Here is a truth universally acknowledged: cookie dough is better than cookies.
Everyone loves scooping out a little taste of raw dough or scraping their finger along the bottom of the bowl once the cookies are in the oven. But I don’t just love cookie dough—I crave it. In fact, at our house, I am more likely to make cookie dough than I am to ever bake it.
And yes, I know—don’t we all—that there are dangers in this treat. Salmonella from raw eggs!
But did you know there might be E.coli, too? And it isn’t from the eggs…it’s from the flour. That’s right, seemingly harmless and pure flour. I felt betrayed! An outbreak in 2016 lead to 17 people being hospitalized and ten tons of flour being recalled. Yikes. If you want to be grossed out, you can read more about it on the FDA website.
But, let’s be honest: Despite all the doom and gloom, I eat the cookie dough anyhow…I figure it’s worth the risk, right?
Except that my wife—who loves cookie dough as much as I do—is now eight months pregnant and those risks are a little too high. So, I developed the recipe below to make pregnancy-safe cookie dough! And, best of all, though the dough is excellent, the cookies will be terrible, so you don’t even need to feel compelled to bake!
There are three significant differences with this recipe and your regular chocolate-chip recipe.
- I don’t add any baking soda or baking powder. These won’t hurt you, but they’re only in the recipes for leavening, which means they aren’t needed when you have no intention of baking the goods.
- I use apple sauce instead of eggs. You can use other things, too, but they will dramatically change the flavor. For example, I have used 1/3 C peanut butter or a mashed banana instead of the applesauce, and the results are quite good. But since both of these alternatives add a lot of flavor to the dough, use them strategically. Applesauce works because its mild flavor is superseded by the others in the dough.
- I toast the flour. Thoroughly heating the flour all the way through kills the E.coli that might be lurking there, making the flour safe to sample!
With those three simple changes, you can make most any cookie recipe into a safe-to-eat dough recipe, but here’s our family’s favorite.
Safe-to-Eat Cookie Dough
½ C (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ C brown sugar*
¼ C unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp vanilla
1 C toasted flour
1 ¼ C oats (not quick cook)
½ tsp salt
Mix-ins: chocolate chips (semi-sweet or white), pecans, coconut flakes, ground cinnamon, sprinkles, toffee bits, extra oatmeal, or whatever you like!
*I love brown sugar’s deep flavor, so that is all I use when I make chocolate chip cookies. I also don’t like cookies to be too sweet, so I use a lot less sugar than most recipes call for. However, if you want the traditional flavor of chocolate chip cookie dough, use up to ½ C white sugar AND ½ C brown sugar together, or just add even more brown sugar. I have also used maple syrup or honey instead of sugar, and both work well, though they dramatically change the flavor of the cookies.
Toasting the Flour
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Spread 1 cup of flour evenly across a cookie sheet. Use a silicone mat or aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
- Bake the flour for 5 to 10 minutes, until it has heated all the way through. It will still look white, but you can gingerly use a finger to make sure it is hot in the thicker areas. A longer cooking time may start to darken the flour, but that is fine.
- Let the flour cool completely before using in recipe below.
Making the Dough
- In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Let this beat together for at least 5 minutes, enough that the butter becomes pale and very silky.
- While the butter is beating, combine the toasted flour, oats, and salt in a blender. Pulse the blender a few times until the oats are ground into flour. Two or three pulses is generally enough and a few rough bits of oats add a good texture.
- Slowly beat the vanilla and applesauce into the butter mixture.
- Mix the oat-flour mixture and the butter mixture until just blended.
- Carefully stir in any mix-ins you like. My favorite combinations are Coconut, cinnamon and oatmeal; or dark chocolate with toffee bits.
No need to bake or wait! Get some spoons and dig in immediately!
This dough will keep decently in the fridge for several days if you keep it in an airtight container. The flavor actually gets smoother and better when chilled, but the dough tends to dry out a bit and get crumbly in the fridge. (Not that it ever lasts long enough for me to completely test its shelf life.)