Does Pan Banging Cookies Make Them More Delicious?

Find out from the baker who perfected the technique in her new book, ‘100 Cookies’

Photos courtesy of Sarah Keiffer

Neapolitan Cookies

Makes: about 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups plus 1 tablespoon [364 g] all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup [8 g] freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 cup [2 sticks or 227 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¾ cups [350 g] granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 or 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • White, pink, and brown sprinkles, for rolling (optional)

Instructions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, pulverize the strawberries into a powder.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
  5. Dump the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into three equal portions. Put one-third of the dough back into the mixer and add the powdered strawberries and food coloring, if using. Mix on low speed until totally combined, then remove the dough and quickly wipe out the bowl of the mixer.
  6. Add another third of dough to the mixer. Add the cocoa powder and mix on low speed until totally combined.
  7. Pinch a small portion (about ½ oz [15 g]) of each of the three doughs, and press them gently together, so they adhere to each other, but keep their unique colors. Press the piece into a cookie scoop or roll it into a ball, then roll the ball into sprinkles (if using). Place 6 or 7 cookies on each sheet pan. Bake the cookies one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set and the cookies are puffed, 10 to 11 minutes.
  8. Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Notes

Use black cocoa powder for a darker color. The powdered strawberries on their own won’t give a bright pink hue, so I like to add a little food coloring. I also like to roll each individual color of dough into the same color of sprinkles, but you can mix and match however your heart desires.

Toasted Sesame Pan-Banging Cookies

Makes: about 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1¾ cups [249 g] all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons [1½ sticks or 170 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar
  • ½ cup [100 g] brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 oz [85 g] bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces (averaging ½ in [12 mm] with some smaller and some larger, optional)
  • Black and white sesame seeds, for rolling

Instructions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line three sheet pans with aluminum foil, dull side up.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, toasted sesame oil, water, and vanilla, and mix on low speed to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the chocolate, if using, and mix until combined.
  4. Form the dough into 3 oz [85 g] balls (¼ cup). Roll in the sesame seeds, and place 4 cookies an equal distance apart on each sheet pan. Bake the cookies one pan at a time. Bake until the dough balls have spread flat but are puffed slightly in the center, 9 minutes. Lift one side of the sheet pan up about 4 in [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. 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 for 15 to 16 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.
  5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes, then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days (or refrigerate for up to 3 days).

Cinnamon Roll Blondies

Makes: 12 large or 24 small blondies

For the cream cheese filling

  • 4 oz [113 g] cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup [50 g] granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

For the cinnamon sugar swirl

  • ¼ cup [50 g] brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 recipe Brown Butter Blondies (below)

  • Omitting the chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, and pecans

Instructions

Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Grease a 9 by 13 in [23 by 33 cm] baking pan and line with a parchment sling.

To assemble

  1. Make the blondie batter as directed. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and spread into an even layer. Dollop the cream cheese and cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter, alternating the two. Drag the tip of a butter knife through the batter, creating swirls.
  2. Bake for 25 to 29 minutes. A wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the blondies should come out with just a couple of crumbs.
  3. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Use the parchment sling to gently lift the blondies from the pan. Cut them into bars. Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Notes

Leave a small space unswirled in the center of the batter when assembling. This is the spot you want to insert your toothpick to check when the bars are done, as the cream cheese and cinnamon swirl will remain wet throughout baking.

Brown Butter Blondies

Makes: 12 large or 24 small blondies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups [284 g] all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup [2 sticks or 227 g] unsalted butter
  • 1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar
  • 1 cup [200 g] brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs plus 4 large yolks, room temperature
  • ¾ cup [90 g] toasted pecans, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 4 oz [113 g] bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup [85 g] semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Grease a 9 by 13 in [23 by 33 cm] baking pan and line with a parchment sling.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 12 tablespoons [170 g] of the butter. Brown the butter until it is dark golden brown and giving off a nutty aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons [57 g] butter to the pot, swirling the pot until the butter stops foaming. Add the granulated and brown sugars, vanilla, and salt, and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Add the eggs and yolks and whisk until combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add the pecans, chopped chocolate, and chocolate chips, and stir gently.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and pat into an even layer. Bake for 16 to 22 minutes, until the blondies are set on the edges and the top is golden brown and just beginning to form cracks. A wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the blondies should come out slightly wet with clinging crumbs for gooey blondies, and just a couple of crumbs for cakey blondies.
  5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Use the parchment sling to gently lift the blondies from the pan. Cut them into bars. Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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