When is Cookie Dough not Cookie Dough

Last night Athena tweeted this:

“Now, wait,” you say, “isn’t all cookie dough edible? Because if not I’ve been doing cookie dough wrong this entire time.” No, it’s not you, dare I say all cookie dough is made with at least the intent of having the end result of the dough be edible. However, “edible cookie dough” in this case means “being able to eat the uncooked cookie dough without worry of getting sick,” as one might with raw eggs or uncooked flour. The cookie dough Athena made last night was not meant to be made into cookies, which were then to be consumed; it was made to be consumed in its own right. There is no final metamorphosis for this dough; it is the end stage of this particular chocolate-chipped treat.

Which I think means it’s not cookie dough at all.

Follow: What is the nature of cookie dough? What is its purpose? Simple: to be baked into cookies. Indeed, “dough” in a general sense is understood as the precursor, raw form of most grain-based foodstuffs (unless the dough is especially runny, in which case it’s “batter”), which are then baked or fried or otherwise cooked into the form in which they are consumed. The phrase “cookie dough” both tells you what it’s going to be and that it is not yet that thing.

Now, take the thing my daughter made. She made it to be eaten in of itself — while she speculates (probably correctly) that it could be made into cookies if further baked, that’s not why she made it; she made it to eat directly after she mixed it. Therefore: Not cookie dough, and indeed, not dough at all.

So what is it? Sweet edible wheat paste with chocolate chips in it.

Which, Athena correctly pointed out, sounds terrible and no one would eat it if it was advertised that way. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Athena also says I am overthinking this waaaaaay too much. And, well, yes, obviously, but that still doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

But let me open this up to general discussion: If you make what is usually thought up to be cookie dough, but you have no intention of making cookies out of it, and the uncooked version is indeed the final edible form — have you made cookie dough? Or is it something else?

Please first contribute to the poll directly below, and then add your further thoughts, if any, in the comments.

(PS: If you can’t see the poll — some people on mobile apparently can’t — go directly into the comments with your thoughts.)

— JS

131 Comments on “When is Cookie Dough not Cookie Dough”

  1. It may be both cookie dough and not cookie dough in the same way that light is a particle and a wave.

  2. If Athena’s version of cookie dough isn’t cookie dough, then cookie dough ice cream is just a lie and I’m not ready to accept that.

  3. If you intend to use it to make cookie dough ice cream then it counts as cookie dough.

  4. So long as the dough can be used to make cookies, and is functionally no different from one intended to make cookies, it is cookie dough.

    The lack of intent to make cookies with it does not change what it is.

  5. It’s perfectly fine to be “like this.” Examining premises and diving down metaphysical rabbit holes is good brain exercise, and entertaining for self and (some) others.

    Also, it’s cookie dough if it can be made into a cookie.

  6. It is also true that cookie dough is sweet edible paste, but not every sweet edible paste can be made into cookies.

  7. It may have been made to be eaten, but it still had the potential of becoming cookies – therefore its cookie dough. Bread is still bread if its eaten on its own rather than cooked into toast.

  8. I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday and had just enough cookie dough left over for two cookies. Not wanting to bake just two after having baked 4 dozen I ate the dough raw.

    Because I’m a rebel.

    Still alive.

  9. If pasteurizing the eggs and pre-cooking the flour means that the product can no longer be used to make baked cookies, then it is not cookie dough, it is a cookie-dough-like product. If, however, the it still could have been used to make perfectly good cookies, it’s just that it WASN’T used that way, then it is still cookie dough. Is my vote.

  10. You are wrong. Athena is right.

    Graciously admit defeat and we shall never speak of this again.

  11. I think if it was at least possible to make cookies from the mixture, then it is indeed cookie dough, regardless of what Athena’s intentions were.

  12. It depends on where you stop your epistemological journey.

    If we’re going to use purpose-driven ontology for this, who is the purposer?

    Your definition would seem to imply it is only possible to eat cookie dough, if and only if you are interrupting someone else’s cookie-making process in some way. Their intent had to be to make cookies, otherwise they didn’t make cookie dough.

  13. Please do the science. Next time, put a scoop on a sheet pan and bake it. If the results seem to look and taste like a cookie, then it’s cookie dough.

