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pan-banging chocolate chip cookies

Sunday, October 22, 2017

(There will be a much bigger post coming, with tips and tricks, how the cookie evolved,  and a video! However, I’ve had so many emails about this recipe, and it is showing up everywhere else on the internet, I thought I might as well put it on my site so I can answer questions and help troubleshoot here.)

To buy my book (complete with the cookie recipe, as well as many, many more!) click here.

(Pan-Banging) Chocolate Chip Cookies
As seen in the NYTimes and Star Tribune.

Originally I thought to include a different chocolate chip cookie recipe in this book. It was my go-to cookie, one I had made for years at Bordertown Coffee. I began working on a thin and crispy version, and along the way it evolved into this recipe. The cookie falls somewhere in the middle of gooey and crispy, with edges that shatter in your mouth and a center that is soft and full of chocolate. My family loved it so much that my original recipe hasn’t seen the light of day since. Meet our new house cookie. Makes 10 cookies.

2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ pound (2 sticks; 227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ cups (297 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50 g) packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces averaging ½ inch with some
smaller and some larger

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil, dull side up.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.

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. Add the egg, vanilla, and water and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the chocolate and mix on low into the batter.

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.

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.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.

NOTES: These cookies are rather large, but to get the edges to spread out and crinkle, they need to be on the big side. If you want to make the cookies smaller, you won’t get as many ridges on the outer layer, and your center won’t be quite as gooey. They will still be delicious, but not quite what I intended for you.

If you skip freezing the cookies, they will spread too much on the pan and will not form the crinkly outer layer.

Chocolate chips are not a good substitution for the chopped chocolate; the cookies will not turn out the same with chips. If you do still want to use chocolate chips, you will need to use 8 ounces chips and make the cookies 2½ ounces big.

Using the dull side of aluminum foil to bake these cookies is a little trick I learned after hearing Alice Medrich speak. The foil helps make for an extra-crisp, golden brown bottom. Parchment paper can also be used with good results.

The cookies are delicious warm, but I’ve found I love them a couple of days later just as much. I usually store them in the fridge and sneak pieces of them cold.

Reprinted by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Sarah Kieffer, 2016.

  • Reply
    Cassie Gerhardstein
    Monday, October 23, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    These looks amazing! I can’t wait to try the recipe out tonight. Question, if you don’t have a 3.5 oz. cookie scoop, what size measuring cup is accurate for scooping the dough?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      It is 1/3 cup. Let me know how they turn out for you!

  • Reply
    Ellie
    Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 1:35 am

    I’ve had my eye on these cookies and I’m sooooo excited to try them!!! It’s been a super long time since I’ve even attempted to make someone else’s recipe because of time, but for this one I need to make an exception ?

  • Reply
    Kyle
    Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Where it says, “(a heaping ? cup each)” what is the ? mark supposed to say?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Sorry about that! It should be 1/3 cup.

  • Reply
    Monta
    Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I’ve actually been banging-the-pan for years… and horrifying my friends and family (albeit none of them ever ever ever passed up a cookie).

    Glad you made it trendy to do so. I can stop defending myself so vociferously.

  • Reply
    Jenel Farrell
    Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I made Sarah Kieffer’s Chocolate Chip Cookies last week and they are BY FAR the best chocolate chip cookies I have had! I’m making them again this weekend.

  • Reply
    emmy h
    Friday, October 27, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Hi, Sarah! I own your book and am happily baking my way through it. We have kindred tastes!

    A question about the toasted sesame oil variation for these cookies: is it correct to simply add it to the recipe, or should the oil be substituted for the water?

  • Reply
    emmy h
    Friday, October 27, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    I should also say, the standard version of these cookies is brilliant! It’s now my favorite chocolate chip cookie, and usually I’m more of a chewy cookie girl. But the crispy edges of these caramelize, the center still has near-gooey tenderness, and the range of texture is delightful. The ratio of bittersweet chocolate is also perfect for me.

    I think the sesame oil will make them even more sublime.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    Friday, October 27, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you Sarah! I found the article on the Web but didn’t take down the recipe, then I couldn’t find it for the longest time. Finally I found it and have since made them. Everyone I shared them with loved them. They are amazing and the pan banging makes all the difference. Thanks again.

  • Reply
    Aurélia
    Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 4:04 am

    I really want to try this recipe but it seems like a lot of sugar for me, what do you think happens if we reduce the quantity by half? Is the texture going to be different?

    • Reply
      june2
      Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Consider using coconut sugar…it’s less refined and even more delicious imo!

  • Reply
    Monique
    Monday, October 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    I made these last night and they are the BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever had in my life. I sprinkled a little sea salt on top after baking and oh my gosh. This will be my go-to recipe for forever. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Reply
    Caroline
    Monday, October 30, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Do you use light brown or dark brown sugar?

  • Reply
    Marianne
    Monday, October 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    If using a convection oven, 325 degrees and fan on low?

