The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

The famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe - made with ground oats, chocolate chips, grated chocolate and walnuts. |
This recipe for Neiman Marcus cookies hails from the popular email chain that flooded the Internet for years. The cookies are made with ground oats, chocolate chips, grated chocolate and chopped walnuts.

The famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe - made with ground oats, chocolate chips, grated chocolate and walnuts. |

In the event that you have never seen the email chain regarding Neiman Marcus cookies, here’s a recap:

Supposedly, a woman ordered a cookie at the Neiman Marcus cafe and loved it so much that she asked the waitress if she could have the recipe; waitress said it would cost “two fifty”. The woman assumed it was $2.50, said okay, and the waitress gave her the recipe.  When she saw her credit card bill, however, the charge was $250. She was so irate that she decided to distribute the recipe so that no one would ever pay $250 for the recipe again. The company has since debunked the rumor (and even published its own chocolate chip cookie recipe), but the recipe that accompanied that email became insanely popular.

I suspect that many of you are very familiar with this email and may have even made these cookies before. I received the email dozens of times before I actually gave the recipe a whirl. I’ve never eaten a Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie, but I sure do love this version!

The famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe - made with ground oats, chocolate chips, grated chocolate and walnuts. |

The “secret ingredient” in these cookies is the oats. Not just regular ol’ oats mixed into the batter, though; what makes these Neiman Marcus cookies so special is that the oats are blended into a coarse powder and whisked together with the flour and other dry ingredients. This is absolutely brilliant – you get all of the wonderful, nutty flavor of the oats while maintaining the texture of a traditional chocolate chip cookie.

The original Neiman Marcus cookie recipe that was circulated calls for grating a Hershey’s chocolate bar; the first time that I made these, I simply replaced that line item with milk chocolate chips. Oh, I was totally missing out! I’ve since made them the correct way and those little bits and swirls of milk chocolate make these extra-special. Definitely do not swap that out! (You can, however, use finely chopped milk chocolate in place of the Hershey’s bar, if you’d like.)

The resulting cookies are chunky, hearty and feel quite substantial when picked up. The combination of semisweet and milk chocolate along with walnuts puts these over the top. The Neiman Marcus story may have turned out to be a myth, but out there somewhere is someone who needs to be thanked for this recipe!

The famous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe - made with ground oats, chocolate chips, grated chocolate and walnuts. |

This recipe was originally published on September 21, 2009.

One year ago: Apple, Gruyere & Sage Scones
Two years ago: Muddy Buddies (a.k.a. Puppy Chow)
Four years ago: Pumpkin Bread
Five years ago: Pancake Cupcakes with Maple-Bacon Frosting
Six years ago: Chewy, Fudgy Triple-Chocolate Brownies

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

Yield: 30 cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

The rumored recipe for Neiman Marcus cookies, which was passed around via email for years, and later debunked by the company. These cookies are made with ground oats, chocolate chips, grated chocolate and chopped walnuts.


2½ cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces milk chocolate, grated or finely chopped
1½ cups chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Blend the oats in a food processor or blender to a fine powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together the blended oats with the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips, grated chocolate and walnuts.

4. Roll the dough into 2-ounce balls (or about 2 heaping tablespoonfuls worth) and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time until the edges are set but the center still looks undone, about 10 minutes. Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheets. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days (they can also be frozen for up to 2 months).

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91 Responses to “The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie”

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  1. Maria on September 23, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I do love these!


  2. The Duo Dishes on September 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Made these many times, and they are always good. No matter what.


  3. christina on September 23, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    I’ve had these before! The recipe I got has some melted chocolate in the batter, even. What I like about the NM cookie is the texture you get from the ground oats, which I’ve found gives it a somewhat chewier feel.


  4. Rachel on September 23, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    This is my go to chocolate chip recipe (sans nuts). I absolutely love it! Glad you tried it!


  5. Alta on September 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Love these – I thought everyone tried these already for some reason. But I’d forgotten about them, so thanks for making them again!


  6. nicole on September 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    SO good – i haven’t had these in awhile. pics are great too!