    Since I’m aware of the scope of your definitions of “burrito” and “sandwich”, I’m putting pretty high odds on the conclusion being “cookie” and therefore “cookie dough”

  14. First of all, categories are fake human thought inventions. They’re mostly arbitrary and ultimately not very important. That’s why arguing them to death is so vital.

    I say it is cookie dough. I mean, what if you intended to bake it but then failed to do so? Would its nature suddenly change?

  15. You can refuse to write with a pencil and only ever put it up your nose but it’s still a pencil.

  16. Cookie Dough does not have pasteurized eggs and parbaked flour. This is sweet edible paste or cookie flavored dough at most.

  17. Just because cookie dough is basically cookies in potentia doesn’t mean that it isn’t itself it’s own state of matter. Nor does intent to consume as dough violate it’s inherent cookie-dough-iness. Pasteurization doesn’t denature the proteins, just eliminates the bacterial contamination.

  18. Jan Thie: it’s comments like that that make me spew coffee all over my keyboard. Dang!

  19. There are whole businesses that sell you-don’t-have-to-bake-me (unless you want) cookie dough now. Doughp is a good one.

    In answer to the question: there are other doughs that don’t have raw egg that you can eat (I made one myself in kindergarten that had condensed milk and peanut butter) that you don’t bake into something else necessarily. And of course homemade play-do has always been edible but unappetizing. So if it really twists your shorts Scalzi, think of it instead as Gorm-A Play-Do*. You can mold figures with it, then eat them.

    So you could do a cannibalistic dessert burrito with Polly Pocket’s arms and legs sticking out of it, if you wanted.

    Might be fun…

    *I took the u out of gourmet on purpose; I am still not sure it was the right call.

  20. If it’s got chocolate chips, other significant non-grain chunks, or is sweet, it is clearly a biscuit dough. To be cookie dough, it would have to produce a plain roll if baked.

    For, if we are going to deny language changes, then we must use the original definition of cookie from Scotland.

  21. If it can be baked and result in cookies, it’s cookie dough. Athena is correct.

  22. “Eaten without the worry of getting sick.”
    I have eaten a lot of raw cookie dough in my time – both homemade and premade in sliceable roll form – and I never worried about getting sick. The day I see documented proof of someone getting sick as a direct result of the uncooked state of the ingredients of raw cookie dough is the day I (might possibly consider the idea of perhaps) stop(ping) eating raw cookie dough.
    That said, lots of things and stuff are called by misnomers, so yeah, she made cookie dough.

  23. It’s the extra steps of egg pasteurization and baking flour that makes it NOT cookie dough. But it’s close enough that correcting Athena is just being pedantic. Her doubling down and insisting it IS cookie dough is being obstinate. The enjoyment of the cookie dough/tasty paste means all transgressions are forgiven.

  24. Can you prove intent? Was there at any point in time the possibility of cookies in the future of this particular batch of dough?

  25. Can’t see the survey, but I have a couple of thoughts…

    1) If it looks like cookie dough and tastes like cookie dough, it is cookie dough. Intent doesn’t really matter.
    2) As a child, my grandmother baked literally thousands of chocolate chip cookies for her family. Of those thousands, I had more than my fair share of those before they were baked. In other words, I ate the dough straight out of the bowl. Now, this was in the 70s and I’m still alive and presumably, none the worse for it. Which leads me to wonder what has happened to make eating regular old cookie dough such a dangerous proposition now? We didn’t worry about eating raw eggs or flour. What are they doing or not doing now that makes it so dangerous?

  26. I don’t think this question can be answered with any confidence until such time the substance, as prepared, is used to make a cookie. If it’s suitable for that, it’s dough (regardless of whether it’s ever made into a cookie). If not (poor structure from the use of cooked flour?) it’s not dough.

  27. Cake batter, eaten as an end-product, is “batter” because it is never to be formed into cake. Cookie dough, as an end-product, is dough.

    I think Team Scalzi could come up with a better name, though. Hurry, before someone else TMs the thing.

  28. Ah, if it was not eaten whole, in one large lump, but ingested in spoon-sized portions, this ‘cookie dough or not?’ debate is moot.

    What Althena ate was “unbaked cookies”.

