16 December 2013

Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough

Oh boy, this is going to be a difficult one for me.  Ever since I spent a week in Lethbridge with my sister when I was 13 during her first year of university (which, irrelevant, but: we have since both agreed that she was really irresponsible), I have been in love with Pillsbury’s raw sugar cookie dough.  In case anyone is wondering about the connection here—although it should be obvious—my mum bought my sister one as part of a large grocery-haul and it just sat in the fridge.  Every single one of you should be familiar with the product I am talking about because it’s delicious.  I’m talking about the holiday sugar cookie dough that Pillsbury releases during specific holidays (definitely Halloween and Christmas, but I think Easter as well) that has coloured images of reindeer or pumpkins dyed into the dough itself.  It used to come in a tube and you had to slice off the cookies yourself, but now they come in pre-sliced pieces on a flat slab. 
For whatever reason, I was left to my own devices one evening, and I devised to slice off a sliver from the tube in my sister’s fridge without her being any the wiser.  But then I continued to slice off slivers until I had eaten over half the tube.  I was in love.  Ever since then, I have bought this cookie dough at least once a year, and sometimes several times during a single season.  I always go into it knowing that I am a disgusting human being, and with that in mind, rarely feel any shame when I eat the entire package in one evening.  My consumption rates probably peaked during my first year of university in Montreal because I lived in such wretched squalor and subsisted entirely on brown rice and coffee that more than once I suffered from fainting spells and needed to compensate by eating as much sugar as I possibly could as quickly as possible.

More recently, I bought the Halloween cookies this October while R was in New York on business.  I waited for him to leave so that he wouldn’t judge me (only to later find out that he also loves this cookie dough, but only eats it cooked, whereas I only eat it raw).  Again, I ate the majority of the pack in one evening, only to be crippled by pain and nausea.  It states quite clearly on the package that you should not eat the cookie dough raw, which is weird, because it’s not as if there’s any other way to eat it (no matter what R has to say about it). 

This pictures is the worst, but you
get the idea.
Following that harrowing experience, I abstained from buying any more cookie dough, even when the Christmas themed dough came out.  Until R came home from work with a package, and I allowed myself just one measly little raw cookie.  I did not get sick.  I am fairly certain that the reason I got sick before has less to do with the raw eggs and more to do with the sheer quantity I had consumed.

At any rate, no matter what this dough has done to me in the past, I have continued to love it because 1) raw cookie dough is delicious, 2) it is even more delicious when it comes in a package and you don’t have to make it yourself, and 3) there is so much dye in each cookie that it has that amazing artificial taste that I love so much (artificial colours is my favourite food).

It's embarrassing to admit that this was the "best series" of
pictures that I took documenting this moment... but it is.
Even though my hand looks like a novelty gag present from
Spencer's Gifts.

But there’s another kind of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough that comes in a shrink-wrapped tube and resembles a loaf of polenta or some gross sausage-type “food.”  And this is the sugar cookie dough that I am not happy with.  Not because the dough itself tastes any different from the seasonal cookie dough (with the obvious exception of the artificial dyes), but because the package showcases these beautiful star-shaped cookies with white icing and blue sugar crystals and promises “perfect shapes every time.”  And then Pillsbury was too cheap to throw in a complementary star-shaped cookie cutter or any icing and sugar!  And I know they could because I went through a pretty dark phase last year in which my diet consisted almost entirely of those Pillsbury cinnamon buns, which come in one a menacing vacuum-sealed tube that literally explodes open, but which also includes a little tub of icing that fits perfectly in the packaging.

Pillsbury easily could have repackaged these sugar cookies to accommodate the frosting and tacked on a cookie cutter, perhaps to the exterior of the package, for added value.  It wouldn't even have to be a stainless steel one; I would be perfectly happy with plastic.  Additionally, the cookies, when sliced from the loaf, didn’t even make perfect round cookies.  They cooked poorly and ran together and refused to lift off of the baking tray, which is a problem I never had with the seasonal sugar cookies.  When I wasn’t eating the dough straight from the loaf (ew, such a gross sentence), I had to eat the half-burnt/half-raw crumbs with a spoon because that was just the way these Pillsbury sugar cookies crumbled.

This was the most successful baking attempt. The photo
has since been instagram'd to Pillsbury and I am still
waiting for a response or a free voucher or something.
I'm not really sure where to go from here.  I've always found the Pillsbury brand really endearing: the "Pillsbury poke" really worked on me because that doughboy is beyond adorable.  I want to keep supporting this company partly because I imagine some of the money going directly to the doughboy and partly because Pillsbury is owned by General Mills, and I typically like their products (Lucky Charms, Green Giant), but it's hard to stay true to a brand you love when you no longer want to give that doughboy a playful poke in the tummy, but rather a forceful slap in the face. 

These "perfect cookies every time" are as broken as Pillsbury's promises.
To close things out, here's a picture of the wrapper itself:

You might also notice the "Do not eat raw cookie dough" warning.
This, just as much as the "Perfect shapes every time!" claim, is a bald-faced lie.
“Perfect shapes every time” — what a joke!
Forget your tummy, doughboy: your brain needs a poke.
Next holiday season when you roll out this sugar cookie dough,
Remember Pillsbury: you reap what you sow.
Don't be surprised if your sales take a tumble,
Your empire, like your cookies, will inevitably crumble.

But then again, let's stick to reality:
I gobbled these up in their entirety


  1. Let's just be clear here: your math is terrible. You weren't 13 during my first year of university. I started university when I was 17. You visited during my 3rd year. But oh my god, yes. I was horribly irresponsible. I continue to live with the regret.

    1. At any rate, let's not lose sight of what's important: I was 13.

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