  • Reply
    Sharon
    Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Why are my cookies greasy on bottoms???

    • Reply
      amina el hadidy
      Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 7:30 am

      mine too 🙁

      • Reply
        Vanessa
        Monday, January 15, 2018 at 5:11 pm

        Mine too!! Seriously greasy!

    • Reply
      K
      Monday, January 22, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      Mine too! The texture was great but they were really greasy on the bottom and super sweet 🙁

      • Reply
        G
        Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 11:32 am

        I used 2 TBSP less butter and a lot less greasy!

  • Reply
    Nancy
    Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I frequently form cookies and then freeze them so they can be baked, straight out of the freezer, at a later time. Is the 15 minute freeze in your recipe a “must-do” or do you know if this would work with your recipe? These cookies are fabulous by the way and a great version to have in anyone’s chocolate chip cookie arsenal. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Celeste
    Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Do you have any recommendations on how to alter the recipe for high altitude baking? I live in Colorado and am dying to try these. Thanks!!

  • Reply
    Eva
    Friday, November 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    My cookies won’t “fall” the centers still puffy and they have been cooking longer than in recipe…Help!

  • Reply
    Reni
    Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    can I use nuts instead of choc?

  • Reply
    Callie
    Friday, December 1, 2017 at 12:08 am

    I just made them and they look amazing!!! Cooling now, so we shall see what they taste like . I wish I could send a photo.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Geni
    Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Thank you sooo much for the recipe! However although I followed the recipe strictly to a t, after 10 minutes in the oven they melted and spread so much that the cookies turned into a ‘pool’ and became barely recognizable lol. Can you help me identify which step I might have screwed up? Thank you so much ! PS they smell amazing regardless of the form.

    • Reply
      Jodi
      Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      Same thing just happened to mine! Not sure what went wrong, I followed the recipe exactly!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      What kind of butter did you use? And flour? A higher fat butter (like a European-style) will make these spread. Also, some chocolates will as well – Paleo chocolate does not work, and I’ve found Hershey’s also to make the cookies spread terribly.

    • Reply
      Tally
      Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      If you don’t freeze them long enough, this tends to happen. Maybe try 20 min in your freezer?

  • Reply
    Ami Baron
    Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Has anyone tried making these at high altitude? I made them today but they don’t look anything like the photos, and I had very little center “puffing” before doing the banging of the pan. My residence is over 5,000 ft, so not sure if there needs to be ingredient adjustments to get these to work?? If anyone has suggestions please let me know! Thanks.

    • Reply
      Miranda
      Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 12:16 am

      Hi! I live at 6300 feet and made this recipe as is a week ago, and tried again tonight with better results (both were delicious though!). The first time, I followed the recipe exactly as written and my cookies browned quickly and spreadout a little too much. This time I added an additional 2 tbsp flour and subtracted 1 tbsp sugar. I also cooked them at 365 degrees, did my first bang at 8 minutes, and did bangs at 1.5 minute intervals x3. They didn’t spread or brown as much, and look and taste wonderful. I think the next time I try I am going to add 1 more tbsp of flour to see if it helps with the cookies combining (or maybe investing in slightly bigger baking sheets to spread out more!) Good luck!

  • Reply
    ashley
    Friday, December 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Is there a video or images that follow along for directions?

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Darla
    Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Iadequate these and they are awesome. A little too sweet but texture, crispness of the edge and chewy I side is spot on. I cut the balls in half so they were smaller. Put in for 8 minutes, and banged them every 1 minute 30 seconds until brown on the outside. They were still larger cookies but more easy to eat.

  • Reply
    Katie
    Friday, December 22, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    I found that my fancy insulated cookie sheets did not produce the ripple look near as well as the cheap, thin baking sheets do. They are still super delicious!!!

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  • Reply
    patty
    Friday, January 5, 2018 at 8:38 am

    I made these Dec. 28th and they turned out great! I over baked the first pan, but they were still good! I did throw in peanut butter chips along with the chocolate chips. I will definitely make these again and again!

  • Reply
    Mn
    Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Is there a substitute for the butter if I need to make them dairy free?

  • Reply
    Jen
    Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Ohmygosh! My daughter and I made these this morning and they are delicious! We left the first pan in a little too long, but had the timing down for the rest. I’ve never made an ice cream scoop sized cookie! These will forever be in regular rotation! Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes!

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  • Reply
    Edwina
    Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    I really must try this pan banging technique. They look so good (and tasty!) It does seem wrong to be banging that pan down in the oven but I love what the end result looks like. Time for me to give it a try!

  • Reply
    Domenica
    Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    These cookies are absolutely amazing!!!!! I used miniature chocolate morsels and made 24 fairly large cookies. I baked them for 15 minutes. I will definitely be using this recipe from now on! Thank you so much for sharing! ???

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  • Reply
    Maria
    Sunday, February 4, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Absolutely delicious! I was hesitant to leave my tried and true recipe but these are great. They are different and I will definitely make them again.

