Over a Cup: The story behind the ‘$250 Cookies’ recipe

A while back, probably a month or so ago, this column featured a recipe for “$250 Cookies,” a recipe that I had found in some newspaper years ago. (I have made the cookies, and they’re delicious.) So then about May 15, I received a letter from an anonymous reader with a story about the cookies. I usually do not put recipes or other information from anonymous readers in my column, but this time I have broken my own rule. This column deals with that story, an intriguing one to say the least.

The reader enclosed a story. Because this column is limited in the number of words, I can’t print the story in full, but here’s the gist of it.

The story is about a “friend of a friend” who had lunch at Neiman Marcus in Dallas. For dessert, she had a cookie that she liked so much she asked for the recipe. She was told that the cost of the recipe was “two-fifty,” but when the friend got her credit card bill she discovered that she had been charged $250 — not $2.50. The friend was told that she had to pay the bill so, to get revenge, she sent the recipe to everyone and asked them to share it.

That’s the story. I was telling Craig Daily Press Managing Editor Noelle Leavitt Riley about it. She was fascinated with the story so she went to the Internet and found a bunch of information that she printed off for me.

According to information on several websites, the story is considered a myth, legend and a tall tale. It has been circulating since about 1948 and furthermore may have started with a different restaurant and a different recipe altogether — perhaps a “Red Velvet Cake.” There are several versions of the story that are similar in details.

From what I understand from all of the printed information, Neiman Marcus didn’t even serve a chocolate chip cookie when the story got started, but they did create a recipe later on. So following is the “$250 Cookie” recipe. According to information on the Neiman Marcus website:

“Copy it, print it, or pass it along to friends and family. It’s a terrific recipe. And it’s absolutely free.”

Notice that this recipe is not the same as the one printed in this column previously, though I did find it on at least one of the printouts from websites. Let me know how this week’s recipe turned out if you try it. Also, check the websites for a lot more information concerning the “$250 Cookie” recipe. Thanks to the reader for passing the story along to me.

If you have recipes you would like to share, call 970-824-8809 or send them to P.O. Box 415, Craig, CO 81626.

$250 cookies

1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla for 30 seconds longer, until well combined. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the mixer, while beating on slow speed. Beat for about 15 seconds, stir in the chocolate chips and expresso powder. Mix for 15 seconds longer. Prepare the cookie sheet with about 2 tablespoons of shortening (or use a non-stick spray). Using a 1-ounce scoop, or using a 2-tablespoon measure, drop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet in dollops about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into 2-inch circles; there should be room on the sheet for six to eight cookies at a time. Transfer to the oven in batches and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cookies are nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for crispier cookies.

Courtesy Neiman Marcus (Mrs. Fields)

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