Recipe Review

I Tried Sarah Kieffer’s Pan-Banging Sugar Cookies to See What All the Hype Was About

updated Feb 25, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

If you’re a fan of cookbooks (and cookies!), chances are you’ve heard of Sarah Kieffer. She’s the genius baker behind The Vanilla Bean Blog, creator of the Instagram-famous pan-banging chocolate chip cookie, and author of the brand-new cookbook 100 Cookies. As someone who takes cookie baking very seriously, I knew I needed to try a recipe from the book ASAP.

The first one that caught my eye was Kieffer’s pan-banging sugar cookies. It uses the same technique as her famous chocolate chip version to create rippled edges, so naturally I was curious: How would they compare? I headed to my kitchen to find out.

Get the recipe: Pan-Banging Sugar Cookies

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Pan-Banging Sugar Cookies

Don’t be fooled by these cookies’ impressive appearance — they’re actually really easy to make. You’ll start by lining three sheet pans with aluminum foil, dull-side up. Set those aside, then whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat softened butter until creamy, then add sugar and beat once more until fluffy. Add an egg and vanilla extract, mix until combined, then add your dry ingredients and mix it together until a dough forms.

Portion the cookie dough into balls, roll in sugar, and place on the foil-lined sheet pans. Bake just until the dough balls have “flattened but are puffed slightly in the center,” then lift your sheet pan up and drop it down on the oven rack to deflate the cookies. After a few more minutes of baking, the cookies will puff up again and you will repeat the same pan-banging technique. Do this several times, and bake until the edges are golden-brown. The banging is what gives the cookies their rippled texture, so don’t skip it! Let the cookies cool, and that’s it. It’s a super-easy recipe that yields beautiful cookies.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Pan-Banging Sugar Cookies

In addition to being gorgeous, these cookies are also delicious. The rippled edges are crispy-crunchy, and the centers have that toothsome, underbaked texture I love. They have a classic sugar cookie flavor with a bold vanilla note that’s strong but not overwhelming, and the cream of tartar gives them a super-subtle tang that reminded me of snickerdoodles. The salt also balances them out nicely.

Overall I really enjoyed these cookies. They are the classic sugar cookie you know and love, only elevated, thanks to their unique texture. I would happily make these again, and am excited to try out the other pan-banging cookies from Kieffer’s new book.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Sarah’s Pan-Banging Cookies, a Tip

Warn your roommates about the noise ahead of time! Banging the sheet pans against the counter was a bit loud — and my roommate (who is currently working from home) was definitely caught off guard. I recommend giving them a heads up, just so they know what’s coming. (Sorry, Elaine!)

Get the recipe: Pan-Banging Sugar Cookies. And order Sarah Kieffer’s new cookbook, 100 Cookies, for even more of her brilliant pan-banging cookie recipes!

Credit: Charli Nowak
Pan Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies

And read our review of Sarah Kieffer’s original pan-banging chocolate chip cookie pictured above.

Have you ever made pan-banging cookies? Tell us in the comments below.

Credit: Kitchn