Can childhood dreams come true? The UK’s first cookie dough cafe, called Naked Dough, is certainly trying to transport people back to their carefree kid days. Yes, it sells raw dough that can be eaten from a tub, in a cone or even taken home.
The trend of eating cookie dough swept America in the last few years and blew up in 2017, filling up social media feeds and spawning dessert trucks and even brick and mortar sites in New York like Cookie DŌ, which uses a pasteurised egg product and heat treated flour to ensure that the dough means a delicious eat, rather than a trip to the doctor. (There is a small risk of salmonella with raw eggs or E.coli from untreated flour).
Cookie DŌ’s Kristen Tomlan began selling raw cookie dough online in 2015, but knew it had the potential to be the next hot dessert when people started dropping by the company’s unmarked New York City kitchen asking for it. When she first opened her store, there were two hour lines along the street.
Other American examples include Tart Sweets bakery in North Carolina, which sold “doughwiches” and cookie dough by the scoop through its cookie dough bar, and the Dough Dough food truck in Minneapolis.
Part of the appeal of cookie dough relates to its status as a forbidden fruit, as some adults were told it was unsafe to eat as children, but it’s also a dessert that is gold for the Instagram generation as it comes in many colourful forms. While it may seem like an easy dessert to perfect, it’s actually a fine balance to ensure it isn’t too sweet.
Inspired by the success in America, UK’s Naked Dough co-founder’s Jen Henry and Hannah Adams decided to bring the cookie craze to the masses in London and have hosted a number of pop-ups and also set up in shopping centres before launching Naked Dough in Camden Market.
Naked Dough’s raw cookie dough is made with the same techniques as home baking – but there are no eggs involved.
Flavours also come with fun names from the Mud Bath made up of chocolate chips and cocoa, Unicorn Food with marshmallows and sprinkles, in a nod to the millennial crowd there's the Emoji Poos that come with chocolate chips and of course the Cookie Monster, which is a vegan cookies and cream.
There are also UK themed ones like the Nak-Ed Sheeran with salted caramel and honeycomb, as well as Hazel’s Nuts with nutella and kinder bueno, and Nuttin Better which is peanut nibs and peanut butter.
From ice cream to sundaes
It’s been an interesting journey for Henry to take on the cookie dough craze.
From sitting at her city-based desk job in 2012, dreaming of having any other occupation, she decided to pack it in and fulfill her life ambition of being paid to have chocolate on tap 24/7. She moved to France to train as a pastry chef, went into the kitchen of a Michelin star restaurant, then came back to the UK and worked on various foodie projects before settling on cookie dough. Her co-founder Adams is previously the marketing and partnerships manager at online lifestyle magazine Khoollect.
But Henry and Adams haven’t stopped at straight up cookie dough either. There are also ice cream, cookie dough bars, cookie dough sundaes and even cookie dough milk. The perfect recipe for a cookie dough overdose.
So does Sparkie have a cookie dough craving?
With how popular cookies are, I’m surprised that there isn’t a premium ready-made dough brand out there selling into retail. The only thing I see on a regular basis is very basic chocolate chip dough.
I suppose if someone did introduce it but make it pasteurised to play both ends of the market, it could be an interesting product. A product like this could easily play with the trends in convenience, make a healthy version or two and some free-from and increase its sales across the board. Unlikely to be something to make a huge shout about but definitely room for money to be made there I think.