This week, we learned about a New York company called Dough Life that’s expanding to four locations in New Jersey. Their schtick: cookie dough, you know, the chocolate chip-studded batter you’d lick off spatulas as a kid (at this chain, however, no raw eggs are used and the flour gets zapped to rid itself of harmful microbes).
We thought this was an innocuous foodstuff (it’s associated with pleasant memories, right?). But turns out we have a dissenter within our ranks. Here, now, we argue the merits of whether the inherent deliciousness of cookie dough outweighs its uncooked raw state.
Is cookie dough the paragon of dessert refinement? No. Is it medically advisable to consume raw eggs? No. Is cookie dough fucking delicious? Yes, and this “yes” trumps all contrarian arguments.
I’m not talking about spooning mound after mound of tasty saccharine dough into your gaping maw. I’m in favor of a mere lick of the beaters (after they’ve stopped running, you guys), or a nibble of an errant dough-covered chocolate chip. I’ve been licking bowls since I was tall enough to reach the counter, and I’m still alive. My Oma, who is my baking sensei, would herself sneak little samples of vanillekipferl or spritzgebach dough, always pretending it was to “taste test” the flavors. She’s still alive, too, and would probably smack you with a wooden spoon if you told her not to lick the beaters.
Eating a small spoon of cookie dough is one of the small joys of home baking. When I’m making cookies from scratch, I’m typically covered up to my neck in flour, slowly despairing at the realization that I’m going to have a small navy’s worth of dishes to wash, and oh god are the sugar cookies burning right now? A small lick of the spoon is a soothing little treat, potential salmonella be damned. If I go down eating raw cookie dough, at least I’ll have died doing what I love.
I am fully cognizant of being in the minority, but it’s a hill I will gladly die on: I’ve never understood the appeal of cookie dough.
Let’s just look at what the product actually is: flour, raw eggs, softened butter, sugar, often times with chocolate chunks embedded. As separate acts, eating fistfuls of all-purpose flour or cracking eggs into our pieholes feels unseemly. But taken in concert, it’s somehow an accepted Western cultural practice. I’m sure it tastes good, but I’ve never brought myself to the point of trying it in my 30-something years of existence. The idea of eating raw dough in this context makes me want to gag.
One would think if raw cookie dough was so beloved, other similarly sweet baked goods in its raw state would be consumed as well. But we don’t eat pre-baked apple pies, pre-angel food cake, raw doughnut or muffin batters. We don’t drink Bisquick. (And let’s not forget the risk of salmonella! Harmful microbes!)
Just this weekend, a friend of mine told me about how his wife was baking cookies, with their toddler peering over the kitchen counter. She offered their son a tiny smidge of cookie dough, and it surprised my friend how his paternal instincts kicked in so strongly. “Why are you feeding our son raw eggs and flour?!” he caught himself squealing aloud.
Again, I accept that my friend and I are exceptions, not the rule. I understand people find cookie dough delicious. But raw oysters are also delicious, and I wouldn’t be offering a half dozen to Little Skyler.