How to Bake the $250 Chocolate Chip Cookie by Cleo Coyle

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In this post, I share some of my favorite urban legends with you, including one that involves food: the legendary $250 Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I also share some tips with you on getting the most out of any chocolate chip cookie recipe. Yes, even a notorious one.
Click here to download
the free Recipe PDF.

If you'd like to download the recipe in a free PFD, click here

To read my entire post, scroll down, or click here and bake with joy! 

  Cleo Coyle, author of  

A Note from Cleo 

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

As a writer of quirky culinary mysteries, I find urban legends fascinating.

- Maybe because they cross into that peculiar realm between shadowy danger and human folly.

- Maybe because they test our imagination.

- Or maybe, like any good campfire story, they blend the scary with the wacky.

Here are 3 Urban Legends
that have been around
since I was a kid. 

Have you heard
of these, too?

1. Alligators in the New York Sewers A family supposedly brought back a few babies from Florida and flushed them into the system, where they still live and prowl today.

Personally, I haven’t detected any evidence of ferocious creatures beneath my septic system, but it would be an interesting way to...well, go. Hey, no groaning. Shakespeare and Hitchcock considered the pun the highest form of humor. (Of course, that was pre-twitter lolcat.)

2. The Hook – After a young couple parks on "Lovers’ Lane," they hear a radio report about a crazy escaped convict with a hook for a hand. The boy doesn’t want to leave, but the girl makes him. When they arrive home, the girl gets out of the car and screams. A hook is hanging from her door handle.

Okay, I’m sure "The Hook" is supposed to serve as some sort of cautionary tale for young people who park and fog up windows. Honestly, I didn't "park" in my youth (late bloomer), but I never heard of my friends or classmates seeing a psychotic killer through their car windows. I did once see a cop appear at my car window with a flashlight. But that was in my thirties. At the beach. With my husband. And, wow, were we embarrassed...

3. Bloody Mary – Stand in front of a mirror and chant “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary,” and her ghost will appear.

I once tried this and it actually worked! My husband overheard me and brought me this... 

And you can learn how to make a classic Bloody Mary in the video above. Even if you know how, this bartender is charming enough to make it worth watching.

...which brings me to a tasty 
sub-category of the urban legend—
the culinary variety...

The $250.00
Urban Legend Cookie

The Story

A woman finishes her meal at the Neiman Marcus café and asks her waitress for the recipe of the store’s signature chocolate chip cookies. The waitress delivers the recipe to the woman’s table. A few weeks later the woman notices a $250.00 charge from Neiman Marcus on her credit card. When she calls to inquire about the charge, they inform her it was the cost of the recipe!

This tale is, of course, totally false, but one true thing happened as a result. So many people repeated the tale that Neiman Marcus made their recipe available free to the public. A nice break for those of us who love testing new chocolate chip cookie recipes. 

The Recipe

How to Bake an
Urban Legend

See my my tips at the end of the recipe
 for getting the best results out of it. ~ Cleo 

To download this recipe 
in a PDF form that you can 
print, save, or share, click here.

The Urban Legend 
$250 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder

1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)

2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.

3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.

4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.

CLEO'S VERDICT – A very good recipe. I especially like the espresso powder addition. Don’t be put off by this. You do not taste the coffee. In fact, the addition of coffee to a recipe is a well-known chef’s trick to intensify the flavor of chocolate.

By the way, espresso powder is like instant coffee. The espresso is made, then freeze dried and ground into powder. (It is not ground espresso beans.) 

Pictured below is what I use, the Megdaglia D'oro brand. If you'd like a link to buy this espresso powder online, click here. Otherwise, look for it in your grocery store's coffee section.


1 – Hydrate the dough: For the best results here, I strongly suggest that you chill this dough in the fridge overnight or 24 to 36 hours before baking. Simply form the dough into a ball, wrap it snugly in plastic, and place the wrapped dough ball into the fridge. Allowing almost any cookie dough to rest in the refrigerator gives the liquids time to penetrate the dry ingredients. You are also giving the flavors time to develop in the dough. This is really the best tip I can give you for any chocolate chip cookie.

2 – Forming the cookies: I didn’t bother with a measuring scoop as the recipe suggests. I simply used clean fingers to roll little balls (slightly smaller than golf balls) and used the heel of my hand to press them gently into rounds of about 2-inches in diameter.

3 – Baking the cookies: I use a simple $5.00 oven thermometer to make sure my oven temperature is accurate. If your oven is truly preheated to 300 degrees F., then I suggest baking the cookies for only 17 minutes. 15 minutes is a little too chewy and 20 a little too crispy, but 17 minutes at exactly 300 degrees F.…ah, just right for you to…

Click here to download the recipe
as a free PDF document.


Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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