  7. Melanie on September 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    These are my husband’s favorite cookies. They test great frozen too! Sometimes I think they taste better frozen but my husband would disagree. :)


  8. Madalina on September 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    grrr. i swore I would stay away from cookies this month.. now I have a dozen of these divine cookies on my counter waiting to cool. way to go. lol


  9. Pam on September 23, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Look’in Good!


  10. Carla on September 23, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I absolutely adore these cookies… But according to Neiman Marcus, this is not their original recipe. Are they saying that just to deceive us? Or are they jealous that this recipe is actually better than the one they say is theirs???
    What do you think?? Check them out!!


  11. Michele on September 23, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I was JUST telling my boyfriend about this email because my sister did something similar at a store. Got charged a crazy amount of money for a photo disc of her kids photos at a portrait studio. lol Anyway, I never felt compelled to try them either for some reason but it’s great to know that they are actually good! They sure do look lovely!


  12. BigSis on September 23, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    These look awesome! I’ve been making a very similar recipe for 25 years. Mine has a big Hershey bar grated up in it instead of the milk chocolate chips. It adds a great flavor throughout the batter!


  13. jacquie on September 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    do you have to grind the oats yourself? (i don’t have a food processor) couldn’t you just use oat flour? i wonder how much oat flour 2 1/2 cups of rolled oat makes??

    oh and the cookies do look yummy.


  14. Michael Gilmore on September 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Wow. I am not a really a cookie person but after seeing this recipe and your photos I have to make these. These and the Doubletree cookies are the best.


  15. Lass on September 23, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    I have a recipe nearly identical to that chain mail cookie. Main differences: all brown sugar, coconut, and walnuts instead of pecans.
    Funny that I’d never realized it until now. Did your cookie turn strangely airy and not taste as good after a day?


  16. Chris on September 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    I’m thinking one day I’ll make a batch and buy a batch to compare.


  17. Danielle on September 23, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Sounds like a recipe I have to try out!


  18. Danielle on September 24, 2009 at 1:37 am

    How funny…I’ve gottten that recipe at least a dozen times yet I never thought about actually trying it out.


  19. lululu on September 24, 2009 at 2:16 am

    both the photos and the cookies look beautiful!


  20. TammyJo Eckhart, PhD on September 24, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I’ve never had these, never frankly been either in an area with that store or had the money to go there when we did live in an area with the store. Thank you for sharing the recipe!


  21. sherri on September 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I have this recipe and they are delicious1


  22. Wine Dog on September 24, 2009 at 9:18 am

    The same letter/email/story went around with supposedly Mrs. Field’s secret recipe for years. The oats, which were the secret ingredient in that recipe too, were never an ingredient in her recipe. It’s a great cookie and I’ll bet yours turn out better than most, it looks fabulous, but who knows the real origin of the recipe. I worked for Mrs. Fields in the 80’s. The secret to Mrs. Fields was high quality ingredients, bake at 300, not 375 and don’t overmix.

    Here’s her recipe, love to see your take on these some day.


    • Patty on September 16th, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      This link doesn’t seem to work for the Mrs. Fields recipe.


  23. shelly (cookies and cups) on September 24, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Oh yes, the neiman marcus cookie! I made this many years ago before I got my kitchen-aide and almost busted the motor on my little hand mixer!! The dough is very think with all those oats, but it does deliver! It’s actually a great cookie!


  24. deeba on September 24, 2009 at 10:26 am

    BEE YOO TI FUL cookies. I have the recipe somewhere but never gave it a try. You’ve convinced me to give these a shot. Your pictures are fab!


  25. Barbara on September 24, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    The version that I have calls for an 8 oz. bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate to be grated and added to the batter. They really are fabulous (but it makes a huge amount!).


  26. Nicole on September 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I’ve made these before and they are really good!


  27. JoJo on September 24, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Hey! Just made these for the first time the other night and absolutely LOVED them. Could match up to my favorite CCC recipe too, and they are great the next day. good ideas adding oatmeal, and nuts. I’m a new blogger, would love for yo to check me out :)


  28. MarthaAndMe on September 25, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I love these cookies and researched this story when I was writing my cookie book (coming out next fall – Cookie: A Cultural HIstory). This isn’t NM’s recipe at all but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming hugely popular.


  29. Jessie on September 25, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I just had breakfast and now I am hungry again. Those cookies look absolutely amazing!


  30. stephchows on September 25, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I love putting oat flour into cookies! It makes them taste so good!!


