Chocolate Chip Cookie Series #7: Neiman Marcus
Welcome back to the Chocolate Chip Cookie Series! As promised from my last post, this week I will be testing the Neiman Marcus’ chocolate chip cookie recipe! This recipe was created by the bakers at Neiman Marcus to refute all of the publicity they were receiving from the mythical origin story of $250 Department Store cookie. Neiman Marcus publishes their actually chocolate chip cookie recipe on their website absolutely free of charge.
If you are interesting in learning the origins of the mysterious $250 Department Store cookie, click here to go to my last post to find out the story!
In addition to the typical ingredients seen in a chocolate chip cookie recipes, this recipe adds in espresso coffee powder. If you’ve never used espresso powder in your baked goods before, you may be thinking, is this chocolate chip cookie going to taste like my morning mocha? The answer is absolutely not!
Espresso powder is concentrated instant coffee that consists of coffee crystals that dissolve very quickly in water. It is not typically used for drinking, but mostly used in baked goods because it has a much more concentrated flavor than instant coffee. Adding espresso powder to most chocolate recipes will enhance and intensify the chocolate flavor. So, the chocolate becomes even more chocolate-y and all the more fabulous. By adding a small amount of it, your baked goods will have a more intense chocolate flavor without the addition of the mocha flavor.
A great test if you want to see the difference is to take one of your favorite chocolate based recipes. Make one batch how you normally make it, while also making a second batch adding in a teaspoon or two of espresso powder. When you compare the two, you may only notice a slight difference between the two, but the espresso powder batch will produce a deeper, more intense chocolate flavor than your original recipe! Doesn’t sound bad to me.
Adding in espresso powder is also very handy when you don’t want to spring for the more expensive cocoa powders or baking chocolates. The simple addition of espresso powder will give the same enhanced flavor of chocolate as the fancy chocolates!
If you have never tried espresso powder in your baked goods, I highly suggest giving it a try. You may not notice a huge difference, but you will find that your recipe has a stronger chocolate flavor that I think you will most enjoy! Unfortunately, espresso powder is difficult to find in your local grocery stores so you will have to order it online. If you are looking for a substitution that you can find at your local store, you can use either instant espresso or instant coffee. If using instant espresso, use the same measurement as stated in the recipe. If you are using instant coffee, increase the amount by 50% to get the same flavor enhancement. Also, instant coffee can be a bit more sour and bitter than instant espresso so that is certainly something to keep in mind.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cup light brown sugar
6 tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Verify temperature with oven thermometer!
- Cream together butter and sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy. This will take several minutes.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time and add in vanilla bean paste. Beat these for another several minutes.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add in the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until thoroughly mixed. Don’t overmix though either!
- Stir in espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips until evenly incorporated.
- Scoop 1 ounce size dough balls using an ice cream scooper onto parchment lined baking sheet (the recipe calls for 1 ounce sized scoops, which is about the same size as a medium sized ice cream scooper).
- Gently press on each dough ball with the back of a spoon or the bottom of a flat bottomed glass cup. Spread the dough into a 2 inch circle.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. If you like a crispier cookie, bake for a few extra minutes. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for several minutes prior to removing to a wire rack to cool completely. This recipes makes ~48 cookies.
These cookies can be left on the counter in a sealed container for several days. If placed in the fridge, they are good for 1-2 weeks. These cookies freeze very well and can last up to several months.
I have to say… another great and unique cookie! I definitely enjoyed how different the Neiman Marcus cookie was in comparison to the $250 Department Store Cookie. I dare say that I enjoyed this cookie more, but don’t tell the ladies in the story I said that!
This cookie is very different than the other chocolate chip cookies I have previously tried in the series so it’s a great addition to add into the mix. Adding the espresso powder definitely enhances the chocolate flavor in the cookie without giving it that mocha flavor. Baking the cookies at 300 degrees with a longer bake time produced a cookie that was crispy and crunchy. These cookies are not soft or chewy, but delightfully crispy. The ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar also gave the cookie a richer depth of caramelized flavor due to more molasses in the recipe, which definitely brightened the flavor quite perfectly.
Like I said earlier, espresso powder is hard to come by unless you order it online! I literally went to every grocery store in my area and all I could find was instant espresso or instant coffee! Even though I was slightly annoyed by this, I decided that I would take advantage of the situation and testthe different between using instant espresso and espresso powder in this recipe. So I made two batches: one with instant espresso and one with espresso powder.
The difference between the two batches was definitely measurable, but would not be completely noticeable to the average cookie eater. Basically, if I didn’t tell you that there was something different between the two cookies, you may not know the difference, but once I did tell you, you would certainly notice immediately.
When comparing the two batches, the textures of the cookieswere exactly the same as to be expected. The subtle difference was in the taste and a slight difference in color. Espresso powder (image on the left) is a very fine powder that disintegrates immediately when it hits any sort of liquid. The crystals dissolved completely leaving no little specs of coffee flakes in the dough once the dry ingredients were incorporated into the wet mixture. The instant espresso (image to the right) is a more coarse powder and did not dissolve into the dough like the espresso powder did. When incorporated into the wet mixture, coffee flakes could be seen throughout the dough and could be visually seen in the baked cookies as well. The espresso powder batter produced a darker cookie than the instant espresso did. This is due the dissolving of the espresso powder giving the cookie are more caramelized appearance, which I actually thought was prettier than the instant espresso batch!
When tasting the cookies, the batch with the espresso powder was simply just better. The chocolate flavor was richer. There was no coffee or mocha flavor in the cookies and certainly no bitterness to the batch at all. In comparison, the batch with the instant espresso was not bad by any means either! The enhanced chocolate flavor produced was slightly less than with the espresso powder and there was a hint of bitterness from the espresso that did leave you with a slightly bitter aftertaste. However, I do think using instant espresso in this recipe or any chocolate recipe would certainly do the trick for enhances the chocolate if you don’t have espresso powder on hand. It’s a great alteration to the espresso powder and produces a better taste than instant coffee will give the recipe. I used Café Bustelo Espresso Style Instant Coffee, which I thought worked well, but I think any instant espresso would work fine as well.
I hoped you enjoyed the seventh cookie in the Chocolate Chip Cooke Series! What did you think of the addition of the espresso powder? Is that something you would consider adding into your chocolate recipe? What do you think of this recipe in comparison to the $250 Department Store Cookie? Check back next week to see the next chocolate chip cookie recipe I try! Until then, check out the other chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve tried in the Chocolate Chip Cookie Series. Happy Baking!