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The irony wasn't lost on the Mayo Clinic employees who came out on their lunch hour and wound up buying scoops of edible raw cookie dough.

"Want to know what we do for a living?" asked Kelly Melhorn, who along with two co-workers was digging into a mound of chocolate chip cookie dough with a spoon. "We're dietitians."

The cookie dough craze that started on the East Coast and has taken social media by storm has finally worked its way to Minnesota. A safe-to-consume version of the stuff everyone loves to eat out of the mixing bowl — even though they're not supposed to — is just the latest fad food to take over cupcakes' onetime reign.

With the Dough Boys' food truck launch outside the Mayo Clinic in Rochester earlier this month, and the debut of Dough Dough in downtown Minneapolis two weeks ago, Minnesota is firmly on the cookie dough map.

"Everybody does cheese curds," said Dough Boys mastermind Cory Scrabeck. "You have to do something that's different."

But just how did Minnesota go from zero cookie dough food trucks to two in a matter of weeks? Blame it on the internet.

Scrabeck was, in fact, about to do cheese curds himself. He got a trailer-turned-kitchen and intended to drive it down to Nashville, where the deep-fried nuggets of cheese so ubiquitous in the Upper Midwest are less common. The plan fell through, though. When he saw a viral video on social media of a new and wildly popular cookie dough shop in New York City called DO, he had another idea.

Meanwhile, Haley and Tony Fritz, who have been on the Minneapolis food truck scene for four years with their O'Cheeze grilled-cheese truck, were thinking about branching into cookie dough to keep things interesting. They were already testing recipes when they found out about DO, which often has lines down the block. Their plan had been to sell the cookie dough with their sandwiches, but when they saw how much people wanted this once-forbidden treat, they went all out.

"I realized it was a lot bigger than we think it is," Haley Fritz said. "I was like, 'OK, let's turn this into a full concept.' "

The Fritzes took a 30-hour trip to New York City to stand in line at DO (and grab several slices of pizza), came back and quickly launched their new venture, Dough Dough.

They hope to "push boundaries," Tony Fritz said, by adding all kinds of unusual flavors, even some that venture toward the savory.

The beloved treat has heretofore been unsafe to sell without at least the intention that it would be cooked later. Raw eggs and uncooked flour can carry all kinds of gut-wrenching foodborne illnesses. The Dough Boys buy pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour, which renders the dough safe to eat. Dough Dough heats its own flour to the requisite 160 degrees, and skips the eggs entirely. One offering, German Chocolate Cake, even avoids the flour and butter — it's both gluten-free and vegan.

Since Dough Boys' Rochester opening May 1, Scrabeck and co-owner Carissa Merritt have seen the lines only get longer. They've added evening hours and booked events throughout the summer in Minnesota and Iowa. They keep adding new flavors, and plan to develop some gluten-free and low-sugar recipes more appropriate for some of Mayo's patients.

For now, the fad is on fire.

"It's insane," Merritt said. "We run out every single day."

Sharyn Jackson • 612-673-4853





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