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This is the famous Neiman Marcus cookie recipe that’s been delighting families for generations. This recipe makes a huge batch of epic chocolate chip cookies, so you can bake some now and freeze some dough balls for later, or to share with friends.

Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe | Umami Girl
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Why we love this recipe

Rumor has it that Neiman Marcus (probably Mrs. Fields –> Marshall Fields –> Neiman Marcus, in a years-long game of telephone) sold their “famous” cookie recipe to a customer for $250, who had only agreed to buy it because she thought she’d be paying $2.50. Honestly? I think it’s worth the higher price.

We love the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe for so many reasons. The first is the most important: they’re just really good cookies. They’re:

  • Crisp at the edges, tender and gooey inside
  • Substantial and satisfying
  • Beautifully balanced in flavor and texture
  • Studded with so many goodies

The second reason we love these cookies is that you can freeze the dough balls and either save some of them to bake later or — as our friend Jordan showed us — bring some in a little cooler as a host or thank-you gift and have the recipient put them straight into the freezer. It’s the best.

I first published this recipe here way back in 2011. If you’re a fan of old-school blog narrative, you can scroll down below the recipe card to read more of the original post.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats contribute both flavor and structure to this recipe. You’ll see some versions of the recipe where the oats are ground before incorporating, but we prefer them with the oats intact.
  • Use unsalted butter, or use salted butter and reduce the salt in the recipe by half.
  • You can use either semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips. Semi-sweet will give the cookies a slightly sweeter flavor profile.
  • Some versions of this recipe call for grating the Hershey’s bars. We prefer them broken into chunks.
  • You can use chopped walnuts or pecans — I almost always gravitate toward walnuts for their softer, sweeter vibe. If you need to accommodate a nut allergy or aversion, it’s okay to leave them out.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a fabulous batch of Neiman Marcus cookies. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

These cookies are fun to make with kids. In fact, my slightly older kids (one of whose hands are featured alongside mine in the how-to photos and video) tend to make them on their own. I’m here to say they’re also fun to just eat.

step by step
  1. Cream the butter and sugars, then the eggs and vanilla.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Switch to a spatula or wooden spoon to stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Then stir in the oats, followed by the chocolate and nuts.
  4. Shape into golf balls and bake. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

How do you freeze cookie dough?

To freeze the cookie dough for later, roll the dough into balls and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets. Freeze until solid, and then bag them by the dozen to gift, save for up to six months, or…ahem…eat. (This latter one happens a lot in our household.) Add one to two minutes to the cooking time when baking from frozen.

Can I make a half batch?

You sure can — just be diligent with your calculations. No need to make any additional changes.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

In addition to freezing before baking, you’ve got other options. Once cooled, baked cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for two to three days. Or freeze them baked for up to three months.

More of our favorite classic cookies and bars

Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe | Umami Girl

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a neiman marcus chocolate chip cookie on a sheet pan
4.49 from 870 votes
By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This is the famous Neiman Marcus cookies recipe. It makes a huge batch, so you can bake some now and freeze some dough balls for later. To freeze dough balls, place in the freezer on parchment-lined baking sheets until solid, then bag by the dozen to gift, save for up to six months, or…ahem…eat. Add one to two minutes to the cooking time when baking from frozen.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 60
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Ingredients 

  • 4 sticks, 32 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups packed, (425 grams) light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (480 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 cups (400 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 24 ounces (680 grams) bittersweet chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli 60% cacao)
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) Hershey’s chocolate bars, broken into chunks
  • 3 cups (360 grams) very roughly chopped walnuts, pecans, or a combination

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F with two racks close to the center.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and both types of sugar with an electric mixer until lightened in color and texture, about 3 minutes.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
  • Add the oats and stir to combine. Dough will be very thick.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips, Hershey's bars, and nuts.
  • Using your hands or a couple of spoons, form the batter into loose, golf-ball-sized mounds. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for eight to nine minutes, until tops are just golden and cookies are still soft.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool at least slightly before serving.

