Bake

Wrinkly Chocolate Chip Cookies

July 19, 2019
4 Stars
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

Adapted from Sarah Kieffer’s game-changing, Instagram-famous cookies—found in her cookbook The Vanilla Bean Baking Book—this recipe is all about the wrinkles. Kieffer swears by the “pan-banging” technique, where you lift up the cookie’s sheet pan mid-bake, then let it fall with an ominous thud. Just trust: This repeated deflating leads to ripple after ripple in the crust, like you just dropped a stone in a pond. If you want to get nitty-gritty about it, there are lots of other factors that make a cookie pan-bangable—for instance, the added water, lower egg quantity, giant scoop size, and how you freeze the dough balls before baking. —Emma Laperruque

  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 36 minutes
  • Makes about 10 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks, 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (some chunks, some shards)
  • Flaky salt, to sprinkle on top (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Line 2 sheet pans with aluminum foil (dull side facing up), parchment paper, or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Scrape. Add the sugars and salt. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, and water, and mix on low to combine. Add the baking soda and mix. Add the flour and mix until almost combined. Add the chocolate and mix one last time. (At this point, the dough can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight.)
  3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Scoop the dough into 100-gram balls (a heaping 1/3 cup each). Sprinkle with flaky salt, then place on a plate and freeze for 15 minutes before baking.
  4. Place 4 cookie dough balls an equal distance apart on one of the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookies are slightly puffy in the center. Lift the sheet pan and let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the centers deflate. (If the centers don’t deflate, bang a little harder.) 3 minutes later, after the cookies puff up again, lift and drop the pan again. Repeat this pan-banging one to two more times, to create lots of wrinkles. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out, the edges are golden brown, and the centers are still gooey.
  5. Let cool for 10 or so minutes on the sheet pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Finish baking the remaining cookie dough in the same way as above.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Katie Burgess Kohn
    Katie Burgess Kohn
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    kaycipharaon
  • Charlene Yang
    Charlene Yang
  • Bluejade
    Bluejade
  • Kara Churas Jerald
    Kara Churas Jerald
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in November 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

68 Reviews

Babe December 28, 2021
Sensational - I ended up sprinkling the Maldon on top after the first 10 minutes and I only banged twice, so they weren’t really wrinkly but they were flat and so delicious!
 
Granny S. July 27, 2021
I made these for our grandson and his GF (her birthday). I did decrease the sugar a tad, and only used about 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie, so not many were on the cookie sheet. I followed directions exactly as instructed and they turned out AMAZING !!! The kids loved them, and my husband loved them. I had to add walnuts to his half of the dough, however, bc that's what he likes. These take time to make but are truly worth it.
 
vee May 28, 2021
This recipe is giving me a headache! I made it and chilled it for 10 min (5 min short of the recipe) and they turned out perfect. I stuck the rest of the dough in the freezer for future cookies, thinking they could only get better.
However, the next day I was met with cookie after cookie of greasy thin over-browned floppy disaster.
I have no idea what went wrong here but it’s annoying as hell. I tried different portion sizes, letting the cookie dough thaw a bit before baking, changing the baking temp, and nothing worked.
 
Katie B. April 25, 2021
Every time I stray from my go-to ccc, I’m always disappointed, and this was no exception. They came out so flat, greasy, and crispy, it made me think it I did something wrong, but I weighed ingredients and everything. These are barely edible, only my 3 and 5 year olds liked them (low bar when it comes to sugar and chocolate).
 
Kara C. April 25, 2021
That's the worst :(
What is your go to cc recipe?
 
Amy April 25, 2021
Yes - please share your go-to! I just tried a copycat Levain recipe. Good but difficult to manage the balance of under- and overcooking.
 
Katie B. April 25, 2021
It’s just the Tollhouse recipe, but I use 1-1.5 Tablespoons of homemade vanilla extract, 1.5 bags of chocolate chips (mix of semisweet and dark-Ghiradelli and Guittard), let rest in the fridge for 24 hours (at least), and bake for 9 minutes only and let sit on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes after coming out of the oven. They are so, so good.
 
Will February 21, 2021
These are very good cookies and worth a try. The banging/flattening technique really transforming these into something special. Firm (not dry) on the outer edge and then moist and chewy in the center. The only change I made was a reduction in the granulated sugar by 50 grams.
 
kaycipharaon February 5, 2021
I’ve tried a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes in the past year (one highlight of months of quarantine) but this is by far my favorite cookie of all time. Beats Tollhouse cookies hands down. I’m begging you, please try this recipe. Once you pan bang, you’ll never go back!
 
Charlene Y. February 1, 2021
Can I use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar? Thanks!
 
amwmack January 19, 2021
Yum! A success, if you like big cookies (I do). My tweaks: I creamed the butter and sugar for 7-8 minutes before adding anything else. I used a tablespoon of whiskey instead of water. I used half rye flour and half all-purpose to really lean into the dark, warm flavor. I didn't bang my second batch out of curiosity, but they wrinkled anyway. Altogether a win.
 
