Urban Myths and The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

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.

Makes 35-45

  • 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.


17 thoughts on “Urban Myths and The Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

  1. kandee2013

    I’ve never heard this story but … I loved your telling of it ! I too used to play outside ALL DAY as a child … and had to be begged to come in for meals !! Today’s kids will never know what fun it was to be outside, … PLAYING all day. Nice read LGCD 🙂

  2. laurasmess

    I’ve never heard of this myth… interesting! Looks like a delicious cookie, wherever it originated! The whole ‘car on a deserted road’ thing though… argh, that myth scared the heck out of me in high school. We used to tell that sort of thing whilst sitting around campfires (drinking Emu Export, can you believe?! Ugh!).

    1. lemongrovecakediaries Post author

      While I was studying urban myths I actually found the “car on the deserted road” story – it was almost word for word the same as the one we told as kids. We used to tell the same stories on school camping trips as well – the scariest part is after the story telling, going off to the loo….by yourself….in the dark ahhhhhh

  3. David

    I love this urban myth, and all its minor variations I hear. And the cookies are really good, too. Like Karen, I have used dark chocolate but I actually think it is the milk chocolate that makes them unique!

  4. saucygander

    I’ve heard of that story/myth, and always intended to try the biscuits/cookies, I wonder how it got started? Is this like the foodies version of “if you pass this to less than 10 people you will have bad luck forever”? 🙂

  5. Karen

    Having grown up in Texas where Neiman Marcus originated, I have definitely heard the myth and of course had the cookies. I like them but use dark chocolate in mine. 🙂

  6. TheKitchenLioness

    Dear Karen, this is such a fun post – loved reading it and must admit that I had never heard of this story before either. Now, the recipe looks like it would be a huge hit at our house, I like these kinds of recipes – really good base with good quality ingredients and still room for a little bit of adjustment for pesonal preference – now I would like one of these cookies a.k.a. biscuits, please, because they look very tasty!
    Hope all is well and you had a really nice Easter weekend, my dear!

  7. Gather and Graze

    I’d not heard this one Karen, though one I had heard of was the Waldorf Astoria hotel charging a lady $300 for providing her with their Red Velvet Cake recipe…
    Regardless, these look like fabulous biscuits to me – absolutely worth two fifty! 😉

    1. lemongrovecakediaries Post author

      I found the Waldorf Astoria story when I researched this one, I think from memory that was making the rounds way before the NM cookie. It’s all good fun and yes these biscuits are definitely worth two fifty 🙂

  8. Jas@AbsolutelyJas

    I’d never heard that urban myth before. It would never happen here, but in America… I’d believe it was possible 🙂


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