Notes

  1. As always when baking, it’s best to weigh your dry ingredients if you can. If not, make sure to measure your flour using the spoon and level method: give the flour a stir to lighten it up, spoon into your measuring cup, and then level it off with the back of a butter knife.
  2. Old-fashioned rolled oats contribute both flavor and structure to this recipe. You'll see some versions of the recipe where the oats are ground before incorporating, but we prefer them with the oats intact.
  3. Use unsalted butter, or use salted butter and reduce the salt in the recipe by half.
  4. You can use either semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips. Semi-sweet will give the cookies a slightly sweeter flavor profile.
  5. You can use chopped walnuts or pecans — I almost always gravitate toward walnuts for their softer, sweeter vibe. If you need to accommodate a nut allergy or aversion, it's okay to leave them out.
  6. Once cooled, baked cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for two to three days. Or freeze them baked for up to three months.
  7. To freeze the cookie dough for later, roll the dough into balls and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets. Freeze until solid, and then transfer to an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag for up to six months. Add a minute or two to the baking time when baking straight from frozen. There's no need to defrost the dough first.
  8. You can halve this recipe if you don’t want to make such a big batch — just be diligent with your calculations. No need to make any additional changes.

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal, Carbohydrates: 26.9g, Protein: 4.1g, Fat: 15.9g, Fiber: 2.5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cookies + Bars
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

How these cookies came into our lives

When our friends Jordan and Pierre showed up for a weekend visit, Jordan had a tiny, unfancy insulated cooler hung over her wrist. It didn’t have rhinestones or peacock feathers or other such come-hither accoutrements. It wasn’t pink. It wasn’t even purple. But I set my sights on it right away. And the minute I spied that baby, I knew I had to have whatever was inside. Maybe it’s not surprising that a girl who’s all about the fifth taste would also have a sixth sense. Sure enough, I do.

The high-stakes world of edible hostess gifts

I dispensed with the usual pleasantries faster than usual. “Hi-how-are-you-guys-SO-great-to-see-you!” issued forth at once, the tongue moving with manic agility. And then, a little too loudly, “What’s in THE COOLER?!” With an adorable one-year-old in the mix, I knew I was hedging my bets against an answer like, “Oh, just some breast milk I pumped in the car.” But as they say in the high-stakes world of edible hostess gifts, no risk, no reward.

My risk was rewarded handsomely. 

The $250 Neiman Marcus/Mrs. Fields cookie recipe has confounded a lot of people over the years, but I think it’s safe to say that no one has fallen farther into its clutches than Jordan herself.

Jordan didn’t fall for any run-of-the-mill con game like the rest of us. Nope, she was the victim of an elaborate, personally targeted ruse hatched by her own mother. When Jordan’s mom came home with the recipe courtesy of a neighbor we’ll call Mrs. Garibaldi, she told Jordan that it was called Mrs. Fields’ Cookies because, while ensconced in a former, ultimately unsuccessful marriage with a gentleman by the name of Mr. Fields, Mrs. Garibaldi had started a small cookie company which subsequently grew into a multinational conglomerate.

Jordan was overjoyed to know that she moved about in the same circles as a world-renowned cookie maven. What could she say? The 1980s were a beautiful time to be a kid in America.

a.k.a. Gigi’s Super Cookies

Mrs. Garibaldi, though, did not approve. An upstanding Southerner, and a Catholic, to boot, she was horrified that the young, impressionable Jordan thought she was a divorcee. A divorcee! A scandal of that magnitude wasn’t nearly as shelf-stable as Mrs. Fields’ cookies, and Mrs. Garibaldi (N/F/K/A Mrs. Fields) soon laid that rumor to rest. The recipe lived on in Jordan’s family, but in a rebranding effort aimed at wholesomeness and grandmotherly love, it’s now called Gigi’s Super Cookies.

The most fabulous hostess gift

Back in the modern era, having arrived for the weekend, Jordan quickly redeemed herself by replacing any hint of gullibility with pure genius. The cooler contained one of the most fabulous hostess gifts ever known to womankind. Jordan had scooped raw Gigi’s Super Cookie batter into perfect little chocolate- and nut-studded golf balls and frozen them so we could bake them at our leisure.

It may have been the buzz of frozen cookie ball potential energy coursing through the cooler walls that tipped me off in the first place. It could have been kinetic energy, even, frozen cookie balls dancing like frenzied atoms until we unzipped the lid and they stopped on a dime, playing dead for the gullible people-folk.

When cookies have a storied history like these do, you can never be sure what you’re in for. Luckily for guests and hosts alike, a gift of frozen cookie balls (especially ones that come with a bonus tale of fame, fortune, and deception) immediately rights all wrongs. It sets you up for a memorable weekend visit and even has a 99.9% success rate of getting you invited back.