    Not necessarily ‘raw’ (I got a few ‘no-bake’ cookie recipes that just have you portion the dollops of sweet paste out on a cookie sheet and then chill them in the ‘fridge) and given the preservation steps she mentioned with the eggs and flour, I’m going by this.

    It was a ‘no-bake dough’ in the bowl, but the moment she took a spoon and separated a convenient portion for consumption, she briefly created a ‘cookie’ before eating same.

  29. Not cookie dough by taxonomy (i.e. a substance which is made to be formed into cookies) but yes cookie dough by linguistic/sociocultural classification (i.e. a substance which is made to be formed into cookies or a substance closely resembling such substances and generally indistinguishable from the same, but not made to be formed into cookies).

  30. Messrs. Ben and Jerry call this solution “cookie dough.” Messrs. Ben and Jerry cannot be wrong. Therefore I must award this judgement to Athena.

  31. I would side with John that it’s not cookie dough, if you have no intention of baking cookies from it.

    When it comes to calling it: “Edible wheat paste with chocolate chips in it” – your’re both authors and should be able to come up with a better name for it.

  32. Dude, it’s totally cookie dough. The end phase of something doesn’t always dictate what it is. An egg white is still an egg white, even if it ends up as a meringue. Bread dough is bread dough, even if it’s never cooked into bread.

  33. So you’re arguing that cookie dough resides in the intent of the user rather than the thing itself?

    Kant would agree with you. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, Kant argued the sum of all objects, the empirical world, is a complex of appearances whose existence and connection occur only in our representations. He pointed out that there is a thing-in-itself (das ding an sich), but said “we know not this thing as it is in itself, but only know its appearances, viz., the way in which our senses are affected by this unknown something.” So the object, in our mind, has meaning that resides in the way we perceive it, which perception is shaped by our goals. A rock is not a hammer until you need a hammer and don’t have one.

    Of course, G. E. Schulze, writing under the pseudonym Aenesidemus, took issue with Kant and pointed out the main problem with this idea. According to Kant’s teaching, things-in-themselves cannot cause appearances, since the Category of causality can find application on objects of experience only. Kant, therefore, does not have the right to claim the existence of things-in-themselves. But, while a cogent criticism of Kant, this tends to support your point of view — the underlying reality of the glop in the bowl is simply not part of our world of experience.

    Schopenhauer tried to solve this conundrum by arguing that the world humans experience around them—the world of objects in space and time and related in causal ways—exists solely as ‘representation’ dependent on a cognizing subject, not as a world that can be considered to exist in itself (i.e. independently of how it appears to the subject’s mind). One’s knowledge of objects is thus knowledge of mere phenomena rather than things-in-themselves. Schopenhauer identifies the thing-in-itself—the inner essence of everything—as will: a blind, unconscious, aimless striving devoid of knowledge, outside of space and time, and free of all multiplicity. The world as representation is, therefore, the ‘objectification’ of the will.

    Will in this context refers to the faculty of the mind that selects, at the moment of decision, a desire among the various desires present; it itself does not refer to any particular desire, but rather to the mechanism responsible for choosing from among one’s desires.

    So we are lead inexorably to the conclusion that if you will it to be cookie dough, then it is. And if you do not, then it is not.

  34. I think this is a perfect case to take to Judge John Hodgman, as it involves these key elements:
    1. Asking for a determination of the classification of a food item, a la “is a hotdog in a bun a sandwich?” (no!) or “ is chili a soup?” (it’s a stew.)
    2. It includes way too much counter argument to decide a simple thing, much like “is a machine gun a robot?” (don’t be ridiculous) or “is it okay to use bath towels to clean the cat litter box?” (oh my god, I can’t believe anyone even has to ask that.)
    3. It has a weird dad making a weird argument in order (at least partially, admit it Mr. Scalzi) to annoy his kid.

    BTW, it’s cookie dough.

  35. Well, we’ve got a simple test for this case, provided to us by our good friend Aristotle: The Four Causes!

    If we examine the Material Cause, we’ll find that this is indeed made of flour, sugar, butter, chocolate chips. This paste is Materially cookie dough.

    Similarly to the Material Cause, these ingredients are organized in the same way that cookie dough is organized, with the chips dispersed throughout. This paste is Formally cookie dough.

