The Taste of Madison was held the weekend before classes started my sophomore year of college. In a desire to escape the endless “welcome, freshmen” activities at the dorms, I rounded up my roommate Nicole, boyfriend Dan and classmate Cordelia. I preferred the idea of tasting dishes from restaurants around the city than watching all the “kids” pointing to their palm to show where in the slightly-hand-shaped state of Wisconsin they hailed from.
Capitol Square was closed off to traffic to make way for the event. Within minutes of our walk up State Street towards the tent-lined square, I had pulled my long hair into a ponytail in an attempt to stay cool. Under the tents, vendors were using chest freezers, coolers and an endless number of fans to protect their offerings from the hot early September sun. To maximize our tasting opportunities, Dan and I decided to share every small plate we ordered. What this really meant was that we now had twice as many decisions to make, something that neither of us excel at.
We walked around the square once, paralyzed by all the options to choose from. We stood between two tents: one for a popular off-campus Thai restaurant, the other for an on-campus Indian place, looking back and forth between the two menus, unable to decide. Finally, we ordered a creamy, coconut milk-filled yellow curry from the Thai stand. We skipped the Wisconsin favorite, cheese curds, opting instead to try foods from new-to-us restaurants. I nibbled on an Italian beef sandwich, which I didn’t love and passed on to Dan.
And then we saw it. A blue and white tent, just like all the others, except this one had a sign proclaiming: “Bluephies: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Egg Rolls.” This was one purchase that took very little contemplation.
We carried our little paper tray away from the tent, settling in cross-legged on the grass in front of the Capitol building. It looked like an egg roll that you’d get from any cheap Chinese delivery, but it smelled of butter and sugar and chocolate, with an undertone of frying oil.
I was granted the honor of the first bite. By which I mean I didn’t give Dan the chance to taste first. I bit in, shattering the crunchy fried egg roll wrapping. Warm, gooey cookie dough oozed out from the cracks in the shell and onto my hand. I passed the tray to Dan, licking the stray cookie dough from my fingers.
After that first bite, Bluephies held a special place in our hearts. Parent visits always included a brunch at the funky modern restaurant. Countless dinner dates found us seated in a cozy booth in front of plates of spinach enchiladas, crab cake salads, shrimp jambalaya quesadillas or baked macaroni and cheese. But while our dinner orders often varied, our dessert choice rarely did. Nearly every Bluephies dinner date ended with an order of chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls. Two rolls drizzled with chocolate sauce were served a la mode in hopes that the sweet vanilla ice cream would help balance out the richness of the cookie dough. For the record, it worked.
One night when we were planning our wedding, Dan and I were more than a little overwhelmed with all there was to do. We had just come home from visiting a potential venue that we loved but weren’t sure we could afford. Being surrounded by the clutter of our text books and class notes wasn’t helping the situation, so we decided to get out of the apartment to talk over all the information. Off to Bluephies we went.
While Dan ate his enchilada combination platter and I slurped up my “ooey gooey pasta,” we flipped through the contracts, brochures and catering menus the museum had given us. When our table was cleared and the waitress asked if we were interested in dessert, we wasted no time in ordered the chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls.
I cut off the first bite of an egg roll, dipped my fork into the ice cream and speared the crispy shell. As I savored that first bite of hot contrasted with cold and rich contrasted with sweet, I had a flash of inspiration. I turned to Dan and said, “You know how we aren’t huge fans of wedding cake? What if we had these instead?”
At first, not everyone was on board with our new wedding dessert plan. “But everyone will be expecting cake,” my mom protested. “Wouldn’t it be so much easier to get a cake?” a friend asked. We held firm. This was our wedding and we wanted it to represent us and our lives as much as possible. We were already having Cordelia perform the ceremony and Dan’s a cappella group was going to sing our song in place of a reading, so what was one more off-the-beaten path decision?
A few hours into our reception at that very same museum, the waitstaff packed up the made-to-order salmon and gnocchi stations. Fewer and fewer trays of hors d’oeuvres were making the rounds. Then and only then did the chef begin to fry cookie dough egg rolls. One at a time, the frozen egg rolls were dropped into the hot oil, emerging brown and crisp mere minutes later. Slowly, the pile on the dessert platters grew into mountains of wrapped, fried cookie dough.
We didn’t smash our “cake” into each other’s faces, as many couples do. The egg rolls, in all their dripping cookie dough glory, were messy enough already.
Reprinted with permission from Bluephies' New American Cooking. The Showstopper, Crowd Pleaser, World Famous, One and Only: Bluephies Original Cookie Dough Egg Roll. Taaaaa daaaaaaaaa!
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/8 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/8 cup flour
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 24 egg roll wrappers, thawed
- 1/2 gallon of vegetable oil for frying
- Blend the butter and sugars in an upright mixer on low speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the water, vanilla, and salt; mix until well blended. Add the flour a little at a time. (If you add it all at once, you'll spend the next half-hour cleaning up the flour dust.) Blend the flour in completely. Finally, add the chocolate chips and just mix to combine.
- Put a small scoop of filling near one corner of an egg roll wrapper. Flatten the dough a bit and fold 1/3 of the wrap over it. Roll the egg roll toward the middle. Moisten with a bit of water and fold one side toward middle. Fold other side toward middle to make an envelope. Finish rolling. Moisten end-flap with a small amount of water, and seal egg roll.
- Be sure to freeze them before you fry them-- that way they'll hold together.
- Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a stockpot or large saucepan. Drop the egg rolls in gently, and fry them in batches for about 2 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Make Ahead and Storage
Freeze unfried egg rolls in airtight containers for up to 3 months.