And if you believe that one, have I got a cookie recipe for you.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.49 from 870 votes (870 ratings without comment)

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84 Comments

      1. If I freeze the cookie dough, how do I defrost and bake them? Should I defrost on the counter or in the fridge? Still bake the same amount of time?

      2. Hi Lola, per the recipe headnotes, you can just go ahead and bake them straight from frozen, adding a minute or two to the baking time. No need to defrost.

    1. Hi, Denise! I’ve never had that happen with this recipe, but typically the reasons for cookies coming out flat are if your butter is so soft it’s almost melted, or if you bake them on hot cookie sheets.

      1. As noted in the post, this recipe is large because it’s wonderful for making cookie balls to keep in the freezer and use to spread joy. It will, in fact, work perfectly if you halve it. That’s what my decades of recipe development expertise are for.

    1. Hi Dawn, the standard Hershey Bar is 1.55 ounces, so 5 bars is just about right. (If you want exactly 8 ounces, you’ll need to add a few squares from a sixth bar.)

  1. I’ve also had the recipe for years. The one I have calls for grated Hershey bar as well, but I think I will try it chopped. I have a kiddo with a nut allergy so always make them without and they end up nice and plump but curious if the chocolate chunks will help keep them fatter. Thanks for sharing…going to bake a batch today (and freeze half the dough—because #cookiesanytime).

  2. I would love to use this recipe for a wedding reception. The bride has requested no nuts at all in any of the cookies. What substitute would you suggest in its place so the cookies won’t fall flat? thank you!

    1. Hi, Tawni! Oh, I LOVE the idea of having these at a wedding reception. I haven’t tried either of these substitutions in this particular recipe, but typically rice krispies or, for a slight savory edge, chopped up pretzels can be a great sub for nuts in cookies. I think either one would work really well here in terms of structure, texture, and flavor. You might use slightly less since they’re a little drier than nuts — maybe 2 cups instead of 3. Hope that helps!

      1. I have been making this recipe for since the 1980’s. I never use nuts and they don’t go flat. You can just make them and omit the nuts.

  3. This recipe is so amazing! I made them for a group and have had people running me down for more. The response was addictive. My friends have been freezing them and hiding them away from their kids. You may have started something here. Flaky, fat delicious cookies! I can say enough about them.

    1. I have been making these since the late 90s.sent them to my daughter in college and her friends went crazy for them. Had to send a new batch every time she came home. They are the best. My recipe call for grated Hershey bar.

  4. Hello
    We have the xerox copy of this from when it surfaced back in the 90’s. My adult kids found it and said let’s try. We followed the directions to the “T” but the cookies came out flat not thick. I started googling to find your recipe and blog and it is the same recipe. Why do you think they went flat? They are delicious but thin.

    1. Hi, Grace! I’m surprised to hear that these cookies spread too much. Usually, if the recipe itself has the right ratios and you’ve measured the ingredients properly, flat cookies result either from butter that’s been melted or way over-softened, or from placing the cookies onto hot or over-greased cookie sheets. If neither of those problems apply, you could try chilling the dough a little bit before baking.

  5. Hi! Do you think it would be ok to substitute almonds for the walnuts/pecans? We have some nut allergies in the house but I’d really like to try this recipe!!

    1. Hi, Summer! Yes, you could substitute almonds if you like. If you can find slivered almonds, they’d probably be your best bet for replicating the softer texture of a walnut or pecan. Hope you love them!

  6. Can the cookies also be frozen once they are baked? Trying to get my baking done this week for next week’s family Christmas. Or will they last 10 days after baking?

    Thank you & Merry Christmas!
    Sharon

    1. Hi, Sharon! Yes, you can freeze the baked cookies if you’d like. I’d recommend arranging them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and placing in the freezer until solid so they won’t stick together, then transferring to an airtight container with parchment between the layers of cookies.

  7. My mother gave me a Xeroxed copy of this with the story of the ill-fated shopping trip and $250.00 cookie recipe when I moved out in the 90s. My teen son & I have been making it for YEARS, it’s his favorite. The only difference is our recipe calls for the Hershey’s chocolate to be grated into the mixture.

    Cutting the recipe in half is a good idea since it makes such a large quantity.