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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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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  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.

  5. I really didn’t care for these either. They seem bland and dry to me. I would guess too many oats and flour. Think I’ll stick with the ATK recipe. I even like the toll house recipe better than these. ;(

    1. Sorry to hear that, Jolene. Guess it’s personal preference, as with most things, but thanks so much for giving them a try. Looking forward to hearing which other recipes on the site you make…

  6. Seems to be another Neiman Marcus recipe that calls for no oatmeal and powdered coffee. I had an ancient recipe that I thought had ground nut meal in it??

  7. Funny – Cannot picture them as gooey! I like the flavor of these very much, especially with chopped 80% chocolate, but I find that the batter is quite dry and crumbly as compared with other oatmeal and chocolate chip cookie recipes. Fortunately, they come together in the oven. I suspect these are really for the oatmeal cookie lovers, not the chocolate chip cookie purists among us. :)

    1. Yes, definitely not for purists, Beth! And you’re also quite right about the dough, which is very dry and crumbly. Though I find the resulting cookies to be tender and, yes, gooey when snuck hot off the baking sheet. Okay, maybe almost gooey…

  8. LOL! That $250 recipe story is an oldie, but goodie. I think in the late ’80s or ’90s, the story was called the “$250 Mrs. Field’s Cookie Recipe”, so it must be like having a person whisper a story to one person in a room and then that person whispers it to another, etc., etc. by the time it gets to the end, it has become Neiman Marcus’s cookie.

  9. I’ve baked these the last 12 yrs @ Christmas time, you can freeze them after they’re baked & cooled so you always have fresh cookies thru the season!

    1. Ah, tam, I’d completely forgotten that I used to do that, thank you! During summers as a kid I’d eat them straight from the freezer. The cookie equivalent of frozen Snickers.

  10. I must be the only person alive who doesn’t care for this recipe. The first time I looked at it (probably 30+ years ago-yikes!) I thought “there’s too much flour and oats and not nearly enough salt in this recipe.” but I made it as written. I was right. It wasn’t chewy and the cookie base was bland. I reduced the oats to 1 cup and used salted butter plus I increased the salt to 1 tsp, added 1 Tbsp of sour cream and used chopped chocolate rather than chocolate chips. Not perfect but, to my taste, better! In looking around the internet, this tale has many different versions of the cookie recipe, excluding the post legend recipe that Neiman Marcus now offers. Not glaring differences but they do vary, so who knows anymore what the original recipe circulated really was. I’m such a downer…sorry!

    1. Everyone has their preferences, Susan. There are probably plenty of cookies out there that you’re over the moon for and that I probably don’t care for. And that, my dear, is why there are so many blissfully different cookie recipes in existence.

        1. I agree, Susan. I made these a long time ago, and didn’t like them at all. There are so many great chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, and I’ve tried many—unfortunately, this recipe rated as one of the worst. The dough was too sweet with an overall bland taste, plus the texture was too soft and gooey. I like chocolate chip cookies with crispy edges and chewy centers, and unfortunately, these had neither. If it weren’t for the high quality bittersweet and semisweet chips I used, the cookies would have had no redeeming qualities. Out of the countless recipes I’ve tried so far, my favorite is Thomas Keller’s with my tweaks. Outstanding!

          1. Well, as I mentioned in my response to Susan, there are all sorts of folks in this world, and all sorts of cookies to match. Seems you’ve found one that suits you well. The world would be a better place if everyone could find a sort of security blanket equivalent of a chocolate chip cookie as you have and focus on the things that we have to be grateful for, don’t you agree?

  11. Can you freeze the dough as a log and cut coin-shaped slices?
    How long should they be baked if you want bigger cookies, say 6 per pan?

    1. Anna, yep, you can absolutely freeze the dough as a long and slice-and-bake as many cookies as you need to satisfy an urgent craving. Just allow a few extra minutes in the oven. As for bigger cookies, I haven’t baked them that way, so I can’t say…I’m a little concerned because the texture of these is hearty yet delicate, I worry large cookies may crumble really easily and even give you a very hard time getting them off the pan. If you want large cookies, I’d instead recommend baking some of the dough in a skillet or a baking dish as bars and cutting it into large slabs. Although again, I haven’t tried that approach with this particular recipe, and so I’m sorry, I can’t offer foolproof timing. Anyone else tried larger cookies or bar cookies with this recipe?

  12. Wonderful story. I love urban myths and the dopey things that people will believe. Even though it isn’t true it’s still in the realm of possibility, thanks for sharing.

    1. You’re so very welcome, carlrscott. Your comment reminds me of one of the quotes I love most. It’s from Alice in Wonderland, and it goes something like “Why, sometimes I’ve believe in six impossible things before breakfast.”

    1. Terrific, Veronica! Many thanks for letting us know. I’ve been meaning to try that. Tell me, please, did you use a store-bought gf flour blend or did you create your own?

      1. I make my own. I use a scoop and use 2 scoops brown rice flour and 1 scoop each millet flour, coconut flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, & arrowroot starch (you could use potato starch but I’m intolerant to all nightshades). I use this mixture, cup for cup, in place of all-purpose flour, adding 1/4 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour in the recipe.

        1. Veronica, thank you so much for sharing this, it sounds swell! Really looking forward to trying this. Again, thank you! And for what it’s worth, I’ve dallied with this recipe countless times over the years in terms of stir-ins, if ever you have a health-minded crowd around, toss in some chopped pumpkin seeds and chopped dried Turkish figs along with the walnuts. Not terrible at all!

      2. It is a given that you would need to use gluten free oats. I am one of the 10% of celiacs that can not tolerate even the gluten-free oats so I use quinoa flakes instead.

  13. Outstanding recipe…I’ve been making these for years…the large batch. The dough does indeed freeze well. The cookies are addictive, everyone loves them and they make fantastic ice cream sandwiches or crumble topping for a fruit pie/tart.

    This is one recipe everyone should have in their keeper box!!

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