeen called her “Sugar.” Camreigh’s dad called the infant “Momma.” Thus, the shop’s name was born.

Skeen plans to open the shop Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9 to 5. But since it’s the holiday season, Skeen’s schedule is still flexible.

Skeen is urging customers to share photos on social media of the cookies they buy at her shop with the hashtag #heysugarmomma.

Have a news tip? Reporter Yadira Lopez: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

Check out more business news in Malheur County:

Border board readies 10 efforts to help fix properties, attract workers

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