Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Neiman Marcus Urban Legend Cookies

Neiman Marcus Choc Chip Cookies
Home Cooking


I came across this recipe online a long time ago but didn't think much of it until it cropped up on a thread in Vogue Forums. There's a story behind the recipe, which I don't really imagine to be true, though I'm not too concerned about origin. Sure, it sounds cool if I say I baked cookies from a modern urban legend but what REALLY appealed to me was the fact that these cookies contain oat, grated chocolate AND chocolate chips.

The act of grating chocolate really scares me (you're trying to beat the clock to get as much chocolate shavings as possible out of the piece you're holding before it melts) but the thought of chocolate shavings melting into a cookie dough really appealed to me.


This is the first cookie recipe that I've taken really seriously. The only other choc chip/chunk cookie attempts in the past has been following this recipe which is simple, unfussy and so good that the cookies rarely get to cool down before they're all woofed down. I figured it's time that I gave a proper multi-step recipe a crack.

You can read a version of the 'story' here as well as the original recipe quantities. That recipe calls for 2 cups of butter and claims to yield 100+ cookies. Hey, cookies are a good thing but even I think 100 is excessive. I divided that recipe by 8 when I made my batch and I ended up with 24 small cookies. I think that's a decent amount. The only tricky part is using 'half an egg' but if you really want, you can double my recipe and make 40ish cookies.

Crunchy Choc Chip Cookies

Makes 24 small cookies

Ingredients:
  • 160g traditional rolled oats
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 60g grated milk chocolate
  • 85g chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 large egg (I beat one egg and used half the volume)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional - I used chopped, roasted almonds)
Procedure:

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a tray with baking paper.
2. In a small blender or food processor, blend the oatmeal until it is powder-like.3. Mix the blended oats with the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, grated chocolate, chocolate chips and (if using) nuts.4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter with the sugars. Add the egg and vanilla extract.
5. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture and combine it to form a cohesive dough. If it's too dry to come together, add a tablespoon or more of molten butter.6. From small balls (around 2cm across) and line on the baking tray around 2 cm apart. Squash the balls slightly.7. Bake in the oven for 10min. Cool completely before serving. They're really soft when they come out of the oven but harden as they cool.
These cookies sure were a lot of effort. Between the blending of the oats and the grating of the chocolate, I had my work cut out for me. It took a bit of experimenting to get a nice end result. The original recipe from the urban legend states to leave the dough in little balls when you place the tray in the oven. I did that at first and found that the balls didn't flatten in the oven... and I basically ended up with crunchy, spherical cookies. I suggest you flatten the dough before baking.


Also, my dough was really dry when I first brought all the ingredients - after all, it's a lot of dry ingredients and the only wet ingredients are a bit of butter and half an egg. The cookies made from this dry dough still worked out but I think the dough was easier to manipulate after I added a bit more molten butter.

Close-up

In terms of taste, these cookies are quite good. They're crunchy and slightly crumbly once they've cooled down completely. The grated chocolate in the dough is subtle and compliments the choc chips nicely. If I was to make this again, I wouldn't include nuts as I found the roast almonds a bit distracting.


I'm not 100% convinced that the cookies are worth the effort. At this stage, I'm leaning towards the one-bowl options that only require you to mix together a few simple, on hand ingredients. I had a lot of fun baking these but I doubt it's something I have to patience to endure if I'm suddenly struck with a cookie craving.

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