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After a computer glitch dumped my emails and our weatherman’s hot ideas, I’ve finally baked Ami Silber’s delicious cookies.

And these, my friends, are winners.

Right off the bat I was intrigued. A trio of favorite ingredients got my attention. Butter, vanilla and oatmeal. Whoopie! This recipe is loaded with all three.

Also piquing my attention is the recipe’s source.

A regular customer at The Book Loft, Ami's connection is dual. She’s an avid reader and a popular author. Writing as Zoe Archer and Eva Leigh, her Zoe/Eva works are historical romances set during the Regency period, with strong feminist themes.

Husband Zack writes romance novels for the digital audience as Nico Rosso and is the son of another Book Loft favorite, longtime Valley resident and retired screenwriter Jerry DiPego. Choosing themes with a sci-fi feel, Zack/Nico tackles intergalactic and apocalyptic battles.

Ami and Zack first met while at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“A mutual friend reintroduced us about three years later and we started dating,” Ami said. The couple continued to see each other even after she left California to get her MFA at the University of Iowa, then got serious after she returned to California.

“We were married at City Hall,” she added, “with one witness.”

I can see it now. They must have eloped and were romantically, although quietly, married.

Were they from warring families? Did their union throw dynasties in turmoil? Is their romance fodder for a captivating tale? As you can see, it doesn’t take much to set off my imagination.

Ami said they read and critique each other's work, adding that he helps with her plots. They have collaborated on a steampunk series, writing alternating titles.

“I wrote one book,” she explained. “Zack wrote the next and so forth, until we had a series of five titles called ‘The Ether Chronicles.’ The series is an Avon Impulse publication.”

In the two years since the couple moved to the Valley, we have been on the receiving end of her baking as well as her writing prowess.

Ami says theirs is a household that loves writing, romance and food. As a home baker she’s proficient, and we, the staff of the Solvang Coffee Co. and The Book Loft, are beneficiaries. She often brings in goodies. We appreciate her and I’m grateful that she shared her tasty recipe with me.

“Baking is a good way to be creative in a more tangible way,” she explained. “You write all day and have only your computer to show for it. But baking is a physical process that requires both precision and creativity. When you’re done, you have something delicious to share with friends and family.”

Helped by grandson Toby, we baked, then taste-tested on sister Tabby and mom Wendy. Results? Three enthusiastic thumbs up.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

2 c. packed dark brown sugar

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened

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2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/2 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3 c. old-fashioned oats

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of an electric or hand mixer, cream brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl after each. Mix flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in two to three batches, until just combined. Mix in oats and chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, drop portions of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle a few grains of coarse sea salt on each and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Longtime Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at thewoodenspoon@juno.com.

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