I have been meaning to make this recipe for a full year, yes my to-bake list is so ridiculously long and with my own baking and work to navigate it’s sadly rare that I actually get a chance to bake someone else’s recipe. You will know this recipe, I could show you a picture and you'd probably be able to guess just from the picture which recipe I was talking about. Sarah Kieffers Pan Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies are insanely popular, like all of the recipes in this series, but Sarah’s was one of the recipes I remember taking notice of because of its seemingly overnight success, it went truly viral. The recipe comes from Sarah’s wonderful book the Vanilla Bean Baking Book but it was probably the appearance of the recipe in the New York Times that pushed it into a wider consciousness, I can just imagine the sound of pans banging reverberating around the states the week after the recipe was featured. When I was in the states earlier in the year I met Sarah at one of our events with Bake From Scratch Magazine and she was a joy to meet and if you don't know who she is yet, make this post be your excuse to check out her brilliant work.
As we will learn throughout this series the ingredients are all very familiar, we’re talking butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla flour and of course chocolate, but it is the ratio and the method that make this a little unusual. Firstly the amount of brown sugar is very low in comparison with the white sugar, this leads to plenty of crisp texture and a flavour that reminds me a little of the Toll House recipe. But what makes its so very different to that recipe is the size and method. The recipes starts off on familiar ground, creaming together the butter and sugar, then just one egg is added along with water (which I believe is there to help with spreading), the dry goods and the chocolate. Remember the Toll House recipe made 60 cookies, well this makes 10, that’s 10 gloriously huge cookies. Of course the main difference is declared right in the name, after baking for 10 minutes the pan the cookies are baking from is lifted from the oven and smacked on the surface making them collapse. This procedure is repeated multiple times creating a rippled effect which leads to a cookie with plenty of crisp edge but because of their size they remain soft and chewy in the middle.
Sarah Kieffer’s Pan Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the Vanilla Bean Baking Book
2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (227g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ cups (297g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
6 ounces (170g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces averaging ½ inch with some
smaller and some larger (I used roughly chopped 63% Guittard Chocolate Chips)
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper
To make the cookies mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Place the butter into a large bowl and using an electric mixer beat together until creamy. Add the sugars and beat for 2-3 minutes on medium speed or until light and fluffy. Add the egg, water and vanilla and beat until fully combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined, then stir in the chocolate.
Form the cookies into 10 equal sized balls, they will be around 100g each or a heaping 1/3 cup. Place 4 cookies onto a large parchment or foil lined baking tray and freeze for 15 minutes, this helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes then lift the tray from the rack, a good 4 inches then drop back, causing the cookies to collapse. Repeat this every two minutes until the cookies are golden brown around the outside but still a little pale in the middle, allow to cool completely before removing from the rack. Repeat the process with the remaining cookies.
I am a big fan of this recipe, its a little unusual both in size and method but there is something joyous about the recipe, its fun to make and the giant size of the cookie is a greedy child’s dream (yes I am referring to myself). I really like the resulting texture of crisp and chew the only thing I would probably prefer for my perfect cookie is a slightly smaller size with a little bit more body, but this is one hell of a delicious cookie and the pan banging technique is brilliant. Make sure you check out Sarah’s book and her brilliant website, you can also follow her on Instagram.