Sarah Kieffer’s Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sarah Kieffer’s pan-banging chocolate chip cookies are now world famous and rightly for so. Kieffer’s recipe for these insanely delicious cookies first appeared in her cookbook called Vanilla Bean Baking Book. They were later featured in the NY Times, and the rest they say, is history. Kieffer is a self-taught baker and one that I admire very much. Her blog, The Vanilla Bean Blog, is a fantastic one and her recipes, not just these pan-banking chocolate chip cookies, are fantastic. I don’t promote many bloggers, but Kieffer is an exception.
After hearing about these cookies for a long time, it was the COVID lockdown that pushed me to make them. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a stress baker with a deep love for cookies. When the lockdown first began it felt suffocating. With constant news updates filled with horrifying death counts and staggering suffering, I felt in a constant state of panic and uncertainty. Some days it felt as if I was holding my breath unable to exhale. Enter Kieffer’s pan-banking cookies. These cookies actually brought me relief. The banging process itself was completely therapeutic. I kid you not, banging the cookies on the counter was liberating. And the cookies, well, they were as I imagined—perfection.
The Purpose of Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies:
According to Kieffer: “bakers tapping their cookie pans in the oven isn’t new, of course, but the pan-banging technique I use here is unique in that the pan is tapped in the oven every few minutes, creating ripples on the edge of the cookie. This creates two textures in the cookie: a crisp outer edge, and a soft, gooey center”. If you have never tried this technique, and love cookies as much as I do, these are a must-make and the perfect afternoon treat any day of the week.
To clarify, tapping a cookie pan isn’t a totally new technique, but banging the entire pan multiple times does give you a very different baking result. What banging the pan actually does is it deflates and spreads a puffed-up cookie, resulting in numerous ripples along the edges and soft dough in the very center. When you repeat this step frequently during the baking process, what you end up with is ultra-thin, nicely textured, buttery chocolate chip cookies.
Ina Garten, one of my many culinary heroes, also makes similar wrinkle cookies that she calls giant crinkled chocolate chip cookies, although Gatren opts to bang her cookie pan only once during the baking process. But pan banging aside, there are other factors that can contribute to making a cookie come out wrinkly and crispy and those include; lower egg quantity, the size dough scooper you use, and how/if you freeze the cookie dough before baking.