Kick off your holiday baking season with a bang—of your cookie pan, that is.
"Pan-banging," as baking blogger Sarah Kieffer has coined her signature cookie technique, is the trick behind the crisp, rippled edges and soft, gooey centers of her internet-breaking chocolate chip cookies.
It goes like this: While the cookies are baking, lift up the cookie pan and let it drop back onto the oven rack. The impact will cause the puffed center of each cookie to deflate and spread, pushing dough to the edges in concentric rings much like the ripples set off by a pebble thrown into a pond. Repeat this every couple of minutes, and you'll build up those dramatic, wrinkly ridges and set a crisp outer edge, while the center bakes up soft and tender. It's the best of both cookie texture worlds.
After the recipe debuted in Kieffer's 2016 cookbook, "The Vanilla Bean Baking Book," it went viral, inundating social media feeds and winning over legions of fans. She's still overwhelmed by how many home bakers are making and posting their own crinkled creations to share.
Four years later, Kieffer is back with a second cookbook—this time featuring an entire chapter of pan-banging cookies, from snickerdoodles to s'mores. They join an impressive lineup in "100 Cookies," a collection of, yes, exactly what the title sounds like. Consider it a giant baking bucket list, perfect for the holiday season—or anytime, really.
Here are a few fun standouts to start with, all sweet treats that spark childhood nostalgia and joy. There's a tri-color Neapolitan cookie, a whimsical, eye-catching take on a classic sugar cookie. There's a peanut butter-filled peanut butter sandwich cookie, based on (but better than) the Girl Scout version of Kieffer's childhood.
And of course, we couldn't leave out a pan-banging number. How about that s'mores variation, a chocolate chip cookie coated in buttery graham cracker crumbs and topped with a toasted, half-molten homemade marshmallow? "This might be another recipe my kids requested," Kieffer writes, but chances are some adults will fall in love, too.