Your Love of Cookie Dough is Natural

February 15, 2019 at 10:19am by Don Holly

As anyone familiar with Rhino Foods knows, we make cookie dough for ice cream.  We developed it 28 years ago with our friends at Ben & Jerry’s, and it is a large part of our business that we make it for most of the rest of the ice cream makers in the country.  Since it was first introduced, our cookie dough inclusions have been a big hit, people love it, and it continues to be one of the favorite treats to add to ice cream.  Why do we love cookie dough?  Well, we have to get into the whole science of food and what inspires our interests and preferences to truly understand this attraction.

Generally, we need food to sustain ourselves, to provide the protein to rebuild our cells daily, calories to fuel us, and other nutrients to provide the supporting chemistry that keeps our bodies functioning.  The evolution of our senses, including taste and smell, as well as how food feels, have been the means by which we have been able to determine what is good for us to eat and what we should avoid.  So, how does eating cookie dough satisfy those senses so that we recognize it as something that is really good to eat?

A lot of people think that our urge to eat cookie dough is because it reminds us of helping Mom make cookies in the kitchen of our youth, and the pleasures of her letting us lick the spoon.  Such a sweet and lovely reminiscence is compelling as a reason, but I think the truth of it is more fundamental about how the simple ingredients of flour, sugar, butter, vanilla and chocolate together, unbaked, make a yummy food.  We know from food science studies that we as humans are attracted to the efficiency of things that have a combination of fats and sugars roughly supplying equal amounts of calories.  This is believed to be because our bodies most efficiently fuels itself off of both short term anaerobic source of energy in sugar and the longer term aerobic energy from fat “burning.”  To get both sugar and fat in one food is a boon to our bodies, and we have learned to identify as a great thing to eat by our taste senses which can detect the sweetness and our tactile sensors in our mouth that can detect the melting presence of fat, whether that be from butter or margarine which both turn to liquid at body temperatures.

Add to those pleasurable sensations, the aromas of vanilla, and the crunch of granular sugars and chocolate chips, with that burst of chocolate flavor (also a combination of fats and sugar with the alluring compounds that make chocolate such a magical ingredient), and you have this perfect treat that meets all of the requirements to delight the senses that have been trained over millennia to trigger our motivations to consume.

Even though we think of baked cookies as being a wonderful dessert, the fact that “raw” cookie dough has its own compelling characteristics without the benefit of being heated is largely due to the values that the uncooked fats and sugars provide a more concentrated dose of the things our body is looking for undisguised by what happens when you bake those ingredients.  Remember, our senses and the mechanisms of what we should eat evolved for a lot longer period of time than we have had since our ancestors discovered fire.

So, we love cookie dough because we are supposed to is the short answer, and yet that answer really doesn’t do justice to the pleasure we have in having a bite full of it surrounded by ice cream in our mouth.  The sweet, creamy cold base of ice cream is a perfect accompaniment to the joy of texture and flavor of a morsel of cookie dough.

No wonder it is so popular and why we love making it for you.