Have you seen that viral NYC cookie dough shop? We tried it and here's what we thought

In New York City, you can satisfy your cookie dough cravings with a visit to DO. You won't be alone, as thousands of people have learned.
Published April 6 2017

NEW YORK

If you grew up sneaking dollops of cookie dough off the baking sheet before your mom popped them in the oven and are wondering if a cookie dough cafe in New York City's Greenwich Village is worth an hourslong wait, it is.

If you're wondering if it's worth a trip from Florida to New York City, I'm not going to tell you to book a plane ticket. But I'm also not going to tell you not to.

The small cafe with the pink awning is called "DO, cookie dough confections." Scoops of cookie dough served like ice cream in dishes and cones is the latest food craze to go viral. But does it meet the hype?

Well, I ate it — and it was glorious.

On a brisk Sunday in February (it was 43 degrees), a friend and I settled ourselves into the DO line behind a couple of college students spending part of their NYC vacation waiting for the delectable treat. The line had yet to turn around the LaGuardia Place block but was still attracting befuddled onlookers.

As a reporter, I probably could have put in a media request and bumped myself in front of the more than 100 people waiting, but I didn't. The line is part of the experience, attracting only the most dedicated sweet-seekers.

We all wanted cookie dough. And we were willing to wait hours for it.

Also, being that cold burns calories, I think; maybe it helped me carry a fraction of the guilt for indulging in something that packed the same number of calories as at least a half-dozen baked cookies.

We got in line at 12:10 p.m. By 12:55, we were three doors down from the main door and my ears were cold. By 1, the line had reached around the block. By 1:50, my toes were frozen but we finally made it inside, where a maze of people were shouting out flavors and scrambling for free samples.

What is so special that thousands of people are willing to lose hours of their day just to eat this cookie dough?

Any devotee should know that real cookie dough contains uncooked eggs and flour. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration tells us not to eat raw dough because it can make us sick — bloody-diarrhea-and-salmonella-poisoning sick.

So we are stuck with the guilt of sneaking spoonfuls from the mixing bowl in disbelief that something so soft, comforting and reminiscent of childhood could strike us with stomach pain. If you're smart, you know to settle for the cookie dough in ice cream, which is safe to snack on because it lacks eggs and flour — but therefore lacks the authentic taste and texture.

DO isn't the first confectioner to capitalize on the desire to eat raw cookie dough, but its founder says it is the first to make dough with pasteurized eggs and heated flour. That means it's totally legit.

A hot pink neon sign welcomes patrons and says, "dreams dough come true." A rainbow array of stand mixers is on display above a large window that lets customers peer into the kitchen's no-bake process.

Vats of dough sit behind an assembly line of workers wielding ice cream scoopers to pack the dough into to-go cups. Picking a flavor feels impossible: There's one with fluffernutter, one with Reese's cup and another of brownie batter. It's the kind of place you wished existed as a child, but can still indulge in as an adult.

Once inside, it was another 20 minutes before I had my own dough: a scoop of signature chocolate chip and another of "heavenly," which is sugar cookie dough with Nutella, chocolate chips, caramel bits and sea salt. My bill came to just over $7, which didn't seem bad for New York dessert prices. The store also offers ice cream "sanDOwiches" with cookie dough as the "bread," milkshakes, sundaes and cookie dough ice cream pies with a cookie crust (um, yes please).

The taste matches up to the stuff you scraped out of the bowl as a kid.

It's soft and creamy, with a slight grit from the sugar you can feel against your teeth. It's so sweet and rich you wonder if you can take another bite but then manage to polish off three more cookies-worth of batter. The dough can even be put in the oven and deliver a normal batch of cookies.

And that, I think, is why the public is going so crazy over the treat: It's the real deal with none of the guilt (unless you're watching your waistline).

It's why those two college girls in front of me in line called their airline to make sure they could bring cookie dough on the plane.

It's why the boy waiting next to them was able to persuade his uncle to forgo being on time for a New York Rangers hockey game so he could be "the best uncle ever" and treat his nephew to a cup of the sought-after dessert. And it's why that same uncle went off on a teenager who tried to cut us in line because if we had to wait for more than two hours, so did she.

New York City is packed with art, theater, museums and monuments.

So yeah, if it's your first time visiting the Big Apple, I can't say you should pick cookie dough over the Empire State Building or tracing your ancestry on Ellis Island. But if you've been before and have a few hours, grabbing a friend to check out this hot spot isn't a waste of time — no matter what the nondough eaters say.

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.

       
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