Rippling chocolate chip cookie finds Instagram fame


Last fall, an aberrant chocolate chip cookie turned up in my Instagram feed. As wide as a salad plate and flat as a flounder, it appeared thin, but it was somehow layered with slabs of chocolate. Oddest of all, it was ringed, like a tree trunk — as if a chunk of chocolate had been dropped in the center and somehow made waves out to the edges. I assumed it was a mutant, posted by a troubled baker as a cry for help, and I kept scrolling.

But soon, the rippled cookie appeared again: as a one-off from a bread blog, then in 42burners, the Instagram account of Martha Stewart’s vast test kitchen. It showed up, insistently, as baker/photographers like Ruth Tam kept posting it, crowing about the crispiness of the ridges and the softness of the centers.

I grew curious. It seems impossible that there’s anything new to say about basic chocolate chip cookies (a version from the pastry chef Jacques Torres, from 2008, is one we keep going back to, and for good reason). But a recipe that spreads across Instagram (and isn’t galaxy-, unicorn- or ombré-decorated) cannot be lightly dismissed.

When I spotted a new post that was simply a collage of photos of the cookie, I broke down. I tracked down the recipe, and then its author, Sarah Kieffer, who described the sacred rite of the ripples.

“It’s all in the pan-bang,” she said.

Here’s how it works: After the cookies have risen a bit in the hot oven, she pulls out the cookie sheet and bangs it hard on top of the stove, or on the oven rack. Just as a half-done cake falls in the center when bumped, the middle of the cookie collapses, pushing barely-baked dough out to the edges. She returns the pan to the oven and, at intervals, repeats the process, building up the crinkled rim that makes it possible to have both soft and crunchy textures in a single cookie. It is, I can attest, a leap forward in cookie technology.

It’s not clear even to Kieffer how the pan-bang came to her. But as a trained baker, she had the skills to develop a recipe around it that maximizes the ripple effect: making the cookies very large, chilling the dough balls before baking and using chopped chocolate instead of chips.

“I can’t imagine a better chocolate chip cookie,” said Kieffer, who makes and posts the cookies often, usually generating over 2,000 “likes” for each image. “But you never know what someone else will think of.”

Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 60 percent cacao solids), chopped into coarse pieces, bits and shards

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil, parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and 2 tablespoons water, and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture, and mix on low until combined. Add the chocolate and mix on low into the batter. (At this point, the dough can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight.)

Form the dough into 3 1/2-ounce balls (a heaping 1/3 cup each). Place 4 balls an equal distance apart on a prepared pan, and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. After you put the first baking sheet in the oven, put the second one in the freezer.

Place the chilled baking sheet in the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed slightly in the center. Lift the baking sheet and let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down. (This will feel wrong, but trust me.) Bang it down, if necessary, to make the center fall.

After the cookies puff up again, 2 to 3 minutes later, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times, every 3 minutes, to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake 16 to 18 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out, and the edges are golden brown, but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool before removing the cookies from the pan.

Repeat with remaining cookies, using the first sheet pan for the third batch of cookies. Yields 10 cookies.

Per cookie: 489 calories (percent of calories from fat, 50), 5 grams protein, 59 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 29 grams fat (17 grams saturated), 71 milligrams cholesterol, 238 milligrams sodium.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Food

Take a look at the menus for Bar Americano, Bar Crema now open in Buckhead, and more Atlanta dining news
Take a look at the menus for Bar Americano, Bar Crema now open in Buckhead, and more Atlanta dining news

Pizza from Bar Americano / Photo courtesy of Bar Americano November is ending with a bang for a growing Atlanta restaurant group. Bar Americano and Bar Crema, two concepts from Ten Apart , the team behind The Mercury, The Pinewood and Proof Cocktail Syrups, is now open in Buckhead. The group also opened late-night...
This restaurant is our escape from the holiday shopping craze
This restaurant is our escape from the holiday shopping craze

Artichoke beignets from Del Frisco’s Grille / Photo courtesy Del Frisco’s Grille DISH OF THE WEEK: Artichoke beignets at Del Frisco’s Grille Say “beignets” and I picture myself at Café Du Monde in New Orleans. I’m sitting down to a plate filled with puffy squares of deep-fried choux pastry covered...
Where to get $5 food deals in Atlanta on Black Friday
Where to get $5 food deals in Atlanta on Black Friday

Get $5 food deals at Taverna weekdays. Photo credit: Taverna. Be sure to treat yourself to something yummy after shopping for friends and family this Friday. Taverna , located in Buckhead, just launched a happy hour special featuring $5 fritto misto (calamari, shrimp, shallots, zucchini and carrots with spicy tomato aioli), ...
Of pints and predators: inside the U.K. Parliament’s boozy hangouts
Of pints and predators: inside the U.K. Parliament’s boozy hangouts

LONDON — A plaque on a wall at the Sports and Social Club, a dingy and stuffy bar located next to garbage cans in the basement of the Houses of Parliament in London, reads: “The Code of the Man Cave. What happens here stays here! Violators will be shot — survivors will be shot again.” That jokey warning took on serious undertones...
2017 Beaujolais Nouveau wine label is created by a St. Petersburg artist
2017 Beaujolais Nouveau wine label is created by a St. Petersburg artist

Every year, there are bad things we can count on: taxes and death. And good things: Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November and on the Thursday before, the Beaujolais nouveau arrives. What is less predictable is just how this vin de l'annee ("this year's wine") stacks up. Every now and then the young gamay from the Beaujolais...
More Stories