Chocolate Chip Cookies aka $250 Cookie Recipe
The origins of these chocolate chip cookies is actually based on an urban legend that circulated widely via email in 1996. I tried the chocolate recipe and loved it, so I saved the recipe for the past 20 years and it’s easy to adapt for my children’s allergies.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Hoax
Here’s a quick summary in case you haven’t heard about the $250 Chocolate Chip Cookies. A woman and her daughter were dining at a Neiman Marcus cafe in Dallas and they enjoyed some chocolate chip cookies so much, they asked the server if they could have a copy of the recipe. The server told them that it would cost “two fifty” and they agreed.
The woman eventually discovered that the charge was actually $250 but she couldn’t get her money back. The woman decided to get even by sharing the recipe with all chocolate chip cookie lovers and encouraged everyone to make copies to share and people forwarded the recipe to everyone they knew via email until the story was debunked as a hoax.
Out of curiosity I made the $250 chocolate chip recipe back in 1996 and loved it so much. The $250 chocolate chip recipe is different from typical chocolate chip cookie recipes for a few reasons:
- The $250 chocolate chip cookie uses ground up oats to replace some of the wheat flour so you get some extra fiber but without the coarse texture of typical oatmeal cookies.
- My original copy of the $250 chocolate chip cookie makes an enormous amount of cookies. I’ve halved the recipe and it barely fits inside my stand mixer. I also want to get in and out of the kitchen quickly so I make giant cookie dough balls which bake into immensely satisfying cookies.
- I realized that the reason that the cookies turn out great is that I don’t follow the recipe exactly and added some of the chocolate chip cookie baking tips I learned in middle school home economics class (LOL).
- Be sure to chill the dough, the cookies will taste and look a lot better if you chill them at least 30 minutes.
- Make ahead tip – shape the dough into balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet. When the cookie dough balls are frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. Be sure to label the bag with the cookie name, date, baking temperature, and how long to bake them.
Allergy Aware Chocolate Chip Cookies
I’ve adapted the recipe so that it’s egg free by replacing eggs with my favorite egg substitute for cookies, a combination of oil, water, and baking powder. It’s also easy to omit the nuts to make the cookie nut-free. I added raisins to make up for the volume and for extra flavor and chewiness.
When I need to bake milk free, I replace butter with Earth Balance buttery sticks. Of all the products I’ve tried, that has the best taste and performs the best but contains soy. (Out of curiosity, what do people with milk and soy allergies like to use to replace butter?)
Nut Free and Allergen Friendly Holiday Cookie Exchange!
Kourtney, at Allergy Girl Eats, coordinated a cookie recipe exchange among a group of food allergy bloggers so go visit her site to see what we all shared. We swapped recipes and made each other’s recipes. That was really fun to do and gave me a push to try something new. I made Amanda’s Spiced Sunbutter Cookie recipe.
Amanda’s recipe is a relatively small batch, so I used a hand mixer to mix the dough. It’s really fast to make, probably took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The cookies are really soft when they’re fresh out of the oven but the firm up to a nice chewy texture the next day with a nice nutty taste from the Sunbutter but without any actual nuts. The recipe calls for a sprinkle and a pinch of different spices, I recommend generous sprinkles and a big pinch for more flavor.
You can find the other recipes here:
Allergy Girl Eats – Kalter Hund
My Berkeley Kitchen – Orange Blossom Coconut Macaroons with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
But Why Are YOU Sharing a Hoax Cookie Recipe, Sharon?!?!
Holiday cookies should be all about snow, reindeers, and peppermint and I agree it’s a little strange that I decided to share a chocolate chip recipe with a dubious history. Besides the fact that the chocolate chip cookies are really delicious, I think it’s an important reminder to honor what is true and fact based.
Over the past year I’ve seen a proliferation of supposedly health related websites publishing food allergy related articles. Sometimes the articles are plagiarized from reputable sources, which is bad because they’re stealing credit and website traffic. Sometimes these articles might share misinformation because the editors are ignorant about how to manage life with food allergies.
Lives and families are at stake when we’re trying to sort through what is true, proven, and fact based versus what is sprinkled with half-truths and half-lies. And just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about my advocate and blogger friends, allergy friendly companies, or food allergy non-profits. I know we are all working together on the same team but there are some who have an agenda, who exploit medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, etc. for unknown reasons. How do we tell the difference?
- Is it a real website for a real person or real organization? Is there a physical address?
- Does the author have a name or a generic title? Can you contact them by email, phone, or social media?
- Does the article recommend anything that is different from what your doctor has told you?
- Does something sound too good to be true, sensational, or unprofessional? Do you feel bad, guilty, or manipulated? Trust your instincts.
I hope that as we are vigilant to seek out what is true about food allergies and based on facts and science, our food allergy community will be stronger and safer. If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for reading and trusting me, it’s an honor. These $250 chocolate chip cookies are a delicious hoax you can fall for safely, enjoy.
This recipe is free of peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish as written.
Chocolate Chip Cookies aka $250 Cookies Recipe
- 2.5 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons oil + 3 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder equivalent to 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 12 ounces chocolate chips I used 6 oz chips and 6 oz chopped
- 4 ounces chocolate bar grated (I subbed in mini-chips)
- 1 cup raisins optional
- Preheat oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicon liners.
- Measure 2.5 cups of oats and blend/pulse in a blender or a food processor until the oat is finely ground into a powder.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and pulse, set aside until ready to use.
- Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer for about 1 minute until creamy.
- Add granulated and brown sugars and cream until fluffy (about 5 minutes), scrape down sides as needed.
- Combine oil, water, and baking powder in a small bowl, add to the butter mixture, add vanilla extract and cream until blended.
- Add half of the flour and oats mixture and mix, add the rest and mix.
- Scrape down the sides, add the chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and raisins (if using), and mix on low speed.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes (or longer).
- Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball, and place about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for about 14-15 minutes until golden brown, take the cookie sheet out of the oven and allow the cookies to cool slightly for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wired rack to cool completely.
- Makes about 36 3-inch cookies.
This cookie dough is a great make ahead recipe if you wrap and store in your refrigerator. You can also roll out the dough into balls and freeze on a cookie sheet, when the dough balls are frozen you can transfer them to a freezer bag. When you are ready to bake the frozen cookie dough, you do not need to defrost the dough, just arrange them on a cookie sheet while you are pre-heating your oven.
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