Bang the Pan Chocolate Chunk Cookies
This cookie, the Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookie from Sarah Keiffer, does not really need much of an introduction as it has already whipped much of the social media universe into a much-deserved frenzy. I made a mental note to make this cookie back when it was showcased in the New York Times (and a zillion Instagram posts), but I was in the middle of a move and all of my mental notes shattered into a million little pieces. I don’t move well.
This lovely, large, wrinkled and wave-like chocolate chunk cookie recently resurfaced again via a friend’s Instagram, and after I glanced at the ingredients and directions, I realized it perfectly conformed to my current living situation. At the moment, I am “in-between” apartments which is a nice way of saying “glorified couch surfing”. All of my prized kitchen things are still (hopefully) tucked away in some random New Jersey storage facility. And though I am staying in some quite lovely Airbnb’s during this forced transition time, none of them are set up for baking. In fact, 9 out of 10 Airbnb’s have barely usable knives, let alone a baking sheet or a brownie pan.
So, even though the Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookie instructions mention a stand mixer, I am here to tell you that you can mix the dough the old-fashioned way: with a wooden spoon and a large bowl and a fair amount of elbow grease. And even though I really wanted to bake these cookies on human-sized baking sheets, I managed to bake these off in “two-at-a-time” batches utilizing a tiny tray I pilfered from a sad toaster oven.
But the important thing to note here: these cookies are so incredibly good, so perfectly caramelized on the edge with a near molten chocolate center, that I would find a way to assemble these over a campfire if I had too.
My two recipe notes overlap with Sarah’s much touted wisdom. One, make sure you use chocolate chunks here. Chocolate chips will just not have the safe gooey effect (and to be honest, they won’t be as Instagram-worthy if you care about that sort of thing). Second, make sure you give these cookies a lot of room to spread. They spread more than your typical chocolate chip/chunk cookie, and more than I anticipated as my first batch melded into one super cookie. While the “super cookie” did not have the same optical effect, it was quite delicious in its own right.
Pan Banging Chocolate Chunk Cookies from the Vanilla Bean Baking Book by Sarah Keiffer
2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
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) dark chocolate (60%-72%) , chopped into chunks
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy (alternately, you can do this work by hand with a large wooden spoon, but it will take a bit longer). Add the 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 just 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 of dough 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.