Think it is safe to eat eggless cookie dough? You may want to make sure it contains heat treated flour as well.
Today marks my 2000th post! To celebrate I’ve decided to finally embark on a journey I’ve been considering for a long time – #ScienceSundays! My goal is to post something I feel passionate about in the world or science and/or information I feel is important to disseminate on the first Sunday of every month (at least). The topics may not be all lab coat-related science, but something within the many scientific realms of life and if possible including a related recipe. But since I do wear a lab coat at my day job working on Salmonella I thought that would be a good place to start, especially since today is also #NationalChocolateChipCookieDay.
Raw cookie dough. Your first thought is the raw egg  possibly contaminated with Salmonella but many of us gamble the risk and eat it anyway because it’s delicious – I am not innocent either. But with the rise of the eggless cookie dough trend came another problem: raw flour . Just like eggs and vegetables raw flour has the possibility of being contaminated with bacteria. Sure enough you have probably heard about recent recalls due to possible E. coli contamination (or noticed the new disclaimer on your flour bags). But most of the time this would not be an issue because flour is usually used in baked goods and killed in the process. Unless of course you were the unlucky soul with a bad batch and you licked the spoon, but even then most people would blame the eggs.
Since we all know none of us are going to stop licking that spoon, there is an alternative in addition to making eggless (or pasteurized egg) doughs and batters – heat treating the flour. The best option is to toast it in the oven at 350F for about 5 minutes , but this can result in a grainy texture. An alternative is to heat in the microwave  to 160 degrees F, which can be achieved after about 1 minute stirring every 15 seconds to ensure even heating of the flour. Whenever I am making something with raw flour for anyone else this is what I do because I couldn’t handle making someone sick given what I do for work. As such I have tried to find every recipe on this blog of mine where the end product contains raw flour and made a note of this. But if it’s just for me I often still take the gamble. So why give you all this information if I don’t 100% practice it in my own kitchen? Because it is still a risk and as someone who researches infectious diseases I feel the need to share. It is more of a risk if you have a compromised immune system or in high production situations where the probability of one raw egg and/or raw flour being contaminated in the mass amount in a recipe increases.
As for these cookie dough balls, I actually made them for a recent potluck at work and skewered them with bacterial culture inoculating loops to create a guise of being contaminated when in fact they were made without eggs and with heat treated flour. The desired effect was achieved but they were still devoured ;-).
Two years ago: August 2017 Stitch Fix #24
Four years ago: White Chocolate Chip Key Lime Pie Oreo Cookies
Five years ago: Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
Six years ago: Single Serving Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie
Eight years ago: Eggplant Veggie Burgers
EGGLESS HEAT TREATED COOKIE DOUGH
Makes 2 dozen dough balls
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour (heat treated*)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini or chopped semisweet chocolate chips (or mini M&Ms)
2 Tbsp melted semisweet chocolate chips, for drizzling (optional)
- Using a hand mixer, in a large bowl cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add milk and vanilla then mix in flour and salt on low speed until fully incorporated.
- Stir in chocolate chips, roll into balls, and place on parchment lined tray.
- Drizzle with chocolate if desired and refrigerate until ready to eat.
*Raw eggs are not the only possible source of bacterial contamination, raw flour is also a culprit. Heat treat by heating in microwave to 160 degrees F – about 1 minute stirring every 15 seconds.
Source: Adapted from my Cookie Dough White Chocolate Fondue.