I was married at Christmas.  It was a magical time filled with family, friends, excitement, Christmas trees and laughter. 

There weren’t a lot of Christmas gifts that year, but there were a lot of wedding gifts.  And there is one gift, small and unpretentious as it was, that I revisit year after year.  I only pull it out at Christmas.  Smoothing out its rumpled and stained edges, it’s always the star of any gathering.  It just that special.

The unassuming gift was a little recipe taped to 2 cookie sheets- painstakingly typed and spaced with a manual typewriter on a note card. 

It was the kind of gift that one might expect from a great aunt or the little lady down the street.  But no, this gift was from a new friend who was newly married and just learning to cook herself.   It was simple.  It was practical.   It had obviously taken time.  And, quite  honestly, the cookies in the tin were the best I had ever wrapped my lips around.

They were the infamous Neiman Marcus cookies, packed with oatmeal, chocolate chunks, and pecans.  You know the ones around which the stories swirl of the unfortunate customer who was charged $250 for the exclusive recipe after tasting the cookies and asking for the recipe in Neiman Marcus’s department store cafe.  Of course, the story ends with the outraged customer vowing to get even by freely sharing the expensive secret recipe with as many of her friends as possible. 

The story isn’t a bit true.  But it makes the cookies all the more fun.  With wrapping paper and ribbon, it was like a secret handshake welcoming me to the club -the club of grown women among whom secret recipes circulated, whose kitchens churned out holiday meals and treats to the delights of their friends and families.  I was now entrusted as a keeper of the marvelous sought-after cookies.

And marvelous they are.  Which makes me obligated to share too.  Like our own secret handshake.  So these cookies can be the star of your gatherings too.

Neiman Marcus Cookies

This recipe can be found in various places around the Internet.  Below is my take on the version that was shared with me.


  • 1 C butter, room temperature
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 1/2 C oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 9 oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 1/2 C chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream butter and both sugars.  Be careful not to over-beat the butter.  This will leave you with flat cookies.  There is lots of mixing left to come!

Mix in eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon.  Add to wet ingredients and mix well.  

One at time add in the chocolate chips, the chocolate chunks, then nuts.  Add this point, I switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook on my stand mixer to mix in these last ingredients.  This cookie dough gets really thick really fast. 

To make sure that all the chunks and chips and nuts are evenly dispersed, I always use a heavy spatula to fold in the sides of the dough several times after I mix as well as I can with the stand mixer.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, I recommend doing this step completely by hand.  A hand mixer is not enough to handle this deliciously chunky cookie dough.  

Roll the cookie dough into 1 inch balls and space them out on a cookie tray.  The cookies will spread a little, but not much if you have not over-beaten your butter. 

If you don’t want to bake all of the cookies at once (about 50-60 cookies), you can always spoon the cookie dough onto plastic wrap.  Form into a log, wrap well, and refrigerate.  Simply unwrap and slice to bake.

Bake 9-10 minutes.  Let cookies cool on the pan 1-2 minutes to set before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Now these cookies are finished and ready to be served just like they are.  Neiman Marcus cookies are just ridiculously good, especially if you love chocolate.  It is so hard to eat just one. 

But this is Christmas.  And well, like anything at Christmas, sometimes you just need to do a little something extra with it.  A little extra Christmas magic. 

For a plate of cookies that is just about impossible to pass up and presentation that is worthy of the name Neiman Marcus, I often take half of the total number of cookies baked and partially dip them in melting chocolate.  For even more variety, I sprinkle some finely chopped pecans on half of the chocolate dipped cookies.  This gives me 3 gourmet looks with just one recipe and is always a decadent showstopper at cookie swaps and parties.

Click the pictures to shop these affiliate links for what I use to bake perfect cookies every time!

Want to give your own special cookie recipe gift?  Here’s what I recommend:

***Pin this Neiman Marcus cookies recipe!***

Packed with chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, oatmeal, and pecans, Neiman Marcus cookies are a southern classic that serve as perfect Christmas cookies. If you are a chocolate chip cookie lover, this indulgent recipe is for you!

For more Christmas recipe ideas, check out these ASD favorites!

Christmas Morning:  Overnight Baked Gingerbread Oatmeal

The Mini Natchitoches Meat Pie

Christmas Brunch:  Green Chile Strata

See this and other great recipes at Meal Plan Monday and Full Plate Thursday!

Neiman Marcus Cookies
Yields 50
A deliciously chunky chocolate chip, oatmeal, and pecan cookie. A Southern classic perfect for Christmas or any special occasion.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
9 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
9 min
  1. 1 C butter, room temperature
  2. 1 C brown sugar
  3. 1 C granulated sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 2 C flour
  7. 2 1/2 C oatmeal
  8. 1 tsp baking powder
  9. 1 tsp baking soda
  10. 1/2 tsp salt
  11. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  12. 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  13. 9 oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  14. 1 1/2 C chopped pecans
  1. Cream butter and both sugars.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. Mix together flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add to wet mixture and mix well.
  4. fold in chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, and nuts.
  5. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 9-10 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
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