    The Efficient Cause? The agent who caused this paste to come into being claims to have been creating cookie dough.

    Finally, (ha) the Final or Teleological cause. This is certainly where our disagreements come from. This paste was not created with the end goal of being a precursor to cookies. It is Teleologically not cookie dough.

    Given the stark contrast between the first three causes and the Final cause, there is some room for debate. However, I think that, given the context of our modern society, there is room to consider that there are two distinct Platonic Forms that we identify using the same phrase, “Cookie Dough.” When Ben and Jerry add blobs of sweet paste to their ice cream, there is no intention that these could ever become cookies. In fact, the recipe is altered so that the dough may safely be eaten uncooked. Cooking this dough would be a perversion of its teleological purpose: to be enjoyed cold!

    In this way, Athena is correct that she has prepared Cookie Dough; however, you remain correct that she did not prepare the substance that you know to be Cookie Dough. Our problem here is that our society has glimpsed the edges of two distinct forms and failed to distinguish them, and, in doing so, has granted them the same name.

  36. If it can be cooked into cookies, then it’s cookie dough. It only needs the potential to be cookies.

  37. I can remember happily eating bites of “real” cookie dough as a kid. We never worried about such heady stuff.

  38. Cookie dough is cookie dough.

    Whether or not the person making it ever intended it to achieve its final form is moot.

    (Alas, can’t see the poll)

  39. I’m betting it would bake up into cookies, and I want to see it done. But also, it does seem like a lot of work to this 50ish person who is still eating the regular stuff off the mixing spoon. However, and somewhat tangentially, I have the ability to pay $5 a dozen for fancy eggs from chickens that live on grass and dirt 20 minutes from my house. I started doing that after time in Denmark and the UK, wondering how stores there could stock eggs unrefrigerated by the cereal aisle. Why there is so much salmonella in USA eggs these days (not to mention what’s in a lot of our flour) is one muddy rabbit hole.

  40. I think this concern with pasteurizing the eggs and cooking the flour is excess fastidiousness.

    Eat the delicious sweet edible paste; dysentery is a small price to pay.

  41. I voted that it is cookie dough just because words/phrases can have different meanings depending on context.

    Although, for a specific name for cookie dough that is intended to be eaten raw, I offer up “cookie faux”.

  42. If it can be baked into cookies then it is cookie dough.

    All cookie dough can be eaten raw but not necessarily safely. This dough has had the extra care taken to make it safe.

  43. I say it’s cookie dough, and I say the hell with it.

    (Also, in a world in which Ben & Jerry’s will sell you the cookie dough chunks without the ice cream, the boundaries between dough and not dough are getting increasingly fuzzy.)

  44. The Schrödinger approach: put some blobs of the ”paste” onto a cookie sheet and put it in the oven, along with a radioactive particle and a detector that will activate the oven if the particle decays.

    Now so long as the oven is not observed, the “paste” will be in a superposition of two states: “cookies” and “not cookies”. After a suitable amount of time, open the oven and see if there are now baked cookies on the cookie sheet. If yes, the paste was cookie dough; if not, it was just “sweet edible wheat paste with chocolate chips in it”.

  45. For many university students, their last math course is named “precalculus.”

  46. Really, I’m surprised this wasn’t called Schroedinger’s cookie dough.

  47. Craig: it’s not dysentery, it’s salmonella that they’re worried about being in the eggs. However, there is none IN the eggs, just on the shell. Washed eggs from the grocery store are already safe, but to be sure, keep the shells out of your dough.

    I did read one article that said that they found salmonella IN an egg once. But all that contaminated lettuce didn’t stop people from eating it altogether.

    You want a great recipe, look up “Klaus Nomi lime tart recipe”. There used to be an annual tart competition based on it, which killed zero people. “That we know of”? Sure, whatever.

  48. Think of it not as cookie dough, but as “cookie” dough. It is a dough, with the cookie flavor profile.

  49. [realizing that, what with all the beaters and spatulas licked and bowl-scrapings of uncooked food I’ve ingested over the last sixty-plus years, it’s probably a miracle I’m alive]

    (The closest I ever came to an actual food-related death was about age ten, on a family camping trip when a piece of undercooked breakfast bacon lodged in my throat. My dad caught me when I passed out and pitched backward from the table, otherwise I would have dashed my brain out on a nearby concrete bench. Dad also managed to hook the bacon back out, it’s probably needless to say.)

