Cookie dough refers to a blend of cookie ingredients which has been mixed into a malleable form which has not yet been hardened by heat. The dough is often then separated and the portions baked to individual cookies, or eaten as is.
Cookie dough can be homemade or bought pre-made in packs (frozen logs, buckets, etc.). Desserts containing cookie dough, such as ice cream, candy, and milkshakes are also frequently marketed. Pre-made cookie doughs are usually sold in a few different common flavors including Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter, Sugar, Snickerdoodle, and White Chocolate Macadamia. Sugar cookie dough often comes with various images on top of the cookie.
When being made at home, the recipe can consist of common ingredients, including flour, butter, white sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and eggs. Because the dough is not baked, no leavening agents, such as baking soda or baking powder are used. If cookie dough is intended to be used to bake cookies then baking soda or baking powder gets added to the dough. Chocolate chip cookie dough is a popular variation which can be made by adding chocolate chips to the mix.
Ice cream containing cookie dough was first popularized by Fabulous Phil's Gourmet Ice Cream using homemade cookie dough and Ben & Jerry's retail ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough, using cookie dough from food distributor Rhino Foods.
Because of the presence of raw egg, the consumption of uncooked cookie dough increases the possibility of contracting the foodborne illness salmonellosis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly discourages the consumption of all food products containing raw egg or raw flour because of the threat from disease-causing bacteria. In June 2009, the FDA issued a recall for Nestlé Cookie Dough for potentially dangerous amounts of E. coli. There have been more than 7,000 cases of E. coli poisoning linked to this cookie dough, but none of the cases were fatal. Cookie dough designed specifically for eating raw (such as that found in ice cream) is made without raw eggs and uses heat-treated flour to reduce the presence of microbial pathogens.
In 2010, Nestle decided to switch to heat-treated processing for all flour used in producing cookie dough.
In 2016 the FDA issued a recommendation against eating raw flour in any form, including cookie dough due to the possibility it may contain bacteria and cause illness. That year dozens of people across the United States became ill from eating raw flour that was, in this case, linked to the strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121. Although this outbreak was linked specifically to flour manufacturer General Mills, flours of any brand may contain bacteria and should not be eaten raw.
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- Mary Ann Anderson (22 March 2008). "Deceptively delicious egg cocktails". McClatchy-Tribune News Service. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- Layton, Lyndsey; Gaudio, Greg (30 June 2009). "FDA Confirms Presence of E. Coli in Nestle Cookie Dough". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- "Nestle to begin using heat-treated flour".
- Scott, Jenny (June 2016). "Raw Dough's a Raw Deal and Could Make You Sick". FDA Consumer Updates. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.