If you’re like me, whenever you go to make chocolate chip cookies, you grab a bag of chocolate chips and follow the directions on the back. Sometimes you add nuts — pecans or walnuts maybe — but for the most part you just go down the line of the basic ingredients and follow the directions and pop some pretty delicious cookies out of the oven. And nobody ever complains.
But — I imagine there are some bakers out there who may have ventured “off bag” and you’ve gone on to experiment, searching for that perfect chocolate chip cookie, with just the right amount of chocolate to cookie so when you break one in two, the chocolate oozes out. Yum.
I have one such recipe, although I cannot lay claim to it as my own. It’s one I found years ago in the ‘90s when the internet was young. There was an internet rumor, you see, that went something like this:
A woman who was lunching at the Neiman Marcus in Dallas was so taken by their chocolate chip cookies, she asked the waitress for the recipe. The waitress replied that she could have it for only “two-fifty.”
To the woman’s surprise, when she got the bill, there was the charge for the recipe, but with a couple more zeros behind it than she had imagined: $250.
It was an urban legend or myth that took off like wildfire. A recipe that cost $250??
The story goes that for revenge, the woman who got burned with the pricey cookie recipe published it on the internet. The only problem was it made something like 250 cookies, so who wants to do that? Or to do the math on all the ingredients to make a smaller batch?
Of course, it wasn’t a true story and even snopes.com debunked the whole thing. Neiman Marcus came out and said they didn’t even have a chocolate chip cookie on their menu at the time.
But somebody at NM must have realized they could take the story and make marketing gold out of it. A few years down the road, they whipped up a cookie recipe, based on the myth, and gave it away for free on their website. You can still get it there: neimanmarcus.com.
What’s so different about it? Well, it has more vanilla in it and it calls for instant coffee. Plus, a lower baking temp and b-i-i-g cookies.
The New York Times also published a version of the famous cookie — with the unusual ingredients of dark brown sugar, ground oatmeal and, for more chocolate decadence, a grated Hershey’s bar.
Whichever version you try, they just might be the best chocolate chip cookies ever!
Or maybe you have a version that will put them to shame? Readers, I am challenging you!
Send in your own take on the chocolate chip cookie, along with the story behind it and a photo or two. I’ll publish them in a future Life section. Somebody’s gotta fill up all those cookie jars out there. Send the recipes, stories and photos to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 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 dough 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. — From neimanmarcus.com.
The $250 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces chocolate chips
1 4-ounce milk chocolate bar
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream together butter and both sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla.
Finely grind oatmeal in a blender or food processor. Combine the oatmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a medium bowl, and slowly add it to the wet ingredients. Beat just until combined. Grate chocolate bar using a microplane grater and add it, along with chocolate chips and nuts to the batter. Mix just to combine.
Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. — From the New York Times
Jeanne Huff is the community engagement editor for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at 208-465-8106 and follow her on Twitter @goodnewsgirl.