There is a popular internet hoax about a customer seeking a “Neiman Marcus Cookie Receipe,” being grossly overcharged for it on her credit card, and, in revenge, spreading the recipe for free throughout cyberspace. Neiman Marcus didn’t even have a specific cookie recipe, but they added one—on the NM website, really and absolutely for free—in response to the hoax.
An urban myth is a modern folk tale, its origins unknown, its believability enhanced simply by the frequency with which it is repeated. Our signature chocolate chip cookie is the subject of one such myth. If you haven’t heard the story, we won’t perpetuate it here. If you have, the recipe below should serve to refute it. Copy it, print it out, pass it along to friends and family. It’s a terrific recipe. And it’s absolutely free.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)
2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.
4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Urban Legends Reference Pages
Claim: Neiman-Marcus charged a shopper $250 for its cookie recipe, not the $2.50 the woman had been expecting to pay. As revenge on the store for refusing to reverse the charge, she now provides the recipe for free and exhorts others to pass it along.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1996]
My daughter & I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas & decided to have a small dessert. Because our family are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the “Neiman-Marcus Cookie”. It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe and they said with a small frown, “I’m afraid not.” Well, I said, would you let me buy the recipe? With a cute smile, she said, “Yes.” I asked how much, and she responded, “Two fifty.” I said with approval, just add it to my tab.
Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00. I looked again and I remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, “Cookie Recipe - $250.00.” Boy, was I upset!! I called Neiman’s Accounting Dept. and told them the waitress said it was “two fifty,” and I did not realize she meant $250.00 for a cookie recipe. I asked them to take back the recipe and reduce my bill and they said they were sorry, but because all the recipes were this expensive so not just everyone could duplicate any of our bakery recipes....the bill would stand. I waited, thinking of how I could get even or even try and get any of my money back.
I just said, “Okay, you folks got my $250.00 and now I’m going to have $250.00 worth of fun.” I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover will have a $250.00 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus for nothing. She replied, “I wish you wouldn’t do this.” I said, “I’m sorry but this is the only way I feel I could get even,” and I will.
So, here it is, and please pass it to someone else or run a few copies....I paid for it; now you can have it for free. (Recipe may be halved):
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal**
24 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla
Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.
** measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
[End of Internet message—ed.]
Especially in their particular case, the legend is even more improbable than usual in that:
. Until quite recently there was no such thing as a “Neiman-Marcus” cookie. They developed a chocolate chip cookie in response to the rumor.
. There is no “Neiman Marcus Cafe” at any of the chain’s three Dallas-area stores. Instead, the restaurants are named Zodiac, Zodiac at North Park, and The Woods.
. Neiman Marcus does not sell recipes from its restaurants. The department store gives them away for free to anyone who asks.
19 May 1988, Frederick (MD) Post, pg. E2:
Have you heard the one about...
A new version of a great old urban myth has surfaced.
(Similar recipe information is printed—ed.)
My first call was to Neiman-Marcus. “That’s a story that pops up from time to time,” publicity manager Pat Zajak told me. Neiman-Marcus never charges for recipes, said Ms. Zajac. When it shares recipes with customers who request them occasionally, “We do it as a gesture of good will.”
Ms. Zajac said that she has heard similar stories about Mrs. Fields’ cookies and about a Denver restaurant.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, December 05, 2006 • Permalink