Cookie dough, the safe way

Me and my sister. I'm on the left, she's the one with the cheeks
Me and my sister. I’m on the left, she’s the one with the cheeks

Growing up, people always thought my little sister and I were twins. In many ways, we are the same – our core values and the ways that we see the world are almost identical. We also have a million tiny habits that set us very much apart.

As a little girl, I used to love baking with my mother while Tanya would rather read. As soon as the dough was mixed though, she would scurry into the kitchen and sneak as many bites as possible before Mom could shoo her away. I would roll my eyes, preferring to wait until the cookies were out to the oven to try one.

My ambivalence about raw cookie dough was largely due to taste preferences but the more I’ve learned about food safety, the more I’ve realized that it is smarter to wait than to put myself at risk of food borne illness.

When bacteria gets into commercial cookie dough, the results can be disastrous. In 2009, Nestle found that some of their popular Toll House Cookie Dough was contaminated with E. coli (you can check out a news article about it here).

If the dough was baked into cookies, as intended, the bacteria would be killed and it would be perfectly safe to eat. But so many people eat cookie dough raw that Nestle issued a voluntary recall. This is a perfect example of how food producer play a role in food safety. Nestle chose to protect their brand and ensure that it was associated with safety instead of food borne disease. Check out other ways of regulating food safety here.

For those of you who love your cookie dough, it is still possible to enjoy it without getting sick – vegan cookie dough is perfectly safe to eat raw. I have a couple of vegan cookie recipes that I love but the following Carrot Oat Cookies are really something special.

One of my favorite things about these cookies is that the dough and cookie taste totally different but equally delicious – it’s like getting two treats in one. The dough is slightly oily and has a sharp ginger taste, while the cookies are soft and fluffy. And of course, since they have no eggs it is safe to sneak as many bites of the dough as you want.

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Carrot Oat Cookies

If you don’t have coconut oil, olive or canola oil works well too. 

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks Carrot Oatmeal Cookies 

Time: 30 minutes (20 minutes prep, 10 minutes baking)

Yield: about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit and grease a baking sheet with oil or butter.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, and salt) in a large bowl.
  3. Add nuts and carrots.
  4. Mix wet ingredients (syrup, oil, and ginger) in a small bowl.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined.
  6. Use a tablespoon to drop spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Cookies should be golden brown on top.
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