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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.

Step-by-step video

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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82 Comments

  1. Carolyn, I stumbled on your recipe and very excited to make and ship to kids/grandchildren. I was looking at several of these similar recipes ($250 cookie) and they say use Dark brown sugar and your recipe indicates a Light brown sugar. Can you comment? Thank you

    1. Hi Chuck, we’ve always made this recipe with light brown sugar. You can swap in dark if you prefer — it essentially just has a higher molasses content, which will give the cookies a bit of a stronger flavor and possibly a touch more chewiness.

  2. I just made this recipe…Gluten-free! I live at 7k feet, so baking times and temps vary. I had to bake then for 10 minutes! They look delicious. The texture is excellent (I use King Arthur and my own blend of gf flours). I used 1/2 of EV Coconut oil for one of the sticks of butter, simply bc I had only left out 3 sticks. Last I substituted 1 cup of sweeten shredded Coconut for 1 of the cups of nuts (bc we all love coconut)! Great recipe but will make 1/2 next time. Too much for 2 people who are retired.

    1. That’s great, Melanie — thanks for noting your substitutions. It always helps others to know what works!

  3. Is it possible to reduce sugar by half? I’m trying not to eat as much sugar but these look so yummy! Any suggestions appreciated.

    1. Hi Linda, I have never tried reducing the sugar in these cookies. Halving it will dramatically affect the texture in addition to reducing the sweetness. (They will be drier and crumblier.) But since there’s a high sugar to flour ratio in the original recipe, you’re likely to get an acceptable result and not a terrible one if you reduce the sugar somewhat. I’d recommend leaving the full measure of brown sugar and reducing the white sugar if you try it. For what it’s worth, my personal preference would be to eat fewer cookies instead. Good luck, and please let us know how it goes if you try it!

  4. I made these cookies and they are the best cookies I’ve ever had! Thanks so
    much for posting them.
    Caroline L.
    Jupiter,FL

    1. Hi Rae, I tend to prefer regular oats in cookies because they add a bit of additional complexity to the texture, but you can use quick rolled oats if that’s what you’ve got. Don’t use instant.

    1. Hi Joni, thanks for the question. I’ve never tried baking this recipe as bars (though now I want to!), so I can’t speak as specifically as I’d like. But this recipe is too large for a 9″x13″ pan — you’d need to use a half sheet pan (18″x13″) lined with parchment. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

      I am not totally sure about the baking time, but it should be about 25 to 30 minutes, keeping in mind that the dough will be runnier when hot and will set up substantially when cooled. I would suggest erring on the side of lower baking time at first until you figure out what works.

      If you give it a try, please report back. Thank you!

    1. Hi Annie, you can use a stand mixer to beat the butter and sugars and to incorporate the eggs and vanilla. Once you add the dry ingredients, you’ll switch over to mixing by hand.

    1. Hi Mary, yes, some versions of this recipe blitz the oats into flour. We prefer the texture of whole rolled oats.

  5. I love this recipe. If you don’t like oats, what do you think would I need to add to the dough? Maybe more flour, or shall I try without any additions?

    Greetings from Germany
    Claudia

    1. Hi, Claudia! I’ve never tried making these cookies without oats, but I think you would certainly need to substitute something rather than just leaving them out. You could try puffed rice cereal (like Rice Krispies) or another puffed or popped grain. Additional flour might make them too dry. Let me know if you give them a try! xx