Tuesday, September 1, 2009

- Cookie Dough Conundrum

E. coli outbreaks have become a staple on the evening news, but the one that emerged this summer was worthy of Sherlock Holmes. A cluster of young women, not normally associated with E. coli outbreaks, led the Centers for Disease Control to look for an unorthodox culprit. And they found it: cookie dough. More precisely, pre-made cookie dough from our friends at Nestle (makers of the only semi-sweet chocolate morsels I ever put in my chocolate chip cookies).

Now I’ve been paranoid about salmonella in eggs for years, which is why I use Better'n Eggs, a pasteurized egg product that lets me bake my cake and eat dough, too (we’re not talking calories here, just food poisoning). I’m not sure  eggs were the culprit in this particular E. coli outbreak, but this I truly believe: if you make your own cookie dough, you’re less likely to get food poisoning ... especially if you eat it right away.

There is one problem, of course. My chocolate chip cookie recipe makes enough dough for 6-8 dozen cookies, which is a bit excessive, even for me. That’s why I mastered the art of the cookie dough snack batch. I never did tell my mom, but I started making my own mini-batches of dough when I was a teenager, taught it to my own kids, and just now noshed the latest batch. Which I made purely for the purpose of testing the recipe on your behalf. Selfless I am.

Snack Batch Cookie Dough
Note: I don’t use measuring spoons … just teaspoons and tablespoons from the silverware drawer

1 heaping tablespoon of Land O Lakes butter with canola oil (or whatever shortening you’ve got)
2 heaping tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon of white sugar
1 teaspoon of Better'n Eggs (you’ve got to keep this stuff on hand at all times)
A few drops of vanilla
2 heaping tablespoons of flour
A pinch of kosher salt
A pinch of baking soda (don’t leave this out, it adds flavor)
2 tablespoons of chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate … improvise)

Mash the butter and sugar together in a cereal bowl. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the chips. No oven to pre-heat, no baking sheet to grease. Just enjoy.

P.S. When Meg was going to JMU, her roommate was one of those rare people who doesn't particularly care for chocolate chips ... but she loved the cookies.  So Kate, if you're reading this, just leave out the chocolate.  Bon appetit!

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