Neiman Marcus $250 Cookies

Southern Kitchen

Neiman Marcus $250 Cookies

Serves: Makes 7 to 8 dozen 2-inch cookies

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups oatmeal (see note)

2 cups all-purpose flour (see note)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, grated (see note)

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts


Place a rack in the top third of the oven, and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Set aside two ungreased baking sheets.

Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl, and with an electric mixer beat on medium speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the machine, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined and smooth, 1 minute.

Place the oatmeal in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until the oatmeal is finely ground, 10 to 15 seconds. Place the oatmeal in a medium bowl and add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine the dry ingredients, and dump the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined, 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Fold in the chocolate chips, grated chocolate and nuts. Drop the batter by heaping 1-inch tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, on the baking sheets. Bake until the cookies just begin to crisp around the edges but are still a little soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest on the pan for 1 minute, then, using a spatula, transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

Recipe reprinted with permission from American Cookie: The Snaps, Drops, Jumples, Tea Cakes, Bars & Brownies That We Have Loved for Generations, copyright 2018 by Anne Byrn. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

About the recipe

Before the internet, this cookie recipe made its rounds via chain letters and by word of mouth. It was called the Neiman Marcus $250 Cookie, but in spite of the fancy name it was just an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. A wonderful chocolate chip cookie, by the way — distinctive because it contained not only semisweet but milk chocolate as well as chopped pecans.

Anne Byrn used old-fashioned oats in this recipe, but you can use quick-cooking oats; just skip the step of pulsing in the food processor. As for flour, use bleached or unbleached. Unbleached flour will create a cookie with more shape and bite to it. The original recipe called for Hershey’s milk chocolate, but our tastes today gravitate to a less sweet chocolate, so the addition of grated chocolate is your chance to customize this recipe. Use a bittersweet or semisweet for a stronger chocolate punch. Use milk chocolate if you like a sweet creaminess. Grate the chocolate with a cheese grater or cut the chocolate into shavings with a heavy, sharp knife. For a modern touch, use grated bittersweet chocolate and sprinkle the cookies with a little sea salt before baking. The salt really brings out the flavor of the dark chocolate.