  50. Backing my fellow Dad in this one; it WAS cookie dough up until the point that it was consumed raw, at which point it’s potential to become cookies ceased

  51. If it never is made into cookies it was never cookie dough. It still has the potential to have been cookie dough.

    Right now (assuming any still exists) it is cookie dough flavoured dough.

  52. It’s a cookie dough, because that describes the current state of being. Language is descriptive, not prescriptive.

    Tortillas are tortillas whether you’re going to heat them up and form them into a crispy taco shell or just use them as a flexible wrap.

    Beef stock is beef stock whether you are going to use it as the base for a broth or inject it into a smoking brisket.

  53. It’s a disgusting perversion of the baker’s arts.

    The non-salmonella causing version is not properly “cookie dough” either.

  54. This is a cookie-dough conundrum.

    I say – let it be a cookie-dough product and leave it at that. It has all the components of cookie dough without the final outcome, something that has to stand on its own merits.

    OTOH, we can try to market it as something to promote the experience of consuming it, like ‘unmeltable ice-cream’ or a ‘dry pudding’.

    Then again, maybe not.

  55. If this can be changed into cookies, then it is cookie dough. Only when the components have been modified to the point when they aren’t able to be converted to cookies are they something else

  56. “I never got sick from eating raw cookie dough,” all these people say… So either this is a special group that includes no one that’s ever been part of the million-plus cases of salmonellosis in the US every year, or, more likely, people don’t realize that you can get sick anywhere from several hours to several WEEKS after getting infected. And that doesn’t even start on the flour… You could easily have gotten sick and just never realized it. Athena is being smart, and more people should follow her example!

  57. Just because it has pasteurized eggs and pre-cooked flour in it does not mean it can’t be cooked as cookies.

    That would only happen if none is left.

    I know people who buy pasteurized eggs and make cookies with them. I also have a cookie recipe that asks for toasted flour ( it has a nutty flavor).

  58. Personally, I’ve eaten raw cookie dough (complete with raw eggs) all my life. Same thing when licking the cake batter spoon. I’ve never made any kind of dough or batter for the sole purpose of eating it raw though.

  59. IN WHICH we learn that the concept of “cookie dough” is clearly a social construct.

    Also, I’m pretty sure the wise and benevolent Ben and Jerry settled this one in the mid 80s.

  60. If she made the dough with the intention of baking half and eating the rest raw, would only the first half be cookie dough?

    If she made the dough with the intention of eating it raw but got distracted before eating it, then Krissy snuck into the kitchen and baked cookies from the dough, did Athena make cookie dough?

  61. My mind is boggled enough at the thought of having to pasteurise eggs, especially to make cookie dough safe to eat, without even considering the original question…

  62. I’m firmly with Athena on this one and I eat far more of my cookie dough raw than I bake.

    @Bryan M Becker:
    Took me less than 2 minutes online.
    “In 2016, an E. coli outbreak linked to raw flour made 63 people sick.”

    @lots of you:
    Saying you ate a lot of raw cookie dough and never got sick and therefore it’s OK, is an example of both survivor bias and of improperly generalizing from a datum to the universal case.

    Now please excuse me, I find I have an irresistible urge for cookie dough.

  63. Carrots are a food. Cooked carrots are a ruined. Cookie dough is a food. Cooked cookie dough is ruined.

    It’s all consistent so far as I can tell.

  64. I have a slightly different Schrödinger-based answer: until it is either baked or consumed, the sweet edible wheat paste with chocolate chips in is both cookie dough and not cookie dough. Only when it is either (a) cooked (in which case it was cookie dough) or (b) eaten raw (in which case it was not cookie dough) does its indeterminate state resolve.

    For some reason, this sounds like the solution to a puzzle in a certain text adventure game.

  65. Only a block of warning to not eat raw by some random authorities would make it a cookie dough.

  66. It could have become cookies, so at one point it was cookie dough. If it lost the ability to become cookies, which it probably did around the time pasturizing eggs got into the equation, it ceased to be cookie dough. What it then became is a question I refuse to consider.

