Here’s How to Get Crinkly Chocolate Chip Cookies (Without All That Pan-Banging)

updated Jul 15, 2020
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Credit: Meghan Splawn

Chocolate chip cookies are one of the most universally loved sweet treats, which means they are also one of the recipes people tinker with most frequently. And it’s not always about improving the flavor. Often, tinkerers are looking for a different texture: Some folks want softer chocolate chip cookie, others like them crispy. The ones that have had the widest appeal contain elements of both: crispy edges and a soft center.

A case in point was when the internet got a little obsessed with the recipe for Sarah Kieffer’s pan-banging chocolate chip cookies, which, appropriately enough, require a good deal of satisfactory banging of the sheet pan while the cookies bake.

Recently I learned of a quieter way to get that same beloved texture from any cookie recipe without the clatter, the melted butter, or other rigorous cookie manipulation. Here’s the secret to get crinkled chocolate chip cookies with tender-crisp edges and soft centers, using a food styling trick from one of our favorite bakers.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Shauna Sever’s Tip for Better-Tasting (and Looking) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Shauna Sever has brought us gems such as Gooey Butter Cake, and Bumpy Cake, both from her cookbook, Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland. She’s also incredibly fun to follow on social media. Last year, she shared her tip for making more homey-looking cookies; she noted that all our cookie scooping and rolling had made cookies that looked too perfect. Chocolate chip cookies in particular had lost some distinct texture in the process. Thankfully her secret to more crinkled cookies with a crisper edge was pretty straightforward: Split and stack your dough balls before baking them.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Here’s how it works: After scooping out your cookie dough into rounds, refrigerate the dough balls for at least an hour. When you’re ready to bake, just take each dough ball and tear the top half off. Then flip the top half over and press it into the bottom. Now, instead of perfectly round balls of dough, you have a stack of dough with lots of little edges and crevices. Arrange the dough stacks on a baking sheet and bake according to your recipe.

At first glance it seems like effect would be purely aesthetic — making chocolate chip cookies that looked less processed — but the resulting cookies have an entirely different texture as well. Because the stacked dough balls are taller and slower to spread, the edges get more crisp as they bake, while the dough in the center stays soft.

You can tinker with your own favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe as much as you like, but now that I’ve seen how well Shauna Sever’s technique yields a crinkly, crisped edge version of this classic, hers will be the only recipe I use.