We all do it. You make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and spoon yourself a sample of the dough. Then the kids clamor for a taste. By the time the first batch of cookies comes out of the oven, everyone’s had their fill.
But is eating raw cookie dough, or even cake batter, a bad idea?
We’ve all heard about the dangers of eating raw cookie dough, but how many of us actually know someone who has gotten sick after eating it? Years ago, conventional wisdom suggested that the raw eggs in cookie dough harbored bacteria that would make you sick. Everyone seemed to worry about anything that had to do with raw eggs.
As it turns out, raw eggs are surprisingly safe. If the eggs are properly handled and stored, chances are they won’t make you sick, even if consumed raw. The danger of salmonella poisoning is negligible.
The danger, instead, comes from raw flour. Dry flour, as it sits in your kitchen cabinet, can harbor harmful bacteria, including E. coli. Research by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed the dangers present in flour. Both organizations have investigated illnesses across the country that have been traced to raw flour.
What makes flour problematic? The flour you buy in the supermarket is minimally treated from the moment the grain is harvested to the moment you add it to your favorite cookie recipe. Bacteria in the wheat field can travel all the way to your home.
The FDA recommends you avoid eating raw dough or batter and use proper kitchen hygiene — wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before and after contact with raw flour. Wait until the cookies are fully baked and cooled before enjoying their amazingness.
If you or your kids really love cookie dough — never fear! There are many recipes available online for flourless (as well as eggless) cookie dough. These recipes are great for anyone with food allergies and anyone who loves to indulge in raw cookie dough but doesn’t want the risk. Check them out!