  67. I came here to say, in less-coherent words, what Swistle above already said.

    Well, that, and to point out the mouse study that demonstrated that, in mice, subclinical salmonella infections (aka: salmonella that didn’t cause symptoms in the mice) still caused long-term intestinal damage. So… yeah. I’m unlikely to totally stop eating cookie dough, but I am a little more finicky about food safety now I know that it’s not just about a 24-hour food poisoning bout, but potentially about decades of gut inflammation, which can result in other nasty whole-body things.


  68. It’s paste. Sweet sweet paste. Or pudding. But not dough: INTENT counts!!!1!eleventy!

  69. Pasteurizing an egg does not cook it, merely render it sterile. As such, it should still be usable for baking this dough. However, doing the same to flour seems to change its proteins enough to make it less suitable for baking.

    I’m going to rule this “not cookie dough” due to the flour’s condition.

    However, the philosophical argument of “intent” you seem to be making is just silly.

  70. Not dough. I have been baking most of my life- and I am OLD- and dough is a raw thing. It may be tasted, or even eaten in some quantity, but it is intended to be made into something else (bread, cookies, cake (ok, that’s a batter but still). If it’s made to be eaten in its raw form, it’s a dessert or snack or somesuch.

  71. Obviously, “dough” is a term for product of a certain consistency, regardless of use–see “play dough.”

    “Cookie” is an adjective modifying “dough,” and referring to the cookie-like attributes: sweetness, chocolate chips, nuts.

    Got nothing to do with whether it’s going in the oven or not.

  72. The important thing everyone is overlooking is there was a store growing up that served ice cream and edible cookie dough and you could get a scoop of each in a single dish and it was the most amazing thing ever.

  73. My immediate response to this conundrum was that this was clearly “faux dough”.

    With a nod to Ziusudra who I subsequently saw cited “cookie faux”.

  74. I am glad a few people did point out the dangers of eating unpasteurized eggs and uncooked flour…
    A useful link is https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2019/08/consumers-need-wake-up-call-about-potential-dangers-of-flour/

    to quote from it:
    “Cookies figured in a 2009 E. coli-related recall when raw, prepackaged Nestle cookie dough were linked to food-borne illnesses in 77 people. That likely happened when some of the people baking the cookies nibbled on some of the raw cookie dough. In that outbreak, 35 people had to be hospitalized and 10 developed kidney failure. At first, the likely culprit seemed to be eggs. But researchers subsequently pointed to flour. That led Nestle to switch to heat-treated flour for its refrigerated cookie dough.
    In 2015, General Mills recalled 45 million tons of flour and other companies issued secondary recalls because they used the flour to produce their foods. Included in the recall, were products ranging from bread and pancake mixes to meat and poultry products. At least 46 people, 13 of whom needed to be hospitalized, were sickened. Three main brands of flour: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Wondra, were named.
    Just recently, as of July 11, 2019, flour contaminated with E. coli O26 sickened 21 people from 9 states.
    Illnesses started on dates ranging from Dec. 11, 2018 to May 21, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from 7 to 86 years, with a median age of 24. Seventy-one percent of ill people were female. Of 20 people with information available, three, for roughly 15 percent, were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.”

  75. If ever there was a case of “the street finds its own uses for things,” this would be it.

    The INTENT of cookie dough is to be made (reduced?) into cookies, but for many, that is not its PURPOSE. I would say that Athena (and others) merely found an unusual, but viable, use case for cookie dough outside of its intended use case. However, because the primary, INTENDED use case for cookie dough is to be rendered into cookies, it is still cookie dough. If you use a book to prop up a dresser with a broken foot, it doesn’t cease to be a book. You could, theoretically, still read (the intended use case) that book, you’re just currently (and likely for the foreseeable future) employing the book in an unusual use case.

    (to be clear, I think eating cookie dough is a better thing to do than propping a dresser up with a book, but then we’re getting into ethical use of art and this post is already far too long as it is)

  76. I’m just here to say:

    Now, that’s adulting done right! Because what are you an adult for if not to be allowed to eat your cookie dough as the good Lord intended.
    I bow before your queen daughter.

