Mmmm -- cookie dough and cake batter. We licked the beaters and nibbled the dough when we were kids. As...
Mmmm -- cookie dough and cake batter. We licked the beaters and nibbled the dough when we were kids. As adults, we've been told to avoid raw batters -- especially during pregnancy. everything-cookie-dough.jpgUnfortunately, if you make your own cookie dough from scratch or use a powdered mix -- and then sample the concoction -- you may be putting yourself at risk for infection with Salmonella enteritidis (a bacterium found in shell eggs). Baking the dough or cooking any egg-containing food product to at least 140 F (60 C) kills the bacteria, however. According to the FDA, foods containing raw eggs (including homemade ice cream, cake batter, cookie dough, homemade mayonnaise and eggnog) carry a Salmonella risk, but their commercial counterparts don't. Commercial products are made with pasteurized eggs, whuich have been heated sufficiently to kill bacteria; therefore, commercial preparations of cookie dough are not a food hazard. Salmonella? Since when? Most of us remember making cookies with grandma and eating dough when we were kids, and we never got sick. But was that just luck -- similar to the way that we never got hurt when we used to "help" dad drive when we were little? Basically, was the risk not realized due simply to the ignorance of the era? Actually no -- not in this case. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, about 20 years ago, a strain of Salmonella bacteria called enteritidis found its way into the ovaries of chickens and then into their eggs. Since that time, salmonella has been a simmering threat. Now, experts estimate that one in every 10,000 eggs -- or about 4.5 million eggs each year -- is infected with Salmonella. So what's a mama-to-be to do? If you're in the mood to nibble and a tube of commercial dough won't do it for you, the only safe alternative is to make your batters and doughs with a pasteurized egg substitute like Egg Beaters. This is safe to eat uncooked (if properly refrigerated). Obviously, cookie dough is not the most nutritious food substance in the world -- and if you make it right (with plenty of sugar and butter), it has precious little to redeem it -- except the taste. While you're not going to win any diet awards, a little nibble now and then to soothe your craving may be good for the soul. Just to get you started, Betsy, P&B's co-founder, shares with you her grandmother's chocolate chip cookie recipe. (Remember to only enjoy the baked product.) Chocolate Chip Cookies 2/3 cup shortening 2/3 cup butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1 cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon soda 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips Heat oven to 375 F. Thoroughly mix shortening, margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients (for a softer round cookie, add 1/2 cup additional flour). Drop dough two inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until light brown. Cool for one minute before removing from baking sheet.

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