The $250 Neiman-Marcus Cookie

Sometimes me think, what is friend? And then me say: A friend is someone to share last cookie with.

Cookie Monster

One of my most favorite things is a dense, chewy, delicious chocolate chip cookie. It’s also one of my favorite gifts to make during the holiday season. Here’s why:

  1. This recipe was given to me by one of the greatest teachers on Earth. She was my mentor and she is the sole reason I made it through my first two years of teaching. She used to make this recipe every week. One Saturday I was standing in her kitchen, tried a cookie and told her it was the best cookie I’d ever had. In her classic way of being endlessly generous, she handed me her copy of the recipe right then and there. I still have it and love that I get to think of her every time I make these gems. And now I get to pass it on to even more teachers! Thanks, Molly.
  2. The recipe has a financial legend behind it! The story goes that a woman was dining in a Neiman-Marcus department store and loved the cookie that she ordered. She asked the waiter for the recipe, and he said it would cost “two fifty.” She thought he meant $2.50 and agreed, only to see a charge of $250 appear on her credit card later. She then proceeded to share the recipe with as many people as possible to stick it to Neiman-Marcus. This urban legend goes as far back as 1948, and although it has been disproven, the cookies are the best I’ve ever had and the story just makes them even better!
  3. I LOVE giving gifts. Choosing or making just the right gift is one of my favorite ways to show my friends and family how much they mean to me. At the same time, the excessive consumption and waste that often goes along with the holidays makes me more than a little crazy. My goal is always to buy eco-friendly, fair trade, thoughtful gifts that support important causes, or to make gifts from scratch. These cookies are on the top of my homemade gift list. One recipe makes enough to divvy up into at least 4 gifts, so you can accomplish a LOT with one baking session!

I’ve made a few modifications to the original recipe over the years, which make these the extra-delicious t-bone steak of chocolate chip cookies. I’ll put the original recipe ingredients in parenthesis wherever I’ve made changes in case you like a little lighter version!

  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups finely ground whole wheat flour (original recipe is for all purpose flour)
  • 5 cups blended oatmeal
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz of milk chocolate, finely grated (original recipe calls for Hershey’s)
  • 3 cups nuts (I’m a Puritan and never use nuts, but of course add them in if you like!)

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal (finely blended in food processor or blender), salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, ground chocolate, and nuts (if desired). 

Roll into balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies. 

I like bigger cookies, so I get more like 70 out of a recipe and have to bake them a bit longer, about 14 minutes. They are still very floppy when they come out of the oven, but firm up and have the most delicious texture once they cool!