The 2 Ingredients Valerie Bertinelli Puts In Her Cookies For A Savory Spin - Exclusive

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In her new cookbook, "Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share," Valerie Bertinelli shares personal family recipes. The Emmy Award winner's book features meals inspired by her son Wolfgang Van Halen's love of egg bites, her former mother-in-law's Indonesian cooking style, and a special eggs Benedict dish dedicated to her ex-husband Eddie Van Halen. Bertinelli also includes treats like her unique spin on cookies, which get a savory twist from the inclusion of thyme and Gruyère.

In an exclusive interview, the actress told MegaMenu she was inspired to create a cross between a cookie and a cracker to create a shortbread-like cookie that is savory instead of sweet, which she recommends serving as an appetizer or snack. Bertinell loves the taste of Gruyère and thyme, so she wanted to incorporate their unique flavors into a baked good. This cheese and herb combination is fairly common in French and Swiss cooking, and it's popular for a reason — the flavors go perfectly together. 

Although the cookies take some time to make, they're worth it. "When you make enough, you can have them in the house for a while, and I think it's something special," Bertinelli revealed. "I've made them for book groups and different occasions. I think it's always fun to say, 'Yeah, I made these.' There's always a little bit of inside joy that I feel when I've made something with love and I get to share it with people."

Gruyère and thyme: a classic combination

Gruyère is a cow's milk cheese, traditionally hailing from Gruyère, Switzerland, though it is also produced in eastern France. It's aged for three to six months, giving it a complex flavor profile with a mild, slightly sweet, nutty taste. Gruyère is a good melting cheese and, when added to dishes, it adds a pleasant creamy texture, making it ideal for fondues and dips. In Valerie Bertinelli's cheesy cookies, Gruyère imparts a subtle flavor that is enhanced by thyme, which adds the perfect blend of mildly herbaceous earthy tones.

The cookies are very versatile. "You can pair them with fig jam or you can lay them on a charcuterie board," she explained, saying that they're like chips. "I also like them as vehicles for different dips. I mean, you can dip them in almost anything."

When attempting to build the perfect charcuterie board, Bertinelli recommends in her cookbook that you include a mixture of cheese textures ranging from hard to soft. She also suggests adding extras like fresh fruits, nuts, pickled vegetables, spreads, or jams — and, of course, some flaky, savory thyme and Gruyère cookies. So, the next time you're throwing a lunch or dinner party, if you serve this Bertinelli-approved snack, your guests will thank you.

Valerie Bertinelli's new cookbook, "Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share," is available for purchase on Amazon.