Tuesday, February 19, 2013


<<Fourth in a continuing series exploring the tastes, histories and crafts of favorite food items mentioned in THE BLONDS AT THE BEACH Mystery Series…>>

          Sam disconnected <<the phone call>> and turned to me.  “Polly says she’ll tell us if you’ll give her your Aunt Izzy’s secret recipe for Chocolate-Chip Cookies.”
          “What secret recipe?”
          “A recipe for the hands-down best chocolate-chip cookies on earth.  It was Mizizzy’s trademark dish, what she brought to every potluck.  Nobody could ever duplicate the recipe, and your aunt guarded the secret the way Coca-Cola keeps a lid on their ingredients.  Polly wants to bake the cookies and sell them warm from the oven.  Unless you intend to take that over as your signature dish.”
          “I don’t bake,” I reminded her.  “I’m a really good eater, though.”
~Excerpted from BLOND FAITH

        My motivation for this “secret recipe” idea is drawn from my personal life.  Back when our son was about four years old (so twenty-one years ago) I was still wrapping my mind around the whole SAHM (Stay-at-home-Mommy) gig.  In my annual Christmas letter I shared with my family and friends my goal for the coming year was to find the ultimate chocolate-chip cookie recipe.  My dear Aunt Mary sent me something her husband had received over the TELEX (keep in mind this was back in the dinosaur days of communication, no email or twitter or facebook or anything!  All of us had Snail Mail but a few “connected” business people had the TELEX.  Oh, that’s such a sign of an old person to wax poetic about the old days, so I’ll stop now.)
          Anyway, she sent me the following recipe and story:

          My daughter and I had finished a salad at the Neiman-Marcus Café in Dallas and decided to have a small desert.  Because our family members are such “Cooke Monsters”, we decided to try the Neiman-Marcus Cookie.  It was so good that I asked if they would give me the recipe.  She said with a frown, “I’m afraid not.”  “Well,” I said, “Would you let me buy the recipe?” With a cute smile, she agreed.  I asked ho much and she responded “Two Fifty.”  I said with approval, “Just add it to my tab.”
          Thirty days later I received my statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00.  I looked again and remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20 for a scarf.  As I glanced at the bottom of the statement it said “Cookie Recipe-$250.”  Boy was I upset!  I called Neiman’s accounting office and told them the waitress said it was “two fifty” and I did not realize she meant $250 for a cookie recipe.  I asked them to take back the recipe and reduce my bill.  They said they were sorry, but all recipes were this expensive so not just anyone could duplicate the bakery recipes…the bill would stand.
          I thought of how I could try to get even or try to get my money back.  I just said okay, you folks got my $250 and now I’m going to have $250 worth of fun.  I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover will have the $250 recipe from Neiman-Marcus for nothing.  She replied “I wish you wouldn’t do this.”  I said, “I’m sorry, but this is the only way I feel I can get even and I will.”  So here it is, please pass it on to someone else or run a few copies…I paid for it, so now you can have it for free!!!
          Have fun!  This is not a joke – this is a true story!!!!!
               (believe it or not?????)

          Okay, so did you get the part about the price of two salads at Neiman-Marcus at $9.95?  That proves to you this is an old story.  So that also means that $250 was a LOT of money for a cookie recipe.
         Whether you believe the story or not, this is hands-down the best cookie recipe ever!  I adopted this recipe as my own special cookie recipe. I always get requests for the recipe and I always share the story—but I don’t ever charge them $250.  It’s free.
          And now, today, you can have it for free, too.  Just keep in mind this is a restaurant-sized recipe and makes about 8 dozen cookies.  I usually make ¼ of a batch, but they are always gone too quickly.  Enjoy!

Neiman-Marcus $250 Cookie Recipe

2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
5 cups oatmeal, measured then blended in a food processor to a fine powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
24 ounce chocolate chips
8 oz. Hershey milk chocolate bar, grated (I usually pop into the freezer for about 20 minutes before grating)
3 cups chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter and both sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda.  Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, beating until blended.  Stir in chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts.  Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. 

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