I tried making the famous “$250” Neiman Marcus cookie recipe to see if it’s worth all the hype.
The story behind the recipe isn’t really true, but it’s been re-shared online for the past 25 years.
The cookies were fairly easy to throw together, but I really wasn’t a fan of their texture.
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Short-lived internet fame seems pretty easy to come by these days, but some posts have stood the test of time.
For example, the legend of Neiman Marcus’ $250 cookie recipe has been recirculated in different forms since it reportedly originated in 1996.
According to the myth, a mother and daughter were shopping at the department store and stopped at the cafe for salads and cookies. The cookies are so delicious that the mother asks for the recipe, which the employee said would cost her “two-fifty.”
After noticing an outrageous charge on her credit card, she discovered the recipe cost her $250, not $2.50 like she assumed. To get her revenge, she decided to share the recipe online so others could make the most of her purchase.
According to The New York Times, this never actually happened. But as the story gained popularity in the late 1990s, Neiman Marcus came up with a recipe to go along with the tale.
These cookies have such a storied history that I knew I had to give the recipe a try to see if it was worth the hype.
Read on to see how it went.
The recipe called for a lot of chocolate and homemade oat flour
The recipe, reported by Snopes, yields 112 cookies, so I started by cutting it down to a fourth of the original for 28 cookies. I would’ve cut it even further if possible, but that would’ve required figuring out a way to use less than one egg.
I was instantly intrigued by how much chocolate was in this recipe. Not only did it include chocolate chips, but it also called for a Hershey bar grated into chocolate shavings.
I filled a large mixing bowl with the shavings, so I expected this to be a pretty chocolaty cookie.
It also said you can add optional chopped nuts. I went with walnuts because I had some on hand and thought they’d taste pretty good.
The rest of the recipe called for the usual ingredients: butter, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, salt, an egg, baking powder and soda, and all-purpose flour.
The unique touch here was the addition of oats, which I had to blend into a fine powder.
The batter wasn’t too difficult to make, but it was more involved than a standard recipe
My usual chocolate-chip cookies only take a few minutes of prep and 10 minutes to bake, with no special steps like grinding oat flour or shaving down a chocolate bar.
I had high expectations that these famous cookies would be incredibly yummy with all the extra effort.
Shaving the chocolate bar took the most time, but once that was out of the way, the rest of the process was standard. I creamed the butter and sugars together, added the egg and vanilla extract, and mixed in the dry ingredients.
After adding both the all-purpose and oat flours, the batter looked dry, so I was concerned about how the texture of the cookies would turn out.
Finally, I added the chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts.
By this point, I was concerned that all of the shavings, which blended into the batter really well, would burn in the oven.
I put the cookies in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, as instructed, and I could smell the chocolate baking after just a couple of minutes.
After 10 minutes, I checked on the cookies. The outsides looked a bit dry, but when I lightly touched one, it was still very undercooked in the center.
I put them back in the oven for a couple of minutes, but the bottom edges were starting to look overdone.
I pulled the cookies out again, and they held up to a light tough.
They didn’t spread much, which was good, but they definitely looked dry on the outside.
These cookies were difficult to bake evenly
I split a cookie open to check the inside and was unhappy to find a completely undercooked center. I don’t mind a slightly underdone, gooey cookie, but this just looked inedible.
I put the trays of cookies back into the warm – but turned off – oven to bake for another four minutes.
After baking in the residual oven heat, they were much better inside. The edges didn’t burn, thankfully, and I could pick up the cookie without it falling apart in the middle.
But when I took a bite, I was underwhelmed by the so-called $250 cookie. The exterior was very crisp, with an audible crunch, and it was extremely chewy on the inside. Each bite was sticking to my teeth.
The flavor was fine, but it wasn’t outstanding. The cookies weren’t nearly as chocolaty in flavor as I expected, and the dry, weird textures just overpowered the experience, leaving the taste as an afterthought.
Cookies are always better fresh from the oven, but I had a feeling these would be even drier than usual after cooling.
I decided to put some away to test later, and I was right. The cookies were like hockey pucks after they cooled and all that chocolate in the batter solidified again.
Despite their internet fame, I wouldn’t make these $250 cookies again
Overall, the extra steps and ingredients for this “$250” cookie recipe weren’t worth it.
The final product wasn’t nearly as good as my regular chocolate-chip-cookie recipe, so I don’t see myself attempting them again. And I don’t think I’ll be sharing the legendary tale on social media for others to try.
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