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 may be sold in different flavors.
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.
Because of the presence of raw egg, the consumption of uncooked cookie dough increases the possibility of contracting foodborne illness. 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 such as Salmonella and E. coli.
There have been a number of outbreaks related to consumption of cookie dough and pathogens in flour. For example, raw flour was found to be the culprit in a June 2009 E. coli outbreak involving Nestlé Toll House prepackaged cookie dough, which was recalled; more than 7,000 people fell ill as a result, although none died. In 2010, Nestle decided to switch to heat-treated processing for all flour used in producing cookie dough. In 2016, General Mills recalled flour and cake mixes because of E. coli found in the raw flour. In 2015, there was a recall of certain Blue Bell Ice Cream products due to Listeria monocytogenes found in the facility that produces cookie dough for the ice cream's chocolate chip cookie dough and other cookie dough containing flavors.
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.
Edible cookie dough, egg-free and made with specially treated flour, became a dessert trend and led to the creation of several businesses. Some sweet shops sell multiple desserts with cookie dough as only one option, and others solely create and sell dough.
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- Media related to Cookie dough at Wikimedia Commons