Free cookies are commonly plied at various community lectures and meetings.
The cookies at a Monday book party in Ashland won’t be merely homemade. Their savory ingredients — roasted jalapeno, chili flakes, Parmesan and Brie — will push the baking genre’s boundaries.
“I wanted people to think about cookies differently,” says Kelly Cooper. “Why not take great flavors and put them in a cookie?”
That’s the theme of Cooper’s book, “Cookies for Grown-Ups,” available for $23.99 at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, signed by the author at her 7 p.m. cookie-cum-cocktail party. The event also is a homecoming of sorts for Cooper, who lives in San Jose, Calif., but has been visiting relatives in the Rogue Valley since the 1970s. Cooper, 55, plans to share tips not only for baking and presenting cookies but also developing recipes and even writing a cookbook.
Billed as a book for cooks who don’t consider themselves bakers, “Cookies for Grown-Ups” is Cooper’s first title, published in December and also available on Amazon. The community-college instructor of technology says she spent a couple of years devising 94 recipes — all originals — for publication. The prevalence of foods that were either too sweet or simply bland inspired her to combine bold flavors in a single bite. Cookies constituted the perfect vehicle.
“People love the cookies,” she says.
Promising to enliven upcoming holiday cookie parties with their novelty, her recipes are nevertheless down-to-earth, says Cooper. None of the ingredients will cost more than $6, and all are available at mainstream grocers, she says.
As an ode to the Rogue Valley, Cooper plans to offer a fresh pear cookie with candied ginger and walnuts for sampling at Monday’s event. She also will prepare the following cookie, ideal for football-season snacking, says Cooper, preferably with an amber ale.
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups dry-roasted, salted peanuts
2 tablespoons dried chili flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons coarse salt
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes. Mix in the egg, vanilla and cilantro. Beat until well-blended.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, peanuts, chili flakes, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Scoop or drop dough by 1-teaspoon portions, 1 inch apart, onto a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheets. Sprinkle each ball of dough with a pinch of coarse salt. Bake in preheated oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until bottoms are golden-brown. Let sit for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
Makes about 4 dozen.