Once a good cookie recipe, always a good one, and this is true of the $250 Neimam Marcus Cookie. It is associated with the luxury Neiman-Marcus department store chain which is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The cookie is a great one for the holiday season — it is a chewy and loaded chocolate chip cookie with nutty oatmeal and walnuts. My work supervisor made these as a Christmas present one year and shared the recipe which I have saved all these years. I found it again while sorting through recipes files.
Neiman-Marcus “The Christmas Book” Catalog
The Neiman-Marcus department store was founded in 1907 in Dallas, Texas, and now has 42 stores. Thus, it is is over 100 years old. It is known for its high-end, unique and extravagant gift items and caters to the very wealthy population. Although we didn’t have a store nearby in the 1990’s, the chain did occasionally mail out small clothing multi-page flyers (mini catalogs). These clothing items were more affordable. I loved to skim through the flyers and purchased several of the more folksy-casual tops and skirts over the years. I truly I loved these outfits, and of course, never gave them away. Now they have a formal name — “vintage” — and daughter will search through my closets from time to time for old clothing items. Her friends can’t believe the great and fashionable clothes she has!
The best catalog was “The Christmas Book.” If you purchased enough items throughout the year, you were mailed this special catalog. It was truly a “wish book” and was alot of fun to look through. Every year a very pricey gift item was offered. One time it was “his” and “hers” submarines. I often wondered if anybody ever bought those pricey “toys.”
Cookie Recipe and Story
I have collected a large file of cookie recipes over the years. Cookies are simple to make and everybody loves them. A good cookie recipe is a lasting one and such as the $250 Neimam-Marcus Cookie. Apparently my work supervisor made them one year at Christmas as a gift and gave me the recipe. Often this recipe was shared in a chain letter — you received a letter with the recipe and the names and addresses of six people. You marked off the top name and sent it on to six more new people, adding your name at the bottom. Thus, the recipe exponentially spread across the country.
There is a story behind the recipe. According to recounts (see reference), a shopper ate the cookie at the Dallas Neiman-Marcus store and asked for the recipe. The waitress mumbled 250. The patron thought this meant $2.50 but when she received the bill for the recipe it was $250.00. Unable to convince the store to refund her money, she vowed to share the recipe with anyone and everyone.
This recipe makes a huge batch. I cut the recipe in half, then in fourths. This small batch still made 36 cookies. The cookie was very dry the first time I made it — I reduced the oatmeal and flour and still needed to add a tiny bit of water. I like my cookies to spread out! The baked cookie should be chewy but not dry. It should be slightly under-baked.
This is a “loaded” cookie and needs to have all the ingredients included to taste like an “expensive” cookie. In addition to chocolate chips, it includes a grated Hershey’s milk chocolate bar — the first secret ingredient. Grate it up finely using a food processor. Don’t leave this out — it adds a nice chocolate flavor.
The second surprise ingredient in the cookie is oatmeal which is finely ground up; use the same food processor bowl as the milk chocolate bar. I tried both old-fashioned oatmeal and quick-cooking oatmeal. Both work and give a nutty flavor. The old-fashioned oatmeal gives a little crunch and I liked this one the best. The walnuts also add to the flavor and crunch of the cookie, so don’t omit this ingredient.
The key to this cookie is to get everything ready and ground up first. Then the steps include creaming the butter, sugars and egg and adding in the flour mixture and combining in the other ingredients. This goes quickly. I used a small kitchen scoop to portion out the cookies. They are baked in a hot 375 degree oven. They should be just turning brown on top and bottom; slightly under-baked, so I took them out of the oven after 7 or 8 minutes; not 10 minutes as the original recipe states.
A Small Batch of $250 Neiman-Marcus Cookies
- 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (yields 3/4 cup when ground up)
- 2 oz Hershey milk chocolate bar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature and softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 to 2 Tbsp cup water (optional)
- 1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips
Method and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, very lightly oil baking sheets.
- With food processor, pulse oatmeal until blended to a fine powder. (If a few chunks remain, that’s okay.) Set aside.
- Grate Hershey milk chocolate bar to a fine grind with hand grated or with grater disk of food processor. Set aside.
- If needed, chop walnuts to a find grind by hand or with chopper blade of food processor. Set aside.
- Cream butter with both sugars.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt.
- Add flour mixture and blended oatmeal to liquid ingredients.
- If dough does not cling into a ball (if it is too dry), add 1 Tbsp water at a time up to 2 Tbsp maximum until dough forms. Dough should be slightly sticky.
- Stir in grated Hershey bar, finely chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
- Use a kitchen scoop or two spoons to portion out into cookies about 1 heaping Tablespoon each.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Do not over-bake. Tops should just begin to turn brown. Loosen bottoms of cookies and remove from cookie sheet while still warm.