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 cookie 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 an ultra thin, nicely textured, buttery chocolate chip cookies.
Ina Garten, one of my many culinary heroes, also makes similar wrinkle cookie 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 the egg quantity, the size dough scooper you use, and how/if you freeze the cookie dough before baking.
Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces averaging 1/2 inch with some smaller and some larger
- Step 1 Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil, dull side up.(Note: This is a very important step, make sure to follow it).
- Step 2 In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Step 3 In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the egg, vanilla, and water and mix on low to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the chocolate and mix on low into the batter.
- Step 4 Form the dough into 3½-ounce (100g) balls (a heaping 1/3 cup each). Place 4 balls an equal distance apart on a prepared pan and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. After you put the first baking sheet in the oven, put the second one in the freezer.
- Step 5 Place the chilled baking sheet in the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed slightly in the center. Lift the side of the baking sheet up about 4 inches and gently let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down (this will feel wrong, but trust me). After the cookies puff up again in 2 minutes, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake 16 to 18 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.
- Step 6 Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack, let cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.
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