  77. Strangely enough I spent some time this evening perusing a cookbook put out by the owner of a “bakery” in New York who sells cookie dough which can be eaten uncooked made by the same method Athena used. Her cookbook also gives baking directions for each recipe. My personal opinion is that baking ruins most cookies, but since I may qualify as elderly these days I think perhaps it might be prudent to reduce the risk of E. coli from flour. I’m intrigued by some of the cookie dough recipes and will probably give some of them a try.

    So, yeah, it’s cookie dough.

  78. I’m not going to weigh in on the dough debate (I don’t like cookie dough ice cream, even), but it does show that you were correct to have Athena writing on your blog.

  79. Commenters here are making a questionable assumption: That the sweetened wheat paste with chocolate chips could actually be cooked and transformed thereby into cookies (in the conventional sense of the word). If I were going to sweeten wheat paste and add chocolate chips to it for the purpose of consuming said wheat paste uncooked, I’d skip the leaveners (aka “baking powder”). At best, baking powder has no taste, at worst, raw baking powder is icky.

    So, not cookie dough. Honest.

  80. Upon reflection. I would say it’s Schrödinger’s cookie dough, wherein it both is and isn’t cookie dough until you decide whether to eat it immediately or make cookies with it. Once you start to make cookies (or once you start to eat it), the wave form collapses and you have one or the other. Until then, you have a superposition of both states (cookie dough and not cookie dough).

    And I think I (and a few other upthread) have just outdone John in the over-thinking department.

  81. Still cookie dough even when traveling down the esophagus.

    Home pasteurized eggs can be used to make cookies. Well. Unless you heat them too long and produce cooked eggs.

    Pre-baked flour can also be used to make cookies. CookingLight even recommends it for cookie dough in these days of e-coli found in flour, if you plan to nibble bits of it as you bake.

    Also, this may possibly be my favorite comment section ever.

  82. The original ice cream shop Ben & Jerry’s (who invented the ice cream) and later also Dreyer’s (aka Edy’s east of the Rookies) pretty much settled the question a long time ago of what it’s called even when it’s made to be eaten unbaked.

  83. What is the nature of cookie dough? What is its purpose?

    That concludes today’s University of Chicago flex.

  84. I’m pretty sure you’re at least half wrong. I’ll concede it may not be “cookie” dough, as it isn’t intended to be used to make cookies, but it’s most definitely dough, as that is just an uncooked product with a flour base.

    I’ve seen the warnings often enough, but I’m not going to stop eating MY raw dough. Almost all food-borne illnesses start with the processors. I’m not going to BUY dough and eat it, but I feel safe enough with my own.

  85. It sounds more like a semolina pudding variant than a dough, using eggs instead of milk.

  86. I’m old enough to just eat the cookie dough. What is this pasteurized eggs nonsense? If the eggs make you sick you’ll either get stronger or die, as is expected. And I can’t quite grasp the concept of the half batch you cooked was cookie dough, but the half batch you planned to eat, and did in fact eat, wasn’t cookie dough? If I wasn’t on your lawn I would be telling you to get off my lawn.
    Although, reluctant sigh, if Athena would just try to cook a sample into cookies, and it does not in fact make a cookie, then I will allow as it wasn’t really cookie dough but your “sweet edible wheat paste”, which needs a new marketing name, such as “Cookie D’oh”.

  87. If the edible cookie dough can be blopped on a baking sheet and baked into a cookie, it is still cookie dough.

  88. Just wanted to comment that I eat cookie dough, always have, and have never worried about getting sick. I ate cookie dough for decades before anybody worried that it’d make them sick. That’s something the kids (who are adults now, but whatever) came up with, and I don’t pay any attention. :P

  89. If it can be baked into cookies, it’s cookie dough.

    If you buy a thing of premade cookie dough with the intention to eat it raw, or to huck gobs of it at passing cars, or to use it to beat your neighbor to death and feast on the delicious goo in his head, it’s still cookie dough.

    The questions here are, first, whether it has all the ingredients to make cookies. If it doesn’t include leavening agents, it’s weird-ass hard-like-a-rock nasty-thing dough, not cookie dough. Likewise, if parcooking the flour means that it won’t bake up, it ain’t cookie dough.

