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Cookbook Corner

Victory at the Cookie Counter: Raw Dough

July 23, 1987|JONI WINN HILTON | Hilton is a free-lance writer in Woodland Hills

At last. Success is mine. I've literally spent years begging every cookie shop in town to let me buy a scoop of "illegal" raw dough. Usually I've been met with gasps of horror from the cookie jerks (if there can be soda jerks, there can be cookie jerks), who firmly refuse to bypass store policy. Then today--at last--I tasted not only raw dough, but victory.

All my life I've known what few others will acknowledge: Cookies taste better raw than cooked. There's a restaurant in Utah that serves a scoop of raw dough in an ice cream cone, but such awareness of true quality seems undiscovered in Los Angeles.

Until today. Until I found my dough connection.

Most cookie shops hire young, fresh-faced kids. They train them, give them cute little uniforms and remind them one last time that they are not permitted to sell the dough uncooked.

And most of these kids are in the National Honor Society or something, so they strictly adhere to store policy and deny the pleadings of customers who want to buy an uncooked ball of chocolate chip dough. Even if the customer offers to pay double. Even if the customer happens to mention that she could die this week.

And then, miracle of miracles, today the sun broke through the clouds. "OK," the fellow said, glancing both ways and lowering his voice. "I'll sell you a scoop of raw dough . . . if you won't tell anyone."

"Oh! You mean it?" My feet left the ground and I squealed with delight. The seconds seemed like hours as he scooped the creamy, sweet dough for me. My heart pounded as I gave him a dollar. I felt deliciously sneaky, recklessly indulgent.

Years of begging--begging for this moment--and it was here at last. Ahh. My Reeboks carried me swiftly to my car, where I tore open the sack and bit into buttery heaven. One small wad of this, tossed into the Pacific, could create a feeding frenzy beyond Stephen King's wildest dreams.

I closed my eyes and luxuriated in every rich mouthful. Years ago a girlfriend of mine bought a cookie shop in a mall and gave me quarts of raw dough for every birthday. Aging was never more glorious. But then she sold the shop and my supply ran dry.

Withdrawal was tough. Those pre-mixed dough rolls that are available taste almost synthetic, and packaged mixes are as much trouble as creating from scratch. Of course, I've made cookie dough myself, but my dream has always been to buy it anytime, anywhere, without sifting any flour or cracking any eggs.

I tried to get by on Soft Batch or Mrs. Fields, but nothing topped pure, sugary, uncooked dough. As I sat there eating my scoop in the car, all my childhood memories of sneaking pinches of dough from Mom's mixing bowl came rushing back.

I drove home, threw open the door and shouted to my husband, "I did it! I climbed Everest! I swam the Channel! I fought the good fight, I persevered and had faith, I won the war!"

He looked up, eyebrows raised. "Care to continue this saga?"

Then I explained the sheer ecstasy I had just encountered, and the joy of knowing there was a sympathetic soul out there, who had at last penetrated cookie shop personnel.

"I can't believe it. My wife is a dough addict."

"What are you talking about? I can quit anytime I want to," I insisted. "You should have watched him scoop the dough, Bob. You'd have either drooled or died, I just know it."

Bob rolled his eyes. "Didn't your mother ever tell you that raw dough will make you sick?"

"Aha! You were duped, like millions of other kids, by your very own mother. Moms will say anything to keep kids from snitching the dough."

It's just like cookie salesgirl No. 37 last year, who said it would give me worms. If there aren't worms in the batter to begin with, how are you going to get worms?

"It must be illegal for some reason," Bob said.

"Ridiculous," I huffed. "Two months ago a kid told me that if something has raw eggs in it, you can't sell it. How can that be? Don't they put them into an Orange Julius if you want one?"

Bob was closing his eyes now, probably pretending this was all a bad dream. "I'm calling Dough-Anon."

"And what about all those health food places that serve egg shakes?" I went on.

"How would you know about health food places?"

"I've seen their ads."

"So how much is your habit, now?" Bob asked. "Twenty dollars a week? Thirty?"

"Please. You make it sound like I don't have control of this thing."

"Do you?"

"Of course."

"You're not going back?"

"Are you crazy? I left the car running. Having control is one thing." I grabbed my rainy day money and headed for the door. "Having raw cookie dough is another."

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