Study: Apparently, Cookie Dough Can Be Baked Before Eating
Cambridge, MA (AP) – Food scientists at Harvard University shocked the culinary world this week when they released research results suggesting that cookie dough could be eaten even after baking it. They said, however, that this should is no way be construed as a recommended method of preparation.
A team of physicists and chemists subjected tablespoonfuls of cookie dough to temperatures of 375° F (190°C) for up to 15 minutes at a time and reported on the outcome. The scientists discovered that although the baking time altered the consistency, shape, and color of the dough, it remained edible, even tasty. The team intends to continue extensively researching this phenomenon, and scientists at many other institutions have expressed their own intention to attempt to replicate the research as soon and as frequently as possible.
Dr. Nestle Toll-House of Harvard and his fellow researchers used a standard formula to prepare cookie dough, a popular snack food, dessert item, or main course, depending on one’s mood. They combined butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, salt, baking soda, flour, and chocolate chips in a specialized piece of laboratory equipment. Whereas at this point traditional procedure would call the dish complete, Dr. Toll-House’s team had decided to perform a “baking” procedure, which until now has been used on cookie dough only in certain obscure circles.
They obtained flat sheets of aluminum and evenly spaced lumps of the dough several inches apart, and placed the sheets in a preheated oven. After several minutes the lumps of dough could be seen to melt somewhat, and after about 10, their final shapes had stabilized. According to the report, when the sheets were removed from the oven, the cookie dough lumps were crisp, with slight browning, and the chocolate chips were soft enough to leave streaks on the lips, cheeks, and chin.
The study’s publication prompted a harsh response from proponents of traditional methods. “It’s a shame Harvard wasted precious ingredients and power just to destroy perfectly good cookie dough,” said Piya Mess, Professor of Gynecology at Yale. Dr. Theo Bromine of Texas A & M concurred: “…Why…why would you do that?”
Others, however, have not been as swift in their judgment. “We have seen the study and do not question its scientific integrity. We do, however, reserve judgment on the conclusions until we have tasted, er, seen enough cumulative evidence from similar studies that support them,” read a statement from the Food Science Institute of America, based in Atlanta.
“This method represents a potential radical shift in kitchen behavior,” noted Dr. Ginger Snaap of Johns Hopkins University, a chemist who was not involved in the study. “Currently there are few practical applications for this theoretical knowledge, since cookie dough has a half-life of six seconds, meaning it disappears completely within a few minutes in the presence of humans. But this study means that a cook who wishes to prepare a tremendous quantity, perhaps in anticipation of close friends stopping by later, might be able to ‘bake’ lumps of the dough to make it easier to store.” She cautioned that the quantity that would need to be prepared to ensure its survival would far surpass the capacity of most domestic kitchens.
Dr. Toll-House has ambitions to explore what happens when the baked cookie dough is given a chance to cool to room temperature before it is eaten, but acknowledges that such data would be merely theoretical.
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