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.–Renee Schettler

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.]

A stack of Neiman Marcus cookies on wooden board with a bottle of milk and a jar of chocolate chips.
4.75 / 8 votes
This Neiman Marcus cookies recipe, made with oatmeal and nuts, is an urban legend and very likely a hoax but makes a darn good chocolate chip cookie.
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
Servings24 servings
Calories366 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups oat flour, or oats blitzed in a blender until powdery
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, or chopped bittersweet or milk chocolate
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, (your choice)

Instructions 

  • 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.)
The Secret Lives of Baked Goods Cookbook

Adapted From

The Secret Lives of Baked Goods

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 366 kcalCarbohydrates: 43 gProtein: 6 gFat: 20 gSaturated Fat: 9 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 0.3 gCholesterol: 36 mgSodium: 108 mgPotassium: 205 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 24 gVitamin A: 265 IUVitamin C: 0.1 mgCalcium: 43 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 Jessie Oleson Moore. Photo © 2013 Clare Barboza. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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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.




About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




46 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This cookie, in my opinion, is better than making Toll House chocolate chip cookies. I came across this recipe about 20 years ago. I love using the oatmeal flour because it gives it a richness without the grainy texture of an oatmeal cookie. I love this cookie and everyone that has tasted them always wants me to make more.

  2. 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!

  3. This is the recipe for the Double Tree Chocolate chip cookies that you get when you check in.