Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Best Chain-Mail I've Ever Recieved

Sometimes recipes can mean nothing at all. Sometimes they are literally words, spilled onto a page that put together make something kind of tasty. But the best recipes of all are those which have a story behind them, a little bit of human interest that tells you why a recipe is important.

It was another friend's Birthday this week so I decided to bake her three types of cookie as a present and the next three blog posts will be dedicated to those cookies. Weeks before the time to bake came I had decided on two of the three cookies but I was stuck for a third. Talking to my boss at work she mentioned the best cookies she'd ever made, some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies apparently from Neiman-Marcus' recipe. She offered to send me the recipe to look over and I said "why not?" I'm always in the market for a new recipe to try out, especially one which comes with such high recommendations. The email she sent me came in the form of a chain-letter. You know the typical send this on to everyone yadda yadda kind. But the recipe itself had an interesting little back-story explaining just how the originator had got hold of Neiman-Marcus' special cookie recipe.

"My daughter and I had just finished lunch at NAiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas. Becuase both of us are such biscuit lovers, we decuded to try the 'Neiman-Marcus cookie'. It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe. The waitress said with a small frown, 'I'm afraid not, but you can BUY the recipe.' I asked how much, and she repsponded; "only two-fifty - it's a great deal!" I agreed to that and told her to add it to my bill. Thirty days later, I got my VISA statement, and the Neiman-Marcus charge was $285.00. I looked at ti again, and I remembered that I had only spent $9.95 for two sandwiches and about $20.00 for a scarf. At thebottom of the statement, it said, 'Cookie Recipe - $250.00'.

That was outrageous! I called Neiman's accountign department andn told them the waitress had said it was two-fifty, which clearly does not mean two hundred and fifty dollars by any reasonable interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge. They would not refund my money because, according to them; 'what the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe. We absolutely will not refund your money.'

I explained to Accounting Department the criminal statutes whcihc govern fraud in the State of Texas. I threadtened to report them to the Better Business Bureau and the Texas Attorney General's Office. I was basically told: do what you want. Don't bother thinking of how you can get even, and don't bother trying to get any of your money back'. I said, ok, you've 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 in the world with an email account gets a $250  cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus, for free! She replied 'I wish you wouldn't do that.' I said, 'well you should have thoguht of that before you RIPPED ME OFF!' and slammed down the phone."

I have my doubts as to whether this story is true. The recipe is pretty simple and rather similar to a number of other oatmeal cookie recipes I've seen out there. I could just be that cookies with oatmeal in are generally incredibly tasty. But regardless of whether it's true or not these really are the best cookies I've ever made. They went down a storm with my friends, who devoured pretty much the whole lot while watching twilight after a big night of partying and one of whom subsequently told me, via facebook, that  she was really craving my oatmeal cookies! My mum also loved them, she looked at me resentfully while she chowed down on her third one of the evening and if compliments alone weren't enough I tried them myself and was blown away. They're chewy but crunchy and have just the right level of sweetness! I have neve recieved so many compliments for a batch of cookies and I will definitely make these again!

I did change a few things for my version of the recipe out of sheer laziness! I didn't blend my oatmeal which made my cookies a little crunchier and I left out the grated chocolate. I think adding that in would only make them nicer though to be honest. My boss swears by using a crumbled flake instead of grating her chocolate. also the original recipe made something like 112 cookies, naturally I quartered this to make it a little more accessible! Either way, these are delicious and incredibly simple to make!

Neiman-Marcus Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

4oz butter
170g chocolate chips
4oz  flour
3.5oz brown sugar
1/2tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4tsp salt
4oz castor sugar
175g grated chocolate
5oz blended oatmeal
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3.5 oz chopped nuts (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 180c and prepare a cookie sheet.
  2. Blend oatmeal in a blender to a fine powder.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  4. Add in the chocolate chips, grated chocolate and nuts.
  5. Roll into tbsp sized balls and place two inches apart onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how soft you want you cookies. (Mine took about 12 minutes)
  6. Leave to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to an air-tight container.

1 comment:

  1. The chain letter is utterly false and the recipe is only so-so. Neiman Marcus never sold cookies, much less a recipe at a horrendous price, Neither did Wolworths, the chain letter recipe rumor has developed a mutation that slams that store as well. Neither did a hotel sell a red velvet cake recipe for scads of money in the earlier part of the 20th century.

    These rumors are a very bad way to manipulate people into passing on a recipe that just doesn't make the grade.
    For info:

    And for info on chain letters in general, http://chainletters.pbworks.com