With all the Christmas cookie baking I’ve done so far this month, I estimate I’ve eaten about 900 calories in raw cookie dough. Yup, that’s right, raw cookie dough, homemade with raw eggs. Don’t you tssk at me. I know I’m not alone in this FDA-forbidden activity! We all do it! Why? Because raw cookie dough is so. freaking. good. It’s sweet, soft, creamy, buttery deliciousness. There’s just no resisting it. I’ve been consuming raw cookie dough since the days when I had to stand on a stool to mix the batter, and never have I had even the slightest gastrointestinal upset as a result. So really, what is all the hype about Salmonella [rolls eyes]? I decided to give it a good google. Now, I know, I know, I’m a registered nurse, I should know better than to be trolling the internet for medical information. But, it’s the wee hours of Friday morning and I’m wide awake, bored, and suffering from yet another case of my nightshift induced insomnia.
Now, if you don’t already know, Salmonella is a bacteria found in tainted poultry and eggs. Basically, the bacteria lives in the feces of chicken and during the processing of the animal, can contaminate its meat and eggs that we as consumers buy and eat. Heated to 165 degrees, Salmonella is killed and becomes harmless, but if eaten raw it can cause diarrhea, fever, or worst case scenario, infection. What I ended up finding though, is that the chance of becoming ill from ingesting Salmonella contaminated food is very very low. So low that we should all indulge in raw-cookie-dough-eating without worry. Here me out….
1. According to the FDA it’s only about 1 in 40,000 eggs that are contaminated with traces of Salmonella. So think about your chances. Say you consume 40,000 eggs in your lifetime- that’s 1 egg per day for 109.5 years. The majority of these 40,000 eggs you will eat cooked, in things like quiche, deviled eggs, and banana cream pie. A very very small fraction of these eggs you will use to bake cookies with. Now say, by complete chance, your once in a lifetime contaminated egg just so happens to be the egg you use in cookie dough. In this case, we must consider that 1 in 40,000 of those eggs contains a TRACE amount of bacteria. It doesn’t mean that 1 in 40,000 eggs is poisonous and will kill you immediately upon consumption. Most of these traces are small enough in quantity that they are too insignificant to cause any harm even if consumed raw. Plus, that trace amount would then be spread throughout an entire batch of cookie dough that yields, say, 24 cookies. If you were to eat a serving of raw dough equal to the amount of 1 cookie, the amount of bacteria you would actually be consuming combined with your chances of even consuming it in the first place would be… hmmm… doing the math in my head… something with enough decimal points to the left to almost equal 0.
2. According to the CDC, 30 Americans die each year as a result of consuming Salmonella contaminated eggs. Ok, well, 40 Americans die each year as a result of being struck by lightning. SO- you have LESS of a chance of dying from eating raw cookie dough than you do of being struck by lightning.
3. God gave us gastric acid with a Ph of 2 for a reason. That’s the same Ph as battery acid, people!
4. Raw eggs get a bad rap. You know it’s always that one irresponsible person that ruins it for the rest. That one immunosuppressed 97 year-old who hasn’t cleaned the inside of their fridge in decades… that one brainless kid behind the window at the drive-thru who left chicken out overnight…. that one meathead from the gym who chugs a dozen raw eggs everyday because his aspiration in life is to be Rocky….
5. I may or may not have caught Tide…. having chicken poop for a meal once. And he was fine.
Now, I know after reading this, some of you will still have your doubts. But really, if you are responsible, practice good food hygiene, and are not a baby, pregnant, or immunocompromised, its OK. I for one am gonna ignore the small small risk and enjoy the delicious benefit. And I promise, if ever I end up in septic shock, I give you full permission to visit me bedside in the ICU and rub it in my face- raw cookie dough that is…. LOL, pump me full of antibiotics and send me back to the kitchen!
1c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
5 candy canes (the regular size, red and white peppermint kind)
Using a stand mixer or electric mixers, cream together sugars and butter. Mix in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together salt, baking soda, and flour. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix til well combine. Unwrap the candy canes and place them in a zip-lock bag. Use a heavy object (I used a meat mallet) to smash them into small pieces. Don’t smash them too much that they become powder. Stir in by hand the crushed candy canes and the chocolate chips to the dough. Drop Tbsp-fulls onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 7 minutes.