Photo: Taste of Home
When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I’m all about trying every single iteration in efforts to find the best version of the classic cookie. In my day, I’ve come across some really good recipes (like these!), but these drop cookies all follow the same method: cream, mix and bake.
But recently I stumbled upon an an internet phenomenon that goes one step further than basic drop cookies: pan bang cookies. This cookie, created by Sarah Kieffer of the Vanilla Bean Blog, takes chocolate chip cookies to a new level by literally banging the cookie sheet in the oven to create ripply, crispy chocolate chippers. When I saw this fresh take, I knew that I had to try it for myself. After all, I’ve tried every other chocolate chip cookie recipe—maybe this one would be my new favorite.
The Internet Famous Recipe
Any baker knows that all chocolate chip cookie recipes have nearly identical ingredients—typically it’s just the proportions that differ. And looking at the famous pan bang cookie recipe, I noticed the normal cast of characters: butter, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, flour.
Here’s exactly what you need to mix up these pan banging cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces
Yields 12 cookies
Now you may have noticed a few differences between this and your standard Tollhouse recipe. What stood out to me was the addition of water and also using chopped chocolate instead of chips. But there’s certainly a method to all this madness, so let’s get into it!
Prepping for Pan Banging
Mixing up these cookies is just like any other standard drop cookie. First, cream together sugars and butter. Once light and fluffy, add vanilla, egg and water. When those ingredients are incorporated, mix in your dry components: flour, salt and baking soda. Finish it all off by stirring in the chopped up chocolate.
Now, the standard protocol for these cookies is over! Rather than lining a baking tray with parchment, the recipe recommends lining your cookie sheet with aluminum foil—dull side up—for crispier cookies. That was easy enough for me. The recipe goes on: Instead of dropping dough by the tablespoon onto the sheet, it recommends a whopping 1/3 cup of dough per cookie. I love cookies, so the bigger the better. Knowing that these would spread after wiggling, jiggling and banging the pan, I played it safe and only scooped two per sheet. Spoiler alert: This was the right idea.
Now, these cookies weren’t ready for baking (or pan banging) quite yet. Before popping them into a 350ºF oven, they require a 15 minute stay in the freezer.
After their time in the freezer, these cookies go into a 350ºF oven for 10 minutes. During this time, the cookies spread a lot—like a lot a lot. I’m glad that I stuck with my baking instincts and only put two on each sheet, otherwise I’d be dealing with a real mess (but I wasn’t too worried—we’ve got this great hack for cleaning up even the dirtiest pans).
Once those 10 minutes were up, the recipe told me do something so counterintuitive to me: bang the pan against the oven rack. I’d never heard of this method in any other chocolate chip recipe (or any other recipe, for that matter). But I went ahead and grabbed the cookie sheet with some hot pads and gave it a few good whacks on the wire rack. Right away I could see that the bit of puffiness and lift the cookies had, disappeared. I could also see a few ripples forming around the edge. I was on the right track.
Of course one ripple does not make perfectly crinkly cookies. So every two minutes for the next six to eight minutes (that’s a total baking time of 16-18 minutes—16 for chewier cookies, 18 for crispy), I repeated this pan banging method. Each time I could see a new ripple form.
Once out of the oven, let them cool five minutes on the cookie sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
The Instagram-worthy Results
Pulling these out of the oven, I was pretty impressed with how they looked. First and foremost, these cookies were giant—at least the size of a saucer. When it comes to cookies, I’m a firm believer that bigger is better. What I noticed next was how beautiful that ripply pattern looked and how tempting those bits of chopped chocolate were peeking through the dough. It turns out that taking that extra step to chop chocolate, rather than using chips, helped give the cookies their beautiful texture (chips would have interfered with the crinkling).
But enough about the look. How do these giant cookies taste? Well, I suppose it goes without saying that these cookies were tasty (aren’t they all?). The rippled edges were super crisp—perfect for crunchy cookie lovers. And the center was just a touch chewy, giving me (and my taste-testing friends) the best of both worlds. For those looking for a cookie that’s crisp through and through, I’d recommend baking them the full 18 minutes; if you like that bit of softness in the middle like me, don’t go over 16.
Overall, I’d say that these pan bang cookies were a successful addition to my chocolate chip cookie repertoire. Full of pretty ripples and hand-chopped chocolate, these look a lot like something you might find at nice bakery. Also, let’s not forget that size! The only drawback to these giant cookies is how much babysitting they require. The freezing, the banging, the getting up every two minutes to rattle the pan—it can be a lot if you’re just looking to whip up a quick recipe. So my recommendation is to save this one for a lazy Sunday afternoon so you can relax and enjoy the process (and the results!). In the end, though, I’d say these pan bang cookies are a must-keep recipe! Check out more of Sarah Kieffer’s work at, The Vanilla Bean Blog.