Is Cookie Dough Good Because It’s Good—or Because It’s Oh So Bad?

Earlier this week I found myself pondering cookie dough (as one does) and my ponderings raised an interesting question: Does cookie dough actually taste better than fully cooked cookies or do we simply think it does because it is forbidden? Does the gritty, cold, buttery, raw-egg-containing, brown-sugary paste actually win in flavor over the warm, gooey, fresh-out-of-the-oven finished product, or do we all just fetishize cookie dough because it’s the thing we’re told we shouldn’t have?

To begin answering this question, I turned to another thing that famously gets better when it is forbidden: love. It’s a tale as old as time (or at least Shakespeare). From Romeo and Juliet to Leslie and Ben from Parks and Rec to Jess and Ryan Geauxinue from New Girl (I know, deep cut, I just re-watched New Girl), to Kate Sharma and Tony B. of Bridgerton fame, people that are told they can’t be together, for whatever reason, just want to be together even more. And the air of scandal just makes the forbidden couple’s precious time together that much hotter. 

Well, I thought about it a lot, and I believe the same to be true for cookie dough. I think it’s not actually better than baked cookies, we all just like feeling like we’re getting away with something naughty. Here’s my evidence: 

I love cookie dough in all forms. In ice cream, in truffles, in cupcakes, and scooped straight out of the mixer and into my mouth. And while it is delicious in all those applications, it always tastes best stolen out of the mixer. The real stuff. With the raw eggs and the clearly prescribed purpose of ending up in the oven and not my mouth. 

The safe-for-consumption stuff made with milk or some other liquid instead of eggs never quite tastes the same. And unless raw eggs are just delicious and we’ve been sleeping on them as flavor enhancers (which I doubt is the case), a viable explanation for this phenomenon is that I just like real cookie dough because I can’t have a lot of it. It’s not socially acceptable, it’s probably not great salmonella-risk-wise, and I often need to get a certain number of cookies out of a batch and can’t jeopardize that final count by eating all of the goods ahead of time. But it’s just so McFrickin good. I can’t resist.

Try some non-raw-egg-containing cookie dough sometime and see if it tastes as good to you as the “stolen from the mixer” stuff. Also, try a warm-out-of-the-oven cookie right after that and see what you prefer. I can’t say for certain whether cookie dough holds up next to its fully-cooked incarnation. This was all just a thought experiment that occupied me as I commuted to work one-morning last week. Maybe I’m onto something or maybe I need to grow up and spend my commute thinking about useful adult things like paper towels and taxes.

(Sporked does not endorse eating cookie dough containing raw eggs.)

About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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  • Personally I like both equally for different reasons. Depends on what mood I’m in.