  90. I never knew cookie dough could generate so many comments! :D (FWIW, it’s cookie dough….)

  91. It’s rather bizarre to me how many people seem to think that pasteurizing the eggs make the resulting dough something that can’t be baked into cookies. Pasteurizing an egg doesn’t cook it. It doesn’t denature it. It just kills off the bacteria, resulting in a bacteria-free egg, suitable for any other egg purpose (other than culturing bacteria, one presumes.)

    And, if one has a sous-vide machine (which I highly recommend having, for all sorts of amazing cooking reasons), pasteurizing eggs is relatively effortless.

    I personally don’t bother, and happily eat the raw dough as the mood strikes me. I’ve been known to make portioned cookie dough and freeze it for later baking, only to have it gradually disappear over time as it gets snacked on. Call me reckless.

    But to the original question. Yes. It’s cookie dough, whether it ever gets baked or not. Whether it’s cookie dough that’s safe to eat raw is a different question, one I’ve never particularly worried about (possibly irresponsibly).

    The Schrödinger parallel applies. People can argue whether the cat is alive or dead, but they can’t meaningfully argue whether or not it’s a cat. The cookie dough is cookie dough, whatever its subsequent final outcome.

  92. It’s posts like this that remind me why I love you!
    If the recipe is intended to be cooked, it is still dough whether or not it makes it to the oven.

  93. It’s not cookie dough, it’s cookie “d’oh!”, because if you’re eating it raw you’re about on the same mental plane as Homer Simpson.

    Overly sweet gloppy goo that makes you gain five pounds in one sitting? Sign me up for that!

  94. It’s dough up until it is baked into cookies.
    The question becomes if I were to bake this mess will it produce a chocolate chip cookie?
    If the answer is yes, then it is dough. i.e. unbaked cc cookie mixture.
    Whether you eat it before you bake it or not, it is dough that will produce one or more cookies.
    You could eat 1/2 half the mixture and bake the rest.

  95. Theoretically you are right. But there exists cookie-dough-flavored ice cream, which contains chunks of something is similar to what Athena made. Hence I conclude that both are called cookie dough in common usage.

  96. I’d assume that leavening (baking powder/soda) was not added to the mix- if baked, confection dough or dough confection (cookie dough intended to be eaten raw) tends to make flat crispy cookies as opposed to the ‘toll-house’ variety that most folks are accustomed to

    raw dough
    confection dough/dough confection

  97. You can now buy Nestle edible cookie dough in the same refrigerator case where you get dough actually meant to be baked into cookies (it comes in a tub instead of a tube or square bag).

    You can also buy boxed mixes in the boxed-mix aisle which will make batches of cookie dough which you form into balls and then refrigerate (or freeze) rather than baking before you eat them. Betty Crocker calls these “No-Bake Cookie Dough Bites”.

    Which is to say, Betty Crocker and Nestle are on Athena’s side. I think that ought to settle the matter.

  98. When is cookie dough not cookie dough? When Homer Simpson says the it is, “Cookie D’oh!”

  99. John, I would accuse you of pushing “clickbait” at us, but that would only be correct if you first baked the cookie dough enough to click. Since that did not happen in this case, that would be a false accusation.

    But no, cookie dough is cookie dough until eaten.

  100. My vote is it’s cookie dough. Not dough for making cookies, however. In the Venn diagram, the “Dough for Making Cookies” circle would be completely enclosed by the circle for the “Cookie Dough” set.

    Like many, I ate raw cookie dough as a kid, and suffered no ill effects. Another thing I did as a kid was play with mercury. I had a vial with a few tablespoons of the metal. I liked the way it felt rolling around in my palm. I drank from the water hose, and I climbed trees. And I survived all of it.

    Because I survived, I am here to tell you about it. I did know kids who didn’t survive, so there is also that.

  101. I would posit that, if a dough CAN be made into cookies, it is cookie dough. If we humans choose to flaunt the laws of god and nature, then clearly this is an expression of our power over the Universe itself! 😈

  102. Based on the comments so far, plus my own personal (obviously correct) reasoning, it is clearly an ice cream topping.

  103. I would like to mention that my kids also make this (with the pasteurizing and all) and also that eating cookie dough is gross. What’s next, drinking cake batter?

  104. If it can baked into a reasonable cookie, then it’s cookie dough, in my opinion. But why? Cookies are so much better than dough.

  105. 127 comments and not one person has yet said, “When it’s ajar”? For shame.