21 June 2009

Lazy people take heed! Pre-made cookie dough has a body count.

See this?

If you have any of this symptom of of social decay in your fridge, take it back to the store where you bought it before you poop to death. Nestle is recalling all of its Nestle Tollhouse Cookie Dough products immediately. An E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak traced to their pre-made cookie dough has already sickened 68 people. Even though E. coli can be killed by cooking anything contaminated with it, Nestle's not taking any chances and is encouraging customers to return or discard all of the product. Don't cook it, don't touch it, don't eat it.

Now I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Stuff like this makes my inner Calvinist come out. There are no short cuts folks. There are no short cuts to baking, there are no shortcuts to happiness, there are no short cuts to life. Nonsensical products like pre-made cookie dough are the symptom and the result of the lie that somehow "we're too busy" nowadays to make cookies. Because "we're too busy" it becomes OK to feed yourself and your family out of a microwave, it becomes OK to do away with dining rooms in favor of TV trays, and it becomes OK to have shorthanded text messages substitute for talking to your mother. Bull! I say it's bull. "We" aren't to busy, but "we" have screwed up priorities.

If you want cookies that won't sicken you or your family, here's a recipe.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
I make these cookies for myself every couple of weeks as a reward for good behavior. It takes a whopping 20 minutes to put the batter together and about an hour to crank out two dozen cookies. Baking things like this for myself is easy, allows me to control what I eat and doesn't expose me to E. Coli 0157:H7. make your own! It's cheaper, safer and provides a sense of accomplishment break 'n bakes can't.


  1. I agree. There are legitimate reasons for some convenience foods - I don't bake all my own bread for instance, and I keep some canned foods in the pantry - but pre-made cookie dough? I've never understood that at all.

    I don't own a microwave either.

    And you're right about the time/priorities issue, too.

  2. Hey! Welcome and thanks for the comment. I like to bake and I resent things like pre-made cookie dough because they short change the whole motive for baking. I bake not for the result, but for the joy the preparation gives me. I also like the generosity I feel when I'm baking for someone. I feel like baking from scratch is a gift not only of the finished product, but more importantly, it's a gift of intention. I care deeply about the people in my life and one of the ways that I show it is to give them my time and efforts int he form of bread or cookies or pies.

    Now with that said, I just checked out your blog. Very nice! A left-leaning mosaicist, I like you already. I just started following you on Twitter. Keep coming back, you're welcome any time.


  3. You should see the looks of astonishment when I show up at summer picnics with pies that I made...including the crust. It disgusts me that making a pie at home is a big deal.
    It's the same look I get when I reveal that I make most of my own bread and I don't have a breadmaker.

  4. I'm with you. I had a houseguest over the weekend and I baked bread to have for lunch. Why eat garbage when eating real food is so simple? Your own pie crusts, eh? In an homage to rolling hills of PA that begat me, I bake shoo-fly pies every Thanksgiving. People go insane over them. Scratch baking is the only way to go!

  5. I have a very close friend who considers 'homemade' is popping prepared food into the oven. Though academically very intelligent, the phrase 'made from scratch' is not in her vocabulary.... but then again I cannot play the piano like she does.....smiles. -Brenda-

  6. It's a high horse I like to climb atop from time to time. I send my laundry out to a service every week and I know there are people out there who are appalled by that practice. In my book, baking shortcuts are bad but laundry shortcuts are holy. Take me a with a grain of salt.

  7. Okay, I have to say that I love to cook and trying new recipes is an adventure. But those cookies, pre-scored and ready to bake have saved my rear more than once. As a busy mother of four, sometimes I have woken up on a Tuesday, realized it's really Wednesday, and seen the note that I need to send cookies for a school event. After a few choice words, those cookies have saved the day. Yeah, I have moments of guilt that I didn't pull out the bowl and mix the ingredients but I quickly get over it when I see that the children actually don't marvel over the freshness of the ingredients. So, yes, I love those cookies. I appreciate Nestle taking the precautions since we all love cookie dough but as soon as they get the kinks worked out, I will add some to my freezer. And for the scratch recipe, I will make those for you if you ever come visit!

  8. In the interest of full disclosure and in keeping with my advice to Brenda about taking me with a grain of salt, Nestle break and bakes are what prompted me to start baking my own from scratch. I have a weak spot for chocolate chip cookies and I wasn't satisfied with the amount of chips and walnuts in the break and bakes. So I went out on my own and started baking them the way my mother did. The sanctimony came later.


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