Pan Thumped Snickerdoodles

There are times when I think I’ve done, baked, eaten and shared every cookie there is.

Luckily, each time my ego begins to slip in this direction, I stand corrected by something new and innovative that someone other than me thought up.

Case in point: pan thumping (and now you too will have the 1997  one hit wonder genius, Tub Thumping in your head).

Pan thumping’s (well, actually, banging…I just wanted you to join me in my Chumbawumba misery) mistress, Sarah Kieffer gives the fully skinny on the technique in her new book: 100 cookies: The baking book for every kitchen.  Arthur of the popular blog, The Vanilla Bean Blog, she discovered the ripply-edge effect of picking up and (gently) banging the edge of the pan of cookies starting at the half-baked mark while on a quest to find the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

It’s a little like cookie dough whack-a-mole.  About halfway through the bake, you go in for the first bang, allow the cookies to puff up and then repeat at two (or so) minute intervals until your cookies are to desired doneness.  The result is a crispy ripply edge and chewy center.

Ms. Kieffer’s original pan banging recipe was for chocolate chip cookies.  I haven’t tried that recipe yet, but did jump right in with the snickerdoodle version.  Because it’s fall.  And cinnamon = fall.

The verdict: delicious and gorgeous.  The pan banging takes a little more attention (and time–you have to bake them one pan at a time), but the results were thin, crispy and chewy.  Basically snickerdoodle nirvana.

I did make one slight adjustment to the recipe, that I’d recommend if you already have the ingredient on hand.  Right before these cookies, I made a couple of my favorite chocolate cakes, Lori’s Chocolate Midnight Cake and used up the last of my vanilla.  Not willing to stop my baking process to run to the store, I subbed in a reduced amount of almond extract.  If you have some, try it out.  The difference is subtle but enough to make them a little unique.

And, just in case it’s still not stuck in your head.  I’ll leave this here:

(Pan Banged) Snickerdoodles

adapted just slightly from Sarah Kieffer


  • 2 C (184g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 C (227 g) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 3/4 C (350g) granulated sugar, separated
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp almond extract)
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon


  1. Adjust oven rack to center and pre-heat to 350 degrees.  Line three sheet pans with parchment (or aluminum foil, dull-side up).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar and nutmeg.
  3. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter on medium until creamy (about 1 minuye).  Add 1 1/2 C  (300g) of the sugar and beat until very light, 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla (or almond extract) and mix on low to combine.  Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together remaining sugar and cinnamon.
  5. For the dough into balls.  The original recipe calls for 3 oz balls.  I prefer a smaller cookie and used a 1 ounce scoop.  Roll each dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. Place on pan an equal distance apart (if 3 oz balls, you’ll fit about 4 on half-sheet pan.  Twice that if using 1 oz scooper).
  7. Bake the cookies one pan at a time.  Bake until the dough balls have flattened but are puffed slightly,  8 minutes (closer to 7 in my own oven).  Life one side of the sheet pan up about 4 inches and gently let it drop against the oven rack.  After the cookies puff up again, repeat.  Repeat a few more times, baking 14-15 minutes total, until the edges are golden brown but the centers are still lightish.
  8. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes.  After this, move to rack (no pan) to cool completely.

Snickerdoodles on steroids

True to the namesake of her bakery, Christina Tosi of Milkbar has a particular affinity for things cereal and cracker related.  Her cookbook contains several recipes for a category of concoctions she calls “the crunch.” Operationally defined, crunches are a an array of recipe add-ins whose primary ingredient is most often derived from snack foods including cereals, crackers, chips and pretzels.

Among these little nuggets of nirvana I discovered a formula for homemade cinnamon toast crunch, crunch.  Well, she had me at the first crunch.

The technique involves browning butter