Neiman Marcus Cookies

The story behind these Neiman Marcus cookies may be an urban legend but the resulting oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is very, very real.

A stack of Neiman Marcus cookies on wooden board with a bottle of milk and a jar of chocolate chips.

You’ve encountered the Neiman Marcus cookie urban legend before, yes? The story of the $250 cookie recipe? According to author Jessie Oleson Moore, “As the story goes (and there are many variations), a woman and her daughter are shopping at Neiman Marcus and snacking on a chocolate chip cookie in the luxe department store’s café. Impressed, they ask for the recipe. They’re informed that it will come with a ‘two-fifty’ charge, which will be put on the mother’s account. Not bad for a good chocolate chip cookie recipe, right? But as it later turned out, the amount billed was $250, not a mere $2.50. Incensed, the mom photocopies the recipe for the chocolate chip cookie and shares it with all her friends, urging them to share it with their friends, so that the store will never make another penny off this cookie—and, more altruistically, so that it may be enjoyed by all.”

Chances are it’s just an urban legend. As Moore goes on to explain, “Before the emergence of this legend, the department store didn’t sell chocolate chip cookies, much less have a recipe to share. But after the legend started circulating, you can bet your bottom dollar they got themselves a cookie recipe. Yes, indeed—they created a cookie in response to the demand created by all the hubbub. Neiman Marcus has published the recipe in one of their cookbooks (which, by the way, retails for less than $250). That version of the cookie recipe differs from the recipe for the people’s cookie. It yields a great cookie—and a great number of them. In essence, this recipe is an interesting riff on classic chocolate chip cookies—some would even say it’s an improvement. What appears to be an alarming amount of chocolate in this recipe actually doesn’t come across as excessive, so fear not.”

Behold, the people’s cookie recipe. Originally published September 13, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredient Note

The best part about these tender, nutty, not-too-sweet chocolate chip cookies isn’t the legend. It’s the resulting taste and texture that come from using oat flour. (No worries. You don’t have to buy some pricey, hard-to-find ingredients. Just blitz some oats in a blender until powdery and flour-like before adding them to the dough.) What results is a slightly delicate, intensely chocolatey cookie with an atypically tender texture and an enigmatically nutty taste.

Kindly note that the recipe below makes half a batch of the original chocolate chip cookie recipe, seeing as the actual cookie recipe makes an enormous number of cookies. [Editor’s Note: There are worse things than stashing chocolate chip cookie dough safely away in the freezer for future cravings. We’ve learned from experience to intentionally mislabel the container of dough, for what we think are obvious reasons.]

Neiman Marcus Cookie

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 4 dozen 2-inch cookies
5/5 - 3 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the oat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low or with a handheld mixer on medium-high, beat the butter and both sugars until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, 1 at a time, pausing after each addition to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture gradually, in 2 to 3 additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stop using the mixer and gently stir in the chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and nuts. Drop 1-inch balls or blobs of the chocolate chip cookie dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool for a couple of minutes before carefully transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will be rather tender and delicate, so treat them accordingly. (You can store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.)

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I’ve been holding onto this Neiman Marcus cookie recipe since sometime around 1984, which is when I clipped it from the Omaha World-Herald (or was it the Des Moines Register? I can’t recall which...) with the scissors my mom usually reserved for cutting coupons from the Sunday paper. I was 12 and loved to bake and lived on a farm in Iowa, so there wasn’t much else to do for excitement besides clip recipes. My grandma was a hard-core recipe clipper, so it's in my genes. It was several years before I actually made the recipe, seeing as we didn’t have anything as fancy as a blender with which to blitz the oats into a powdery flour. But when I make it for the first time, whoa! It was a chocolate chip cookie revelation. They were sorta crinkly on top. Slightly but not terribly gooey in the center. A little nutty. Gobsmackingly chocolatey. Laced with just the right amount of crunch from the occasional walnut. And delicately tender in a sorta chewy, sorta cakey way. And the dough when snuck by the spoonful? Lord, oh Lord. I was smitten. I still am. I’ve made these cookies countless times, either exactly according to the recipe or, more times than not, with all milk chocolate, a few times with all dark chocolate, even once with chopped dried Turkish figs and pumpkins seeds and walnuts stirred in for a granola-like cookie. I’ve never, ever had a bad batch. They're not for everyone, as some folks I know prefer the sweeter, gooier, more familiar Toll House cookie. But not me.

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Comments

  1. This is not the real recipe. I actually made the real thing back in 2004. Unfortunately, I lost the recipe. The real thing will cost more than $125 in all the different types of chocolate and ingredients required. It was so decadent and excessive that I refused to place everything required for two reasons: 1, cost too much and 2, I could not imagine all that was going to be anything more than a pile of sugar when cooked together. The complexity to make it was beyond my knowledge and understanding. When my friend was finished baking those cookies… it was nothing less than divine. Superb. I won my church best-baked item that year. That mess you have listed here is not worth cussing about… It’s just a shame.

    1. Hey, Patrick. There are so many variations, versions, redos, and mash-ups of the recipe that it’s hard to keep count. These cookies are just like the urban legend they spawned–everyone is sure they have the right one. Yours sound amazing!

  2. I finally decided to try this recipe after a couple of years of printing it. I wasn’t impressed, little too sweetness and too dry for my liking. I usually tweak recipes after first try but I noticed your recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter, where all of the other copies call for 1 stick with same amount of other ingredients. Maybe that would help with the dryness part of it.

    1. Ann, sorry to hear these weren’t what you were seeking. As we tried to explain above the recipe, these aren’t your typical chocolate chip cookie recipe. The oatmeal flour in these cookies lends the cookies their drier, coarser texture that’s almost more like an oatmeal cookie than a chocolate chip cookie. But as you say, this recipe doubles the butter, so it’s not as dry as other versions. If you tell me what kind of cookies you do like, I’d be happy to recommend a different cookie more aligned with that.

  3. I like this cookie recipe A LOT. It’s too bad we can’t taste the finished product from each reader. There are so many variants…and magic! My Mom’s chocolate chip cookies were the same EVERY TIME she made them. We all used the same recipe, my brother even made them at Mom’s house one time, and we couldn’t replicate her cookies. Even still, not a bad cookie in the bunch.

    1. I so agree with what you say, Penny. There’s just something about an individual’s way of being, stirring, baking that expresses itself in the final results. It’s impossible to recreate another’s touch in the kitchen. And I’m really glad to hear you’re a fellow fan of this recipe, too.

  4. In The Urban Legion, all these legends are true, but in a fun, twisted way. Here’s how this one is treated:
    “…We request that you extract all valuable information—without triggering any booby traps this time.”
    There was brief silence. François guessed that the usually arrogant young technologist was recalling the previous fiasco, when his team had attempted to retrieve a stolen Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe from a recovered laptop. A sentry program had detected their tampering and emailed the recipe all over the Internet, ruining its value. M’sieur Cherbek surely understood that equally disastrous cyber-mines awaited him in the abandoned truffle farm.

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