Taste February 1, 2024

Cookie Love

The Valley's Local Cookie Craze

Keith and Paula Perry never dreamed that their chocolate chip cookies would become so popular that there would be a run on them as they were about to close Perry’s Restaurant last summer.

“We had customers ask for 10 dozen, even 15 dozen,” recounts Keith Perry. “Finally, we had to put a limit on orders. But, even then, the Vamps Nordic skiers volunteered to scoop cookie dough, because so many people wanted them.”

The Perrys simply wanted a cookie to go along with the 27 lunches a day they figured they needed to sell to break even when they opened Perry’s Restaurant 37 years earlier. They settled on a cookie recipe that Paula’s college roommate baked when they were cramming for finals.

“We had to bake them right away because, otherwise, they tasted so good we’d just eat the dough,” says Paula.

The Perrys added their own twist to the recipe, scooping balls of cookie dough with a small No. 30 ice cream scooper. They froze the balls before baking them, so the cookies came out igloo-shaped.

The original cookies cost just a quarter and were an instant hit with schoolchildren who put them on their parents’ house accounts while they did their homework at Perry’s. Perry’s soon supplied cookies for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s rehearsals, Silver Creek Outfitters’ fishing trip lunches, the Sun Valley Writers Conferences, Baldy Hill Climb, Boulder Mountain Tour, Empty Bowls and hundreds of weddings.

Schoolkids loved watching them mix the dough in a 60-quart mixer that Paula quips was big enough to put a German shepherd in.

“We’d take them in the 8-by-16-foot walk-in freezer and have them guess how many cookie balls there were. Usually, there were 2,500. We’d have six employees scooping dough at a time with the goal being 150 cookies in 20 minutes,” Keith says.

With cookie sales nearing a thousand a day, the Perrys added a butterscotch cookie, a triple chocolate chip cookie, a key lime cookie with white chocolate chips and a sunshine oatmeal cookie that included whole oranges, including the rind.

“I wanted an oatmeal cookie but didn’t want a plain old oatmeal raisin cookie. So, I experimented,” says Paula.

Perry’s cookie recipe is now in the hands of Toni’s Ice Cream, which makes take-and-bake cookies for Atkinsons’ Markets, in Ketchum and Hailey, and the Village Market.

“Our family went to Perry’s for 30 years—my daughter grew up on Perry’s cookies,” says Toni Bogue. “They were such a part of local culture, such a part of daily life, it was sad to see them go. With the take-and-bake, you can take one or two out and bake it. And a lot of the kids like to eat the cookie dough, so you don’t even have to bake them. It’s safe because it’s all pasteurized.”

Other Cookies with a Sun Valley Touch

• Lyndee’s Bakery has stocked local grocers with cookies for a couple decades. Check out the Blizzard, an oatmeal raisin cookie, or the Cowgirls, an oatmeal cookie with peanut butter chips.

• Bigwood Bread Café offers cookies in the café, and its bakery provides take-and-bake and ready-made oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies in local grocers.

• Cookbook Restaurant offers take-and-bake ginger molasses, oatmeal chocolate chip, salted chocolate chip and mocha toffee chip cookies in stores.

• Black Owl offers gluten-free options for cookies and baked goods, as well as a chocolate chip cookie that is rich, thick and decadent—it is large enough that we challenge any cookie lover to try to get through it in one sitting!

• Baldy Biscuit Company ensures that not even your four-legged companion will be left out when it comes to cookies.

• Hank & Sylvie’s coffee shops in Hailey and Ketchum offer an array of unusual cookies, including Brown Butter Chocolate Chip, Malted Vanilla Bean, Coconut Macaroons and Sprinkle Meringue.

• Café Della serves the Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookie, one of the best in town, with a goey chocolate center and enough chewy goodness to almost make you think you are eating healthy, and the triple chocolate cookies are as decadent as they come.

• Java Coffee and Café has an array of cookies ranging from the ginger-forward ginger snap, a mouthwatering peanut butter cookie or the ever-popular chocolate chip. Don’t miss their infamous Kitchen Sink cookie.

• Skiers and boarders do the 50-yard dash when the bell rings at Warm Springs Lodge to signal a batch of warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies has just come out of the oven. The Konditorei offers flavors such as pumpkin snickerdoodle, the cookie monster and birthday cake. “Cookies are just a very comforting dessert,” says Stephanie Venegas.

• Calle and Maeme, the twin creative genius behind Rasberrys Food Reverence in Ketchum, offer a collection of cookies that include dark chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, ginger molasses, and other unique creations made from scratch and baked fresh daily.

This article appears in the Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.