Remember the urban legend of the woman who had lunch at a Neiman Marcus cafe and asked for the recipe of their chocolate chip cookie only to find out they charged her $250 for it on her credit card? There's also a version where this is supposedly the secret recipe for Mrs. Fields' cookies. Having been an early (and frequent) connoisseur of Mrs. Fields' cookies, I'll debunk that one because I don't think her chocolate chip cookies had ground up oatmeal in it. Don't ask how many cookies I tried to be sure of that - one has to be thorough in research. So I still refer to this kind of cookie as the Neiman Marcus cookie: ground up oatmeal to thicken the dough and grated chocolate for added flavor and texture. I think the appeal this cookie had for most bakers back when it first surfaced is it helped cookies stay thick and not spread so much. At least that's why I was fascinated by it when I first discovered it many years ago as those were my flat-cookie baking days.
Now, I just thought I'd try this recipe because it's been in my "Still Need to Make" folder for eons and, much like my pin board of baking recipes to try, I go back to that folder regularly in an attempt to get the number of recipes I've put in it through the years tried and filed away in a different folder of stuff I've actually made. Never mind that I would need to bake until I'm 180 years old to get through them all. It's about the journey, not the destination.
1 ½ cups rolled oats (ground)
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still firm
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
12 ounces chocolate chips
4 ounces grated semisweet chocolate
1 ½ cups chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350˚F. Place oats in a blender or food processor and blend until very fine. Set aside,
2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars in a large bowl until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat 20 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat for 15 seconds to blend.
3. Whisk together the flour, processed oats, baking powder and salt. With a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, blend the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. (This will be difficult since the batter is very stiff.) Add the chocolate chips, grated chocolate and nuts.
4. Form dough into balls about 2 inches in diameter and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake 14 to 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned. The cookies should still feel a bit soft at this point. (They will not spread very much and will look undercooked. Do not overcook or they will become hard and dry when they cool.) They will harden as they cool. Remove from oven and let cookies cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to cooling racks. Cool cookies at least 30 minutes before serving.