The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (2024)

Food » Cookies 'n Cupcakes » The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies

Posted: | Last updated: by Erin K. Browne 34 Comments
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Last updated: 2/26/20

There's nothing more fun than arecipe with a story behind it, and these cookies are part of an urban legend that's been floating around for decades. Legend has it that a woman was charged $250 for the cookie recipe at Neiman-Marcus Cafe and seeks revenge by distributing the recipe to as many people possible. Snopes.comhas proven that the whole thing has no real truth behind it and Neiman-Marcus put out a statement claiming that they didn't even have a cookie recipe at the time the story started circulating. In fact, they later developed a recipein response to the story, though it differs greatly from the one in the original legend.

Here's an example of one of the original emails that circulated in 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."


The history of this urban legend Neiman Marcus cookie recipe can be traced back as far as 1948 when a similar story about a "$25 Fudge Cake" was published in a cookbook called Massachusetts Cooking Rules, Old and New. Then later in the 1960's the Waldorf-Astoria hotel came under fire over an alleged $350 charge for the recipe for their red velvet cake. By the 1970's the company being named was Mrs. Fields, claiming that someone was charged$250 forachocolate chip cookie recipe.

I've received the email a few times over the years but never gave the recipe a try until now, and it's... wow, it's REALLY good. It has some interesting features that make it unique, such as blending oatmeal into a powder that's mixed in with the dry ingredients. This techniquegives the cookies a heartier, oaty flavor without the texture of a full-on oatmeal cookie.

The recipe also uses grated milk chocolate along with the semi-sweet chocolate chips, resulting in small bits of extra sweetness that instantly melt in your mouth.

So, this is an urban legend chocolate chip cookie recipe worth giving a go.

This is the recipe that circulated with the original emails. I've changed the quantity since the original made a truckload of cookies and I also added a couple of notes. I dunno if I'd pay $250 for it, but I gotta say, this is one we'll be making again and again.


The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (6)

The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies

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4.8 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Erin Browne
  • Total Time: 21 mins
  • Yield: About 3 dozen 1x
Print Recipe



  • 2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, grated or finely chopped *
  • 1 ½ cups chopped nuts (your choice) **


  1. Using a food processor or coffee grinder, grind the oats into a very fine powder. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir the blended oats together with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, cream the sugars with the butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  5. With the mixer speed on low and slowly add the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions, beating until just incorporated.
  6. With a sturdy rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and chopped nuts.
  7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. ***
  8. Preheat oven to 375F. Cover sheet pans with parchment paper.
  9. Using a large cookie scoop (about 2 TBS per scoop) drop balls of dough onto the sheet about 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the edges look set (centers may still look under done). Cool cookies on the sheet for 5-7 minutes and then use a spatula to carefully transfer them to a cooling rack.
  11. Continue previous steps for the remaining dough, being sure to return the unused dough to the refrigerator between batches. Make sure you allow the cookie sheet to cool completely between each batch, or rotate 2-3 different pans (using a hot pan will cause cookies to spread).
  12. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature.


* I used two 1.55oz Hershey bars that you can find in the checkout lines. It's a little smaller than what is called for in the recipe, but it was the most convenient and economic option and worked well.
** The original recipe states that any nuts can be used here. I used chopped walnuts.
*** The original recipe does not specify to chill the dough, but it's something I always do with cookies that use butter to prevent them from spreading too much in the oven.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 11 mins

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The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (13)

About Erin K. Browne

Erin is a mom of two human babies and a sweet kitty named Biscuit Fingers. She loves comfy clothes, eats too much peanut butter, and watches excessive amounts of Netflix. Make her day and toss her a like on Facebook or follow her on Instagram. Post may contain affiliate links including those via the Amazon Associates program

Reader Interactions


  1. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (14)Grace

    I was wondering what you think I did cookie dough is dry and humbly. The cookies are a bit dry. TIA


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (15)Reva

      Make sure that you measure the oatmeal before putting it in the food processor, not after.


  2. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (16)Kelly

    My favorite cookie ever, however over the years I have lessened the cooking time to 7 mins total. Makes all the difference and lasts longer in airtight container on counter. I also use old fashioned oats and use the airbake cookie sheet, as well. Will appear undercooked at first but will quickly harden up but still very soft.


