Years ago when we were kids my parents and the other parents in the neighbourhood used to get together leaving all the kids outside to play. We would run around each other’s backyards like the hooligans we were playing until the sun went down until, finally exhausted, we would gather in a semicircle outside in the dark and take turns at telling the scariest stories we could think of. You know the sort of thing: “a couple was driving along a deserted road and their car runs out of petrol, the young man gets out and …..” well let’s just say things don’t end up well for him.
Back then they were just extremely scary stories designed to see who got scared and generally had kids cowering under the covers at night. As a kid I believed these stories, but of course I now know they are just urban myths. Although the other night I was driving home it was very dark and…..
Years later while working in the hotel pastry kitchen I came across another urban myth in the guise of the recipe for the Neiman Marcus cookie. Now I am not sure if I am the only person on the planet that had never heard this story of revenge and spite about a woman charged $250 for the prized Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, but I was intrigued by it. Not so much by the story itself because after all it was just your standard “you did me wrong now I will exact revenge story”, but more by the history and the recipe behind it.
If like me you haven’t heard this story before in a nutshell it goes something like this..
“A woman and her daughter were having lunch at the department store Neiman Marcus and decided to have dessert. Being cookie lovers they both had the NM cookie. Loving them so much she asked the waitress for the recipe. The waitress says no, but NM were prepared to sell the recipe for two fifty to which the woman said charge it to my Visa.
Long story short the woman gets charged $250 for the recipe and is so outraged she rings the NM accounting department to complain. She is told she has the recipe so there will be no refund. In revenge the woman has spread the recipe around the world begging everyone to pass it on to everyone they know so that no one else will have to pay for it”.
To this day they still don’t know who started this urban myth or who’s kitchen the cookie recipe came out of, although from all accounts it is a very good cookie. In all the research I did I couldn’t find anyone that had put their hand up and said it was their recipe.
Neiman Marcus denied this story was true and didn’t even have a cookie on the menu at the time. It didn’t stop them from going on to produce a cookie recipe that they now give away for free.
One of the things I did find fascinating was that in every version that I read the recipe remained exactly the same throughout the telling, It’s a fact of life that recipes change, they are passed from person to person and small adjustments are made to suit individual tastes along the way. Maybe it’s just that the whole story was e-mailed from one person to another so unlike a verbal retelling where things get changed it managed to get passed on word for word.
The verdict, I really liked this cookie (or biscuit as we call them in Australia). There is a good base for a cookie here and you can eat them just as they are or add some other fruit, nuts or spices to make something a little bit different.
So, the moral of this story….. always check your credit card receipt before you leave the store :)
Neiman Marcus Cookie
Adapted from the Neiman Marcus “Urban Myth” Cookie – The original cookie has a Hershey bar in it, I substituted milk chocolate chips.
- 250gm rolled oats
- 200gm unsalted butter
- 200gm caster sugar
- 160gm brown sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 300gm plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 340gm dark chocolate chips
- 110gm milk chocolate chips
- 150gm walnuts, chopped.
Blend the rolled oats in a food processor until it is the consistency of flour.
Cream the butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in a stand mixer until light and creamy.
Add eggs one at a time mixing between additions. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
Add the flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the butter mix. Mix on low speed until fully combined.
Remove from mixer then add dark and milk chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, mix together with a wooden spoon until the chocolate and nuts are evenly spread through the mixture.
Roll into balls and place 2″ apart on pre prepared tray.
Note: They don’t say in the original recipe how big to make the cookies, I did a mixture of medium and large. It is no problem to do this just remember to keep all small or all large on the same tray that way they will bake evenly and all be ready at the same time.
Bake for 10-14 minutes @ 180ºC.
Leave on the oven tray for 5 minutes to harden before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.