The $250 Cookie Recipe
A woman and her daughter had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas and decided to have a small dessert. Because her family was had such a love for cookies they decided to try the "Neiman-Marcus Cookie." It was so excellent that the customer asked if NM would share the recipe, and the waitress said with a small frown, "I'm afraid not." The customer then asked if she could buy the recipe. With a cute smile, the waitress replied, "yes" and said the recipe would cost "two fifty." The customer requested that it be added to her tab.
Thirty days later, the customer received her credit card statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00. She had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf, but noticed that at the bottom of the statement, it said, "Cookie Recipe - $250.00." The customer was upset and called Neiman's Accounting Department stating that the waitress said the recipe was "two fifty," and not $250.00. She asked them to take back the recipe and reduce the bill. The Accounting Department said they were sorry for the inconvenience but that the customer’s bill would remain as charged because they wanted the recipe to be something that was special and not afforded by all.
The woman decided to share the cookie recipe with the world so that no one would ever have to pay $250.00.
It's totally fake but I like how it was shared and believed to be true at a time before everyone owned a computer and could check things out online. If you look up "Neiman Marcus Cookie" on Snopes.com, you'll find a very interesting article on the origins of this legend and these types of stories have been rumored for over 70 years ranging from a Massachusetts fudge cake in 1948, a Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake in the 60s, Mrs. Fields cookies, Woolworths and of course, Neiman Marcus. Even Neiman Marcus acknowledges the rumor on their website. Such gullible times we had before the internet!
The Neiman Marcus cookie is good and I made it a few years ago but didn't think it was as good as when I was a kid and believed I was biting into a high dollar recipe. On Pinterest I have tried numerous chocolate chip cookie recipes that claim to be the best ever. Nope, not really. It's only in the past 3 years that I decided to quit searching and stick with the ole standby, the one that takes me back to Christmastime in the 80s - even if Mom did bake them till they were crispy. I don't like a crispy cookie, Mom!
Last weekend was a super busy one, with 4 out of town guests staying with us. At times like these, I think Breana takes advantage of my absentmindedness and asks for things like yoga balls, Pokemon trading cards and a cookie cake for her Social Studies project. All to which I agree and never remember because I was busy following a Beef Bourgignon recipe. Late Sunday after company had left and I could breathe again, it struck me, "Breana, wait- why do we have to make a cookie cake?"
"For my Social Studies project on Ulysses S. Grant..." Breana reminded.
"But what does a cookie cake have to do with a Civil War General? Is it required to bring food for your presentation?"
"No, I just want to serve cookie cake."
"Okay, well I feel like we should have canons made out of fondant or something."
I've told Breana stories of how I used to love serving food along with school projects. In high school, Katie and I served Earl Grey Tea and homemade crumpets to our British Lit class. In my Textiles class while studying interior design, I served a red velvet cake to accompany my presentation on velvet. I can't fault my kid if she wants to follow in my food-loving footsteps and food does enhance a presentation. So I was happy to experiment with painting Ulysses S. Grant on frosting with a paint brush and black decorating gel since I had never crafted Civil War canons out of fondant before. I tested it out on foil first and it reminded me of painting with oils- sort of frustrating at times, like you're just constantly moving paint, but if I screwed up here, I could "erase" it with more frosting.
A homemade cookie cake is seriously so much better than store bought. A few tips I'd love to share is beating the hell out of the sugars and butter with an electric stand or hand mixer so it's super creamy. Like, really beat the shit out of it for a few minutes on high. I use salted butter in addition to the 1 tsp salt the recipe calls for. Also, whether it's the big cake or individual cookies, I always shave 2 minutes off the lowest suggested baking time. I have a hot oven anyway and I like them soft and somewhat gooey inside! The only struggle I ever have is finding a lid for the round disposable pan I bake them on. I like the big 13" round pans you can buy near the aluminum roasters and Ziploc bags, but dammit if every other throw away container has a snap-on plastic lid but the round pans don't! I was at Publix yesterday and pissed that I was once again posed with this dilemma, so I asked the bakery department if I could purchase one of their cookie pans with a lid. The baker held up a black one, no bigger than 9" and said it was all she had. LIES! It seems that Publix Bakery does not support the home cookie cake baker! I know they have bigger pans with lids! I wound up roaming around my kitchen later, imagining what I could use so my frosted masterpiece wouldn't get smeared. I used packing tape and affixed a clear plastic platter on top of the red platter with the dancing, animated hamburgers and hotdogs with arms and legs (refer to my "Surviving Craigslist" post from September).
"Nooooo Mom, don't use that goofy plate!" Breana pleaded.
"Oh hush, it's the only way!" I snapped, "This tin platter from the 1970s with its 1-1/2" high wall is the only way to keep this damn Ulysses S. Grant cookie cake secure!" Following the cookie cake cover conundrum was getting Breana to pronounce "Ulysses" as she practiced reading her power point aloud.
"U-lice-ees S. Grant was-, " she began.
"No! It's not LICE! It's liss, like 'You listen...,'" I interuppted.
"Okay... U-lees-ees S. Grant was-"
"No, no, no! U-liss-ees!"
Sweet Jesus did we go over this over and over and over again. I can't wait to hear if she pronounced it right when she tells me about her day later. It was only printed like 20 times in her power point, but if this is the case and she's tripping over "Ulysses", enter the cookie cake. And while I'm not charging $250 for the actual cookie cake recipe I love to use, I will tell you it's on the back of a Nestle Tollhouse Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels bag that will indeed cost you around "two fifty".
Thanks for stopping by!