  31. dsam on September 25, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    There was never a Neiman-Marcus cookie:

    This story has been around in various forms for 50 years. Neiman Marcus never even had a cookie until they developed one in response to this rumour. Their policy is actually to give away recipes to anyone who asks, including the recipe to the cookie they eventually did create:


  32. Cookin' Canuck on September 27, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I have received the Neiman Marcus email many times, but have never taken the time to make the cookies. After your review, I will definitely be trying it. I’m so interested to see the effect the ground oats have on the texture.


  33. Ashley on September 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I’ve made the Neiman Marcus cookies too and loved them but I guess there are different versions out there because mine ( didn’t have oats! Now I want to try these ones out too. They look so good!


  34. Michelle on September 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Jackquie,

    Do you have a blender? You could always use a blender to grind the oats. I’m sure you could sub oat flour, but I’m not sure what the final amount would be. The next time I make these I will measure it out!


  35. Michelle on September 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Hi Lass,

    Your cookie recipe sounds great as well! Mine didn’t turn airy and not taste as good – I was actually eating them almost a week after making them! I stored them in a Tupperware container.


  36. Michelle on September 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks everyone for the great responses and for getting to the bottom of the “myth” of the Neiman Marcus cookies!

    As an aside, I did cut the recipe in half and used milk chocolate chips instead of grated chocolate. Otherwise it’s the same.


  37. Jessi A on September 29, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    We have been making these cookies for years!! They are wonderful.


  38. Jackie on October 9, 2009 at 3:33 am

    Hi Michelle

    I have a question about cooling the cookies: When you say “Let Cool Completely” Do you mean cool completely on the baking sheet or cool on sheet for a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Can you make it a little clearer. Thanks


  39. Michelle on October 9, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Hi Jackie,

    You will want to let them cool on the baking sheets for about 2-3 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. I will revise the written recipe so that it is more clear.


  40. T. Marie on October 16, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I haven’t made these yet but I’ve ground up the oats and it make 1 and a half cups for those asking the sub for oat flour. Anyone tried pecans instead of walnuts? I couldn’t remember which nut I needed at the store and ended up with pecans. I can’t wait until I get them baked!


  41. Leslie on November 6, 2009 at 1:51 am

    I am making these for a bake sale on Saturday!! I am so excited I think they will sell really well. Like most they have seen the email but have not made the cookie, so this will be there chance to try them!


  42. Ashley on November 9, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I wish I could thank you for this cookie recipe but after having made them the first time, there have been so many demands for them that all I seem to be doing these days is grinding up quick oats!


  43. Juanita McLain on November 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I have been making these cookies a number of years. My daughter, son-in-law and three grands absolutely love them – even the neighborhood kids ring my doorbell to ask if I have or will be making some. I use a large size Hershey chocolate candy grated in my recipie.


  44. Michael Gilmore on January 15, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Hi, just following up. I made these cookies for friends for Christmas using your recipe. Everyone loved them. The recipe was right on. I really appreciate when they are. Just wanted to let you know. Since I am here in Texas, I had to use pecans :)


  45. Jules on April 16, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Wow, this is the best chocolate chip cookie ever! Very soft and chewy, really nice. I’m not a big fan of mixing chocolate and cookies but this is a very nice one. Thanks for the recipe!


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  47. Jenny on November 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    This is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I make anymore. It’s always so good, but I do experiment with the “chips.” The last time I made them, I used those tiny peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s as the chips (along with a few milk chocolate chips). They were phenomenal. I’ve also used the regular sized plain M &M’s. The tiny M&M’s don’t taste as good since they’re dark chocolate inside. I’m making them for Thanksgiving and using milk chocolate chips and dried cranberries (I only use milk chocolate chips — they’re so much better and creamier). I’m thinking of trying chocolate covered raisins or chocolate covered peanuts. Those sound good, too.


    • Michelle on November 8th, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      Oooh love all of the combos you have tried!


  48. Millie on December 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I made these cookies today and discovered on the 3rd batch that if I didn’t make them into a ball they browned better at 10 minutes and looked better. The ones I made into balls needed 12 minutes and they weren’t brown.


  49. josedealvarez on December 16, 2010 at 12:18 am

    thaks for the tip I MADE this cookies and I SALE IT in a great price


  50. Marly on December 29, 2010 at 12:38 am

    What a delicious recipe, regardless of its source. Thanks for sharing!


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