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (17)Erin

      Great advice! Thank you for sharing!


  3. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (18)Toni

    I read this story some years ago and made these cookies. I was not impressed. They were not unique, not very tasty and they were very hard and dry.


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (19)Oleta P

      You probably over baked the cookies. When they are baked at correct temp for specified time, they are definitely not hard and dry.


  4. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (20)Sispoundcake

    I prefer a softer textured cookie. This recipe was a little rough for my taste


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (21)Lisa

      Do you grind oats before measuring them?


      • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (22)Erin

        Hi Lisa! Measure first, and then blend.


  5. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (23)bmaklaus

    If you are going to regularly cook pastries or cakes, then I advise - there is an excellent choice of baking things.


  6. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (25)Village Bakery

    Erin - I love you! I made these last night and they were amazing


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (26)Mika

      I have been making these cookies for over 23 years. The best cookies ever, and my kids love them. I usually skip nuts and grated milk chocolate, but still yummy. I think those people complaining are probably not making them right. They come out soft and chewy when I make them. You do have to take them out at the right time, otherwise they get over baked. Know your oven - each oven is a little different. I measure oats before blending them, and I have tried old fashioned and quick oats, and they both worked.


      • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (27)Erin

        That is very good advice, and so true! I find that most issues that arise with baked good recipes are caused by either improper mixing (overmixing), inaccurate oven temperature, or overbaking!


  7. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (28)Suzzette

    Can you use instant oats? I'm making these for Easter and I have instant oats not old fashioned...


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (29)Erin

      I haven't tried this particular recipe with instant oats. Usually when you use instant instead of old-fashioned, the resulting texture will be softer, since the old-fashioned lends a chewier, more structured texture. In this recipe, because the oats are ground up before being added to the dough, the impact on the texture might be negligible, but I can't say for sure! Let me know how it turns out for you if you try it!


      • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (30)Suzzette

        I have never tried this recipe, so I think I'll get the old fashioned oats.
        Thank you for answering so quickly. I really appreciate it.
        I'll let you know how they turn out.
        Thank you


  8. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (31)Annette

    I always chill my cookie dough before baking too but I scoop it onto a parchment covered baking sheet and then chill the dough balls. So much easier than trying to scoop cold dough. I cover the dough balls with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. I can’t wait to try these out.


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (32)Erin

      That's a great idea! I agree with you about scooping cold dough - not fun.


  9. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (33)Amy

    Please disregard my question about milk. I didn't read it correctly because I figured it out, it is milk chocolate, not milk. The cookies turned out great.


  10. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (34)Amy

    I found this recipe on Pinterest. I just started making it. The ingredients calls for 4oz of milk, but I don't see where to add the milk in the instructions. Is milk supposed to be in there or is it added with the wet ingredients. Thank you.


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (35)Erin

      Amy, Pinterest may have truncated the ingredients list - the recipe calls for 4oz of milk chocolate, grated... there's no milk in this recipe. 🙂 Hope you love them!


  11. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (36)Gloria jonas

    I made this cookies but they did not spread


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (37)Erin

      Hi Gloria, can you explain what you mean? I would be happy to troubleshoot with you!


      • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (38)Suzzette

        I think she means they didn't flatten out while baking..


  12. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (39)Andrea Arbie

    I've made this cookie several times and it's always a hit. I mix the chips 1/3 mint chips with the semi sweet or butterscotch. Great cookie.


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (40)Erin

      Oh yum, that sounds like a delicious idea!


  13. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (41)Anne

    I love the original recipe - especially for those times when I need a truckload of cookies. My KitchenAid gets a workout but then I usually freeze half of the dough for later.


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (42)Erin

      I love freezing cookie dough (or already baked cookies!) My freezer is never without some kind of stash of frozen sweets, haha.


  14. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (43)avatar c?p anime

    I have made these many times for my family. I was a Kindergarten teacher for 23 years, I cooked through the alphabet with my classes and they always loved these cookies too.


  15. The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (44)Jenny

    hi! your blog looks amazing! i was just wondering if these cookies were soft and chewy? looking to hear from you! xx


    • The Famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookies (45)Erin

      So sorry i'm late to respond to your comment! It has been a long time since I made these but I remember them being pretty chewy when first baked, and then they got crunchier as the days went on and they lost some moisture.


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