Nailled that recipe: Pan-banging is a long process that produces delicious results

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Emma Naille

BY EMMA NAILLE (‘18)

The last recipe I tried, from the Vanilla Bean Blog, was delicious, so I decided to choose another recipe from there this time around. Usually my choice of recipe heavily relies on what my family likes because they are the ones helping me eat the baked good, so I decided to go with a family favorite:  chocolate chip cookies. I follow this blog on Instagram, and their chocolate chip cookies are fairly well-known (at least within the baking blogosphere), and they’ve even been featured on the New York Times and the Star Tribune. These are not your average chocolate chip cookies (and are completely unlike the ones my family usually makes with the roll of dough from the store), these are “pan-banging” chocolate chip cookies. Essentially, while these cookies are baking, you periodically bang the pan against the baking rack, creating little ripples in the edges of the cookie. I was intrigued by this technique and decided to try it out for myself.

My first piece of advice is don’t make more than one batch at a time (unless you’re doing a bake sale or something). I decided 10 cookies, which is what the recipe says one batch makes, was not enough for my cookie-loving family, however, since you can only bake about 3-4 cookies at a time and these cookies bake for almost twenty minutes, making two batches took forever. Baking these cookies is quite the process (It literally took me four hours).  It’s not like you can throw them in the oven, go do something else and then come back in 10 minutes, no. You have to be on high alert at all times because you have to “pan bang” them every 2 minutes. Also, these cookies are HUGE, so one cookie will suffice as two.

I would also recommend putting three cookies on a tray instead of four like the recipe says because when I did that, some of them ran together. I ended up baking mine until they looked like they were done instead of strictly following the recipe, which probably ended up being longer than the recipe called for. When chopping the chocolate up, make sure to use a chef’s knife or else it will be very hard and possibly dangerous. I made my chocolate pieces smaller than a ½ inch like the recipe says to do because making the pieces any bigger made me nervous (what can I say I’m a scaredy cat). But if you want the pretty pools of chocolate in your cookies like on Sarah’s Instagram, make sure you make your pieces bigger.

Overall, the pan-banging technique wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part is getting over the weirdness of what you’re doing, and once you do that, it becomes kind of fun. As far as instagramability and VSCO-ness goes, these cookies rate very high. They are picture perfect. I’m not sure how to describe these cookies other than that they are next level. They are crunchy on the edges, chewy in the middle, and a perfectly balanced combination of salty and sweet. My only complaint is that I don’t love the bites with the bigger chunks of chocolate because the recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, making those bites a little too bitter for me. If you would like to avoid this, I recommend using semi sweet chocolate (don’t go full milk chocolate because then you’re cookie will be sickeningly sweet).

Though these cookies are delicious and aesthetically pleasing, I’m not sure I’m converted. Baking these cookies takes a very long time, and to me, chocolate chip cookies are supposed to be simple. I think this recipe would be perfect if you need to impress someone or just want to try something new, but maybe not for your average Saturday night craving for cookies.