I first read about Sarah Kieffer’s famous pan-banging baking method when her Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was published in The New York Times, adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. During the baking process, the sheet pan is intermittently tapped on the oven rack. The resulting cookies have a “crinkled,” rippled, crisp outer edge and soft center. I love how they look. The added bonus is that they have to be large- giant– in order for the method to be successful.
In Kieffer’s second cookbook, 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More, she has an entire chapter devoted to pan-banging cookies. I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to bake them! The original chocolate chip cookie recipe has been modified in the new book. I will have to try the chocolate chip cookie version, of course, but I loved the idea of making giant crinkled snickerdoodles.
I did find that the method was only successful with three cookies per sheet pan. It may be be because the dough is closer to the center of the pan but I’m not exactly sure. The pans with four cookies cracked on the edges and spread more than the pans with three cookies. I reduced the amount of cinnamon sugar topping in the recipe below because there was excess.
The original recipe states that it yields twelve cookies, but, after weighing the rationed dough, each batch (sadly) only yielded ten cookies. I immediately made a second batch to share after baking the first ten cookies! We loved them.
Yield: 10 giant cookies
For the Cookie Dough:
- 284g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt)
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 227g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 300g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Topping:
- 25g (2 T) granulated sugar
- 1/2 T ground cinnamon
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. (The remaining oven racks should be below this middle rack to not interfere with the pan-banging.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). (I did not use the convection setting.)
- Line 3 rimmed sheet pans with aluminum foil, dull-side up.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, and nutmeg.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
- Add the 300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed to combine.
- Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.
- In a small bowl, combine the 25g (2 T) and ground cinnamon for the topping.
- Form the dough in to 85 to 86g (3 oz or 1/4 cup) balls. (I initially used the combination of a large and medium cookie scoop, but found it was easier to just weigh chunks of dough.) Place all of the dough balls on a plate until all of it has been rationed.
- Roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar topping.
- Place 3 cookies an equal distance apart on the sheet pans. (One will be leftover to bake after a sheet pan has cooled.)
- Bake the cookies one pan at a time.
- Bake until the dough balls have flattened but are puffed slightly in the center, 8 minutes.
- Lift one side of the sheet pan up about 4 inches (10 cm) and gently let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the center falls back down. (I repeated this lifting the other side of the pan as well.)
- After the cookies puff up again in 2 minutes, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times, every 2 minutes, to created ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked. (To keep track, I actually kept a paper to keep track of the timing: 8*2*2*2*1.)
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes, then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Note: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days (or refrigerate for up to 3 days).