Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie

For those of you who know me, you know that I lead my life the way President Reagan was taught by the Russians — trust, but verify.

In the late 1900s (gosh that sounds like a long time ago!), about thirty years after Al Gore created the Internet, I received an email about a Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie.  The email was a rant, someone claimed to have paid $250 for the recipe and wanted to “stick it to the big man” by sending everyone and their cousin the recipe.Neiman-Cookies

But receiving this email coincided with my first job as a Professional Pastry Chef!  Okay, well, it wasn’t a job exactly, and I wasn’t a professional.  But I did have my first Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  At least that part is true… 🙂

Anyway, as I looked over the recipe that baked somewhere like a hundred dozen cookies, the ingredient mix just didn’t look right.  For example, it seemed there was just a bit too much baking power, and too much baking soda, which would have resulted in what I believed to be a bitter cookie.

So, in true form to doveryai no proveryai (Russian proverb Trust but Verify), I called Neiman Marcus.  The conversation went something like this:

Nice Neiman Marcus lady:  Hello, this is Neiman Marcus, how may I help you?

Mark:  Hi Mrs. Neiman Marcus!  I received an email today about a Neiman Marcus cookie recipe that cost $250, can you give me some idea of what all this is about?

NM: Well, thank you for calling us!  That is a nice chain letter that as far as we can tell started sometime in the 1970s, before Neiman Marcus even had a bakery or any baked goods.

Mark:  Haha, well, I thought it might be a hoax.

NM:  It actually is better than a hoax.  We had so much free publicity that we decided to create a cookie.

Neiman Marcus wound up sending me a gift wrapped box of cookies along with the recipe.  I was quite impressed — not only with their response, but with the cookie itself!

So what is the take away from this experience?  Never trust an email.  Never trust gossip.  Always verify sources and information.  And most importantly, bake these cookies!  They rock!


NM Cookie Recipe

 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds).
  • Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
  • 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.
  • 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

Reference documents

  1. Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.
    http://www.neimanmarcus.com/assistance/assistance.jsp?itemId=cat33940741#cookierecipe&navid=redirectNMcookierecipe&eVar6=chocolate+chip+cookie+recipe
  2. Al Gore never actually said he created the Internet, that’s just a funny story for those of us who remember it.  Read here for more.
    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp
  3. Even Snopes talks about the famous Neiman Marcus Cookie!
    http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/cookie.asp
  4. Trust, but verify.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust,_but_verify