Monday, June 24, 2013

Neiman Marcus Cookies

leaves and flours vegan neiman marcus oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I first went vegan in college. I had a lot of friends who were also vegan, so I learned a lot about cooking by observing them. Making dinner was easy. Most of the time I just wanted salad, soup, or a stir-fry anyways. But I didn't really know much about baking. I remember browsing lots of "easy, vegan recipe" type pamphlets and learning about substituting eggs with apple sauce or mashed bananas. I didn't really think about it too much past that. Until there was a boy coming over. One that I wanted to impress. So I decided to make a batch of the infamous Neiman Marcus cookies, but vegan. These were the cookies I grew up. One of the only recipes that I remember my mother making from scratch frequently. I knew they were good enough to woo a boy.

leaves and flours vegan neiman marcus oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

What I didn't know then was that eggs serve a lot of purposes in baking. And that mashed bananas and applesauce don't generally work very well for cookies, where eggs generally bind things instead of just adding moisture (Side note: I did study biochemistry, I should have realized that it applied to my food the same way it did in my textbooks). I remember making the dough and thinking that it tasted delicious out of the bowl. I scooped them and put the trays in the oven. I ran upstairs to check my outfit for the fifteenth time. I came back down when the timer went off to find a soft mess. The cookies didn't really bake for the most part. The edges were a little firm, but you couldn't pick them up off the tray without them falling into pieces. Inedible, but at least the house smelled like fresh baked cookies instead of Cher's dilemma a la Clueless.

leaves and flours vegan neiman marcus oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

After my attempt went so badly, Neiman Marcus cookies sort of slipped out of my mind. I have made many cookies since then. Chocolate chip, sugar, thumbprint, pignoli… I didn't think those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies again until I saw this recipe for Vegan Marcus Cookies on Namely Marly. I needed to redeem my self of that terrible cookie failure right then and there. I couldn't wait until I had gone to the grocery store to buy the rest of the ingredients I needed, so I switched things out & halved the recipe to boot . They turned out so well. I am so happy she reminded me of that silly night and how much I have learned since then. You should make her recipe. I will let you know what tweaks I made, since my cookies look a little different than hers. Since I had run out, I replaced the corn starch with potato starch. I omitted the nuts (I just can't get behind pieces of nuts inside my cookies) and pared down the chocolate a little to make them a tad less sweet. I also used more grated chocolate than chocolate chips, since I had a small block of fancy chocolate in the cabinet for far too long.

leaves and flours vegan neiman marcus oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Is there a recipe that has defeated you before that you have recently revisited or are planning to whip into shape soon? I'm always curious what confounds people. I had a friend recently tell me that her first cheesecake somehow exploded and potentially caught fire in the oven. But I know she is going to remedy that soon. I'm always stumped by the simple things, like perfect pudding & not-to-sweet vanilla buttercream. Here's to mastering it all, one recipe at a time.


  1. This sounds very similar to my early vegan baking struggles! I remember trying to veganize my mom's classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, and while the end results weren't disastrous, they were a bit hard- A far cry from the soft, chewy, and buttery originals. Practice (and a solid formula) makes perfect. ;)

  2. Totally the same! Mine was/is trying to veganize my grandmother's recipes mostly. I mean, it's hard enough with homemade recipes to get it right, but subbing out ingredients (even the brand of baking powder and lack of her oven) can become a complete mess. My current nemesis seems to be lemon curd for some reason. Hey, at least I triumphed over the pancake "issue" I had.

    1. Try this! It has worked for me several times.

      Vegan Lemon Curd

      3/4 cups canned coconut milk
      1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
      3 tablespoons cornstarch
      1/2 cup granulated sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1/8 teaspoon turmeric
      1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

      In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut milk, lemon juice, cornstarch, sugar, vanilla, and turmeric for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is warm and starting to get steamy.
      Reduce the heat to low and stir for 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Once the mixture is thick, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
      Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap touching the top of the curd, and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

  3. the first time i ever made vegan cookies was a disaster. i had actually never in my life made cookies so first of all i had no idea what i was doing anyway. since i had only ever made cake before, i whipped up the cookie recipe and then decided that it was "too dry" and wouldn't work. (?!?!?!)

    i added about a cup or even more of soymilk to the cookie dough until it resembled a cake like batter. (looking back on this now i dont even know what the heck i was thinking at the time). i think the problem is that i didn't read the recipe the entire way through and i was just so completely clueless. i went to "scoop" spoonfuls of dough onto the pan and *obviously* it wouldn't work so i just dumped the entire thing into a pan and baked it.

    i ended up with a fluffy banana chocolate chip cake thing so i guess it wasn't that bad but seriously. . . not even close to a cookie.

    thanks for that trip down memory lane. . . look how far we've come! these cookies look so pretty. i don't even really know what a marcus cookie is but now i'm licking the computer screen.

  4. I can't stop thinking about these cookies. I bought chocolate chips.