  • Reply
    Christina
    Monday, February 5, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Hi Sarah! I’ve now made both these and your ginger molasses pan banging cookies and I have to say as someone who’s been searching for the perfect recipe for years, these ones sure do take the prize! I’m celiac and so both recipes I’ve swapped out with Bob’s cup 4 cup GF flour, and while I’m sure there are better combos for a gluten free cookie, it works! I made a batch of the choclate chip cookies GF for a Super Bowl party and everyone agreed you couldn’t even tell, and they were the cookie winner of the night by far! They don’t get as golden brown as a regular flour cookie, but no one cared 🙂

    Thank you for developing such a great recipe, I’ll be using this one for years to come!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Jodi L
    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 4:47 am

    Oh my goodness!!! I just pre made some dough and realized I forgot to add the tablespoons of water. Do I need to remake the dough? Or can I add the water at this point? If I leave it out will it make a big difference ?!!!

  • Reply
    Alex
    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Did the “bigger” post you mentioned ever come? I did a search but couldn’t find it. Just curious! Making these today.

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  • Reply
    Paul Dwight
    Monday, February 12, 2018 at 8:43 am

    I have never used this recipe, but I have been banging my cookie sheets for over 50 years, for ALL my different types of cookies. I do not make them big enough to make wrinkles, but it this them out and makes the edges crispy even when the middle is not done…creamy, just the way I like them. Try it on ALL your cookie recipes, and start banging approximately HALFWAY through the recommended cooking time, and at least 2 more times before you take them out. NEVER bake them too long, because they will get hard in the center, which eliminates the different textures and really ruins the cookie IMO.

  • Reply
    Mary
    Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    I felt like a rock star making these–I’m no baker, but they were so exciting to make and the recipe was so thorough. They turned out great! Making them a second time tonight. We enjoyed them with a little sprinkle of sea salt on top as well.

  • Reply
    Allison
    Monday, March 5, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Yes! Bought the cookbook, made the cookies, loved them. I made them with my two-year-old and he is now a big fan. Didn’t get the ridges just perfect on this first batch, but I will definitely be making them again!

    So good. And I can’t wait to try the other recipes in the book. Thank you! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Jen
    Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 5:49 am

    I dont have room in the freezer for a baking sheet, would putting the pan in the fridge for an hour work to chill the dough? Excited to try these!!

  • Reply
    Holly
    Friday, March 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Question, if I want to have frozen dough balls in my freezer all the time, then would you bring to fridge temp and then bake as directed? Or would you bring to room temp and then do 15 min freeZe? Another option, perhaps? Has anybody experimented with this? (Ps I just made the dough- yum- and made some smaller cookies immediately without freezing to appease kids who couldn’t stay awake for 15 extra mins and they still worked quite nicely!)

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  • Reply
    Sharon
    Friday, March 23, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    OMG these are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve made! Unbelievable! Amazing! Delicious! I am so amazed by how this works. I can’t wait to tell everyone. Yum yum!!

  • Reply
    denyse
    Monday, April 2, 2018 at 1:14 am

    The cookies look so delicious! I’m a fan of chocolate chip cookies and will surely give this a try. Maybe I can share my version of Pistachio Chocolate Chip recipe another time for you to improve on it. Can”t wait to try this recipe!

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    Genine
    Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Hello Sarah! I noticed that in the NY Times, your recipe called 256g of flour (instead of 284g). I followed that one before I discovered this recipe. They’re still freezing. Is it too late to add that extra 28g of flour? So excited to eat them!!

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  • Reply
    Elaine Cobb
    Monday, June 25, 2018 at 11:17 am

    This cookie looks amazing. You deserve all the credit and attention it brings to you. Don’t pay any attention to your daughter. ?
    I pre-ordered your new cookbook. It came last week. What great recipes! Thank you.

  • Reply
    Tina
    Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    These barely lasted 24 hours in my house. They were GONE! I was impatient and did not refrigerate them, so I got none of the cool ripple effects. However, what I got was the most amazing, thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies that my european husband loves. I’ve been trying to find this type of recipe and found it by messing up yours! Will definitely keep this as my go to chocolate chip recipe.

  • Reply
    Amanda R
    Monday, September 3, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    I just made a batch today. I used chocolate chips so I followed the instructions to make them 2.5 oz each. I froze them but they still spread out and became one uniform cookie on one side of the pan. They were delicious and chewy and crisp at the edges, but did not look pretty. They were also a bit greasy, so maybe I’d use less butter as one commenter suggested. The pan-banging method is more work, baking one sheet at a time, babysitting the oven for banging every 2 minutes. If mine turned out prettier I would say the extra work is worth it.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    SWEET BABY MOSES IN A BASKET.
    Made these yesterday. OH MY WORD I can’t even tell you the deliciousness.
    Kids took turns pan banging. SO WORTH THE EFFORT.
    Thanks for sharing.

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