These Needless Mark-up Cookies come with a story. “Needless Mark-up” is my husband’s – a man who LOATHES shopping – nickname for that wonderful luxury retailer, Neiman Marcus. The cookie recipe, sort of, comes from them. And, since that’s what my husband calls the store, that’s what he called the cookies and the name stuck. The story itself is more of an urban myth than anything. Don’t you love a good urban myth? Here’s how this one goes.
A man took his daughter to the Neiman Marcus cafe to pass the time while his wife shopped. On this father and daughter mini-break, the twosome enjoyed the cafe’s famous chocolate chip cookies. In fact, they enjoyed them so much the devoted Dad asked the server if they could have the recipe. The server said, “Sure, it costs two fifty.” The man assumed it was $2.50, said okay, and the server gave him the recipe. It was only when he got his credit card bill he was flabbergasted to find the charge was actually $250. He was so furious he decided to distribute the recipe via chain mail so that no one would ever pay $250 for the recipe again.
I actually got the recipe by one of these chain mail emails when I lived in Boston in 1994. Having tried the cookies at the cafe, I was happy. I always thought they were darn good cookies. The company has since debunked the myth and even published its own recipe, but the recipe that accompanied that email became insanely popular. It’s actually circulated for decades and now, if you’ll read on, it’s coming to you.
Needless Mark-up Cookies
Crispy on the outer edges, soft inside, dense from the oat flour, these are chocolate chip cookie excellence.
Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Equipment: 3 baking sheets, parchment paper, food processor, measuring cups and spoons, stand mixer, cookie scoop
- 2½ cups quick cooking oats, processed until flour-like
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces milk or dark chocolate chips
- 4 ounces white chocolate chips
- 1½ cups chopped nuts (I like to use pecans)
- Preheat the oven to 375℉ and line 3 baking sheets with parchment.
- Place the oats in the bowl of a food processor and blend until it forms a coarse flour. Transfer it to a bowl and mix with the all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until creamy and smooth.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the flour mixture and beat on low until combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
- Use a cookie scoop to gather the dough and drop on the baking sheets – a few inches apart. Flatten the tops a bit before baking.
- Bake for 10 minutes – the outside of the cookies should look brown and the middle soft and light.
- Cool on the baking sheets before transferring to an airtight container. Note: The cookies freeze well.