The Neiman-Marcus $250 Cookie Recipe

by - March 24, 2009

I got an email the other day for a chocolate chip cookie recipe which was supposed to have cost the original recipient $250. Pricey but intriguing. I was going to have to make these...

To cut a long story short, a lady and her daughter were enjoying the cookies at the Neiman-Marcus Café in Dallas so much they asked the waitress for the recipe. It turns out the recipe was available to purchase for the bargain price of "two-fifty". When the lady got her credit card statement thirty days later the cookie recipe was listed not as $2.50 as she had understood, but $250.00. When she tried to get the money back, the NM accounts team refused her as she had already seen the recipe. As her revenge, the lady decided to distribute the Neiman-Marcus recipe by way of an email chain, encouraging everyone to pass it on.

Here it is:

The recipe makes a lot of cookies so halve or quarter unless you are the Cookie Monster. I made a quarter and got 22 decent cookies. I've worked out everything in grams for us UKers.

2 cups (450g) butter
4 cups (440g) flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups (400g) sugar
5 cups (400g) blended oatmeal
24 ounces (680g) chocolate chips
2 cups (400g) packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) (225g) grated chocolate
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups (300g) chopped nuts (your choice)

1. Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
2. Cream the butter and both sugars.
3. Add eggs and vanilla.
4. Mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda.
5. Add chocolate chips, grated chocolate and nuts.
6. Roll into balls and place 2-inches apart on a cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 10 minutes at 375°F / 190°C or until golden.

I like this story and the recipe does in fact yield some darn fine cookies. You can imagine the sugar rotting away your teeth–the sign of a good cookie–and they aren't too chocolaty, despite having two kinds in it.

But the sceptic in me got me a-Googling. Turns out this email has been circulating since 1996 at a time when Neiman-Marcus didn't even sell chocolate chip cookies. It also reflects another popular urban legend about a recipe for a red velvet cake from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel which cost $25, big bucks in the 40's from when the story started.

The story is now so famous that Neiman-Marcus got their chefs to create a real cookie recipe which they happily distribute (free of charge of course) so great publicity for them. I do like these stories, I guess it's how recipes are passed from person to person and I can think of worse subjects in my spam mail!

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