During the 1980s a rumor began to circulate alleging that the luxury department store Neiman Marcus had once charged a customer $250 for a cookie recipe.
The rumor was first reported in newspapers during the late 1980s. However, the tale was likely older than that.
Pat Zajac, a Neiman Marcus spokeswoman in Dallas, when interviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times in 1992,
said that the tale had been circulating since she came to work for the chain in 1986.
The Chicago Sun-Times interview included this version of the rumor:
My daughter and I had finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas and decided to have a small dessert.
Because our family members are such `cookie monsters' we decided to try the Neiman-Marcus Cookie.
It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe, and they said with a small frown, `I'm afraid not.'
Well, I said, `Would you let me buy the recipe?' With a cute smile she said, `Yes.'
I asked how much and she responded `two fifty.' I said with approval, `Just add it to my tab,' which I already signed."
The letter continued: "Thirty days later I received my Visa statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.
I looked again, and I 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!
The rumor went on to state that, in the spirit of revenge, the victim was giving away the $250 recipe at no charge to anyone who wanted it.
A cookie recipe was then provided:
NEIMAN-MARCUS $250 COOKIE RECIPE
2 cups BUTTER
2 cups SUGAR
2 cups BROWN SUGAR
2 tablespoons VANILLA
4 cups FLOUR
3 cups blended OATMEAL (measure and blend to a fine powder in a blender)
1 teaspoon SALT
1 teaspoon BAKING POWDER
2 teaspoons BAKING SODA
24 ounces CHOCOLATE CHIPS
1 (8-ounce) grated MILK CHOCOLATE HERSHEY BAR
3 cups chopped NUTS (I used walnuts)
Cream butter and both sugars; add eggs and vanilla.
Mix together the flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add to the creamed mixture.
Add chips, grated Hershey bar and nuts.
Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 6-8 minutes at 375 F.
Makes 112 cookies, but recipe can be halved.