There is an urban myth. About an American department store that had a café with great cookies. Allegedly. A woman managed to get her hands on the recipe and loaded it to the World Wide Web. This is the recipe. Allegedly. In any case, it's been my family's go-to choc chip cookie recipe for well over 20 years (wowser, I'm old). Granted, we've made modifications but this ain't your standard (greasy) Subway cookie, though it's not dry. It's certainly not home-made tasting. Except it is. It's so wholesome, it's almost like eating porridge. Almost.
Check out the end for a bonus recipe! I recently made my son's birthday cake using this cookie and considering adding it to a weekly rotation!
The Neiman Marcus cookie myth:
- Lady dines at a Neiman Marcus café (perhaps early 90s? timing is a mystery)
- Lady enjoys a choc chip cookie and asks waiter if recipe might be shared
- Waiter says 'Sure, for two fifty'
- Lady says, 'Bargain! Charge it to my card'
- Lady gets credit card bill with $250 charge for cookie recipe
- Legend has it that Lady got annoyed and revenge posted the recipe online. Suck it, Neiman Marcus!
- Other sources say Neiman Marcus denied it all, but made up a recipe for free to take advantage of the publicity. Who knows? Who cares? All we care about is cookie.
So, how our family got this recipe in the days where the Internet was sketchy, is, at best, a bit of a mystery. But I have fond mems of eating these throughout my childhood and my mum as a minimum-choc-chip-per-cookie guarantee (there's nothing more sad than a cookie with >1 chip). So, here I am today sharing the myth, sharing the recipe, and mucking things up with a slight change to it.
The $250 Department Store Cookie Recipe, Modified.
Makes around 50 depending on how big you want them, takes about 20 mins to prep, 7-10 mins to cook.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed (as with all our family recipes, you can very well halve or 3/4 the sugar and they still taste divine)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2½ cups oats - you'll need to BLEND these, don't just cheat and get quick oats as the cookies won't congeal together!
- 2 cups plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Almost a full packet of Nestle Dark Choc Chips - also important! Nestle taste is the best - and don't get Melts as they're compound chocolate
- 1 cup chopped hazelnuts - you could do walnuts or other, but these are our fave
The original recipe makes over 120 cookies, which, to be fair, sounds right if a café were making them to sell. I've halved it so you don't get overwhelmed with biscuits, though you're welcome to create a mountain of them and double up again. We always end up less though, as I flatten the rolls of dough to the size I want as they generally just rise vs spread out when they're cooking - and I like a larger flat cookie.
- Heat oven to 190 degrees
- Cream butter, white and brown sugar
- Mix in eggs and vanilla
- Blend oats to a fine consistency in a food processor
- Combine the oatmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a bowl
- Mix in the wet ingredients and beat just until combined.
- Throw in those choc chips and hazelnuts
- At this point, if you're into raw cookie dough, you're welcome to sample the goods. Generally 2-3 golf-ball-sized mouthfuls are quite satisfying.
- Get a greased baking tray or cookie sheet and get a heaped tablespoon of mixture and roll into a ball
- Smoosh it onto the tray and squish down with a fork. They will expand a little, but they'll rise a little too - make the size of cookie you want at the end, and it'll expand up to another 1cm.
- Spread out your cookies by maybe 2-3cm
- THIS IS IMPORTANT: I don't know your oven. Heck, I don't even know mine. I usually set a timer for 6 minutes then WATCH THEM LIKE A HAWK. As soon as there's even a HINT of brown on the outside of 1 cookie, they're out of the oven. Sometimes this can be up to 9 mins.
- They will look semi raw and you WILL panic. But they will set and they will be delicious.
- In my opinion, they're best served straight outta the fridge. For breakfast :)
BONUS BITS: ICE CREAM SANDWICHES & GIANT COOKIES
If you're into ice cream sandwiches or giant cookies, this recipe is great to use.
- I've made 2 giant cookies and layered them with a little icing as a 'cakie' (ie. cookie cake)
- I've made 2 giant gingerbread-man tin cookies and sandwiched them with plain vanilla ice cream mixed with chopped Oreos. Both exquisite.
- You can also just pop a little ice cream in between the regular-sized cookies and don't blame me if you finish them all in one sitting. You've been warned.
For giant cookies, the key is to make the dough as thin as you would a regular cookie - and roll it out in a cake tin or using a rolling pin to make it EVEN! Then, when cooking, WATCH THEM LIKE A HAWK. Same principle on the brownness, despite the size.
Here are some photos of occasions I've used the recipe. Naturally, the cookies don't last long so I don't have many pictures of them. 1: Circa 2008 enjoying cookies on top of Bald Rock, Stanthorpe. 2. Circa 2011, boyfriend at the time, Joe, with his 'cakie'. 3. The recent giant ice cream man sandwich for our son's birthday.
You can see that this recipe is very well loved, and clearly delicious. Go forth and cookie.
Yours in delicious urban myths,