Growing up in Dallas, trips to Neiman Marcus were a special part of my adolescence (the company is headquartered downtown!). If I was lucky, we’d get lunch or a snack at the café and if I was really, really lucky, my mother would be in an extra good mood that would coincide with a generous sale. My fondest memories definitely come from the eating and hands down my favorite part of every meal were the popovers with strawberry butter – they always have been, and always will be. If you have the opportunity to try them (they’re served in place of bread), I can’t recommend them more. Light, buttery, flaky goodness with sweet butter…you get my drift.
So when my boyfriend gifted me this book earlier this year, I swore that the popovers would be the first thing I made. But despite having read it from cover to cover, I actually hadn’t cooked anything…until now (there was a whole thing, I wanted to cook with him because it was “special” but we just never got around to it…ya know).
Today, a few of my blogger friends + myself are sharing holiday-friendly cookie recipes to try over the next few weeks (and beyond!). Considering my love affair with this hometown institution + my relatively new acquisition of the cookbook, I knew I wanted to start baking these cookies every holiday season. While I’ve only had the real Neiman’s cookie a couple of times, I will say that that the homemade version is pretty freaking good.
A funny story: there’s a myth that a woman requested the famous chocolate chip cookie recipe and when she received it, it came with a $250 bill. She complained, and the store wouldn’t reverse the charge because they wanted the recipe to be difficult to obtain. Neiman’s swears this isn’t true and that the recipe was never intended to be a secret. You can read the whole account here, if you’re interested. True or false, it’s a fun little tale that really just helps make this recipe…it’s full of tradition, history, and a healthy dose of sugar ;)
*One thing to note about this recipe is that the original recipe calls for one egg, not two, and no oil. When I was done preparing the dough, it was extremely dry and crumbly, which made it really difficult to spoon into dollops. After the first batch came out of the oven way drier and crisper than I think it should have (still tasted good, but was a weird consistency), I took a chance, tossed in a splash of oil (about half a tablespoon) and added an extra egg. Mixed it together with a spatula and put it in the fridge for a few minutes and used it for the rest of the cookies, which were then perfect! Not sure whether caused the dryness –some bloggers said it was normal with this recipe, but I could have over-mixed the dough initially– but if this happens to you, fear not!
The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
Yields approximately 3 dozen small cookies
Adapted from Neiman Marcus Cooks
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs* (see note above)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coffee (I used Trader Joe’s Columbian Instant)
splash of vegetable or canola oil* (see note above)
Preheat oven to 300°F and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer (ideally use something with a paddle attachment like a KitchenAid stand mixer, but I used this). Beat on medium for about 6 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined (about 30 seconds).
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this flour mixture to the mixer (the butter + sugar bowl) while beating on low speed. Beat for about 15 seconds and add in chocolate chips and coffee.
Use a tablespoon to scoop and drop the cookie dough onto the greased cookie sheet, spacing the dollops about three inches apart. Gently press down on the top of each to spread the dough slightly.
Bake for 18-20 minutes – the cookies will be browned around the edges and be slightly soft to the touch. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool the pan before re-greasing and baking another batch.
Photos by Monica Dutia for Cake & Lilies