Some foods are best eaten raw. The briny clarity of oysters, I’d argue, is lost through cooking. Give me a crunchy carrot stick or a rare-as-possible steak and I’m happy. When I tuck into a plateful of beef tartare topped with a raw quail’s egg I imagine I project boldness and a maturity of palate. My habit of eating raw cookie dough, however, is not particularly sophisticated—nor is it generally considered to be the best use of cookie dough. And yet, stealing spoonfuls of sweet batter is a guilty pleasure, and a practise I’ve indulged in so consistently since childhood I now secretly believe its purported health risks to be an urban legend. But there’s a difference between scraping a few good fingerfuls from the beater and tucking into a bowl of the stuff with a spoon—right? The former is a treat because of its scarcity, the latter seems like a dubious excess.
And yet, raw cookie dough—intended to be eaten on its own, heaped in scoops like ice cream in a bowl—is the hottest thing since unicorn Frappucinos. One of 2017’s most talked-about contributions to food culture, the ready-to-eat cookie dough trend was born in Manhattan early this year when Dō, a shop selling scoops of multi-flavoured batters made with heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs, opened to two-hour-long lineups of Instagram-happy Millennials. Similar scoops of dough quickly became available across the States and in Toronto, the latter thanks to Junked Food Co., a restaurant that also serves white chocolate- and Dorito-accented mac and cheese and is clearly targeted at the actively stoned.
The ready-to-eat cookie dough food trend could be not a passing fad, but a sweet way to indulge in nostalgia.
I wanted to be excited that cookie dough was having a cultural moment, but somehow the context in which the treat predominantly seemed to be available put me off. Excessively loaded waffle cones of birthday cake-flavoured cookie dough proffered in front iPhone cameras—the thought alone conjures a stomach ache. Why has society taken such a surreptitious joy and made it a monstrosity? In any case, I could avoid my conflicted feelings about the phenomenon when it hadn’t yet reached my hometown (Vancouver).
Until it did, this month, when Well Seasoned—a charming gourmet food store in the neighbouring city of Langley—sent word they were introducing homemade raw cookie dough, preservative-free, packed in small plastic clamshells, to their offerings. Four flavours (sugar cookie, chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate chip cranberry) seemed honest—not like double rainbow icing swirl or whatever godforsaken thing kids are eating for the clicks these days. I tried it, and confirmed my fear that it was super delicious. Made with everything you’d find in real cookie dough, the flavour is spot on (unlike that of the nubs of material you find in chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream)—though the absence of raw eggs and leaveners means the dough cannot be baked. A couple spoonfuls was satisfying—I can’t imagine eating a whole bowl of it without invoking major regret, but to have in the fridge for the odd craving, it hits the spot (especially the brownie-like chocolate peanut butter). The take: tread lightly, and the ready-to-eat cookie dough food trend could be not a passing fad, but a sweet way to indulge in nostalgia.
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