Cooking and baking has become a popular pastime for many during the pandemic. If you have been baking up a storm, then you may have tasted more raw dough than you would otherwise. After all, who can resist licking the bowl? Licking the batter bowl for your favorite cake or cookie recipe can be a sweet experience that can take us back to our childhood and provide great comfort. It might seem like a rather harmless and delicious thing to do, but did you know this baking ritual can pose serious health risks?
Dangers of conventional raw cookie dough
Sadly, the presence of raw egg and raw flour in uncooked dough can increase the risk of contracting a dangerous foodborne illness such as Salmonella or E. coli. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly discourages people from consuming food products that contain these ingredients.
E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria typically live inside the intestines of healthy people and animals. This is essentially where the bacteria comes from. Most varieties of this bacteria are harmless. Unfortunately, though, there have been some dangerous strains, such as the O157:H7 strain (as in the 2017 and 2018 cases of contaminated romaine lettuce), which can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. You can be exposed to this E. coli strain by consuming contaminated water or food — especially raw vegetables and undercooked ground meat. Healthy adults will usually recover from the infection within a week. Older adults, young children, and individuals with a weakened immune system have a greater risk of developing kidney failure (hemolytic uremic syndrome), which can be life-threatening.
Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of animals and humans, and are expelled through the feces. Any type of contact this bacteria makes with food or water can cause you to become ill. Salmonella infection is often classified as stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis. People can become infected with salmonella by drinking contaminated water or by consuming foods that are raw, undercooked, or have been contaminated with the bacteria — especially meat, eggs, and poultry. Meat is not the only culprit — the FDA warns you can contract the illness even from contaminated raw produce.
Several well-known food manufacturers have had their cookie dough batters recalled in recent years because of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to raw dough consumption. As a result, these and other companies have made a switch to heat-treated processed flour for their cookie dough products. Unfortunately, we are still advised not to consume raw cookie dough as the risk of foodborne illness has not been completely eliminated.
Now that you know the dangers of raw dough, must you kill your cravings and give up the scent, taste, and texture of this treat altogether? Thankfully, the answer is an enthusiastic “no” with a cherry on top! To safely enjoy edible raw cookie or cake dough, you can either purchase it or make it yourself. Of course, you will need to avoid any products or recipes that contain raw eggs and/or raw flour.
A trendy treat
There are a number of brands offering raw cookie and cake dough in different flavors. Sadly, the number of gluten-free versions are limited. Sweet Loren’s is one brand that does cater to the gluten-free crowd. Their new edible raw cookie dough comes in 3.6-ounce mini cups (with a portable mini spoon in each) and the dough is extra creamy, smooth, and “scoopable.” The dough is also non-GMO certified, vegan and free of nuts, eggs, and dairy. All of their gluten-free flours are naturally heat-treated and made with gluten-free oat flour. Flavors include birthday cake, chocolate chunk, and double chocolate brownie. These raw cookie dough cups could be the stuff dreams are made of: the experience of licking raw brownie batter off the spoon, sneaking bites of raw chocolate chunk dough, and devouring spoonfuls of cake batter — safely.
Do you want to make your own edible raw cookie dough when cravings call? Try this delicious gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free edible dough for one that you can whip up in under five minutes.
A lifelong celiac, Lisa Cantkier is an educator, coach and writer specializing in nutrition and health. She is the coauthor of the celiac- and diabetes-friendly cookbook, The Paleo Diabetes Diet Solution. Follow her on social media at @LisaCantkier and contact her by email at [email protected].
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (works with other oils too)
- 1 tablespoon almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
- Pinch of salt
1. Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a medium bowl.
2. Stir in chocolate chips and mix well until you form a ball of dough.
3. Store dough in refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.