Bluejade January 17, 2021
These are really sweet cookies. The large size contributes to the waves happening, but such big things become almost platter deserts rather than cookies. I prefer cookies that are a few bites rather than a huge cookie. I made these with a baller tool about 1/8 cup and they were more my size, as these cookies spread when cooked. The mix of brown & white sugar adds depth, but lots of cooks have done that. For instance, the 2009 America's Test Kitchen book has 3 chocolate chip cookie versions and all have the two sugars. Also all brown the butter. I checked a few other cookbooks on chocolate chip recipes, too. Many use two eggs or 1 1/2 eggs, which add something different as is clearly pointed out in the blog the recipe creator linked to. There's room for lots of chocolate chip cookie variations.
 
Kara C. December 19, 2020
These are my absolute favorite cookies. I tried Sarah Kieffer's original recipe, and while delicious, they fell a little short on that chewy, malty flavor I was craving. Emma's modifications are spot on for my tastes. I also brown the butter and add the water back to total 277g of butter. Solid recipe. Thanks Emma!!
 
tash December 10, 2020
Hi, when measuring the flour do you use the measuring cup and scoop in the flour bag or take a spoon and add that to the measuring cup?
 
susan H. December 10, 2020
If you have a kitchen scale, weighing your ingredients by grams rather than measuring them by volume will yield a more uniform result.
 
tash December 16, 2020
okay will do thanks! but when you scoop the flour out do you usually use a spoon to do so?
 
Kara C. December 19, 2020
When you're weighing flour, it doesn't make a difference, sometimes I pour, sometimes I scoop with a spoon.
 
susan H. May 29, 2021
i work at a bakery. we scoop!
 
Kate20 September 25, 2020
Hi Emma, thanks for the recipe! i tried baking earlier this week. The taste is fantastic and the pan banging makes the cookies so instagram worthy! however, the cookies stick to the aluminum foil (i used the dull side). any suggestions? Thanks!
 
Sara December 12, 2020
Parchment paper works great!
 
Kate20 September 25, 2020
Hi Emily, thanks for the recipe! i tried baking earlier this week. The taste is fantastic and the pan banging makes the cookies so instagram worthy! however, the cookies stick to the aluminum foil (i used the dull side). any suggestions? Thanks!
 
susan H. September 25, 2020
hi kate. i make these cookies frequently and always use parchment paper or a silpat mat. never aluminum foil, since that raises the temperature at the bottoms of the cookies. hope this helps. it's a terrific recipe.
 
Via L. June 14, 2020
Hi! I followed this recipe to a T but it still doesn't seem to completely flatten and is a little thick. Could it be because I used chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks?
 
susan H. June 14, 2020
i occasionally use chocolate chips in this recipe. no difference. are you adding enough water to your batter? are you banging your cookie sheets hard and often enough?
 
Via L. June 14, 2020
I have some batter leftover so I will try adding more water to tomorrow's batch! (though I did add the amount the recipe called for). Thank you so much!
 
Kyla S. May 22, 2020
Hi! Do you bake this at a normal oven with no fan on? Or did you use a convection oven (oven with a fan on)? I have an oven that lets me bake with a fan on or not. So I don’t know what setting I should put it in when baking this delicious recipe!!! Help :(
 
susan H. June 14, 2020
i think you are referring to convection v. non-convection baking. by all means, use the convection function, but be aware that it runs hotter and the heat is ditributed more evenly than non-convection baking. also, the temperature is somewhat brand dependent. a wolf oven, e.g., loses less heat than many conventional home ovens each time you open the door, so that it stays hotter. there are certainly a number of variables to keep in mind - don't give up trying!
 
Michael S. May 16, 2020
Why are ripples important?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. May 17, 2020
Hi! They give the cookies great textural contrast (and they're pretty, too).
 
JustAFoodie April 11, 2020
This cookie for me is absolutely delicious! I love it! However, I would like to know if there's a way for me make my cookies just a tad bit thicker, while also still remaining crunchy on the outside with a soft and chewy goodness on the inside? This will be my go to cookie from now on.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 12, 2020
Hi, so glad you enjoyed them! To try to get them thicker, you could skip the water, or bang the cookies less, or both. And if you want to nerd out about chocolate chip cookie variables (I do!), more here: https://food52.com/blog/24366-how-sarah-kieffer-made-viral-chocolate-chip-cookies
 
JustAFoodie April 18, 2020
Thank you so much! I tried the recipe again with out adding water and they came out perfect for me. I will be using this recipe from now on.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 20, 2020
So glad to hear it!
 
Michael A. April 11, 2020
Thoughts on browning the butter? I love the added flavor of browned butter in cookies, but not sure if I would need to adjust the amount of butter/water in this recipe.

Planning on making these guys today :)
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 11, 2020
Hi! You can brown the butter. To replace the lost water content from browning, just add enough water to the browned butter to reach 1 cup or 227 grams.
 
Kathleen D. April 10, 2020
This is the most amazing cookie ever! It’s so gourmet and made right in the comfort of your own home. This will forever be my go to cookie! It’s worth the time it take and it’s so simple.
 
Amy April 3, 2020
Can they sit in the freezer for more than 15 minutes?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 4, 2020
Yes! But if they're going to be there for more than a few hours, I would transfer them to a bag or container, and just add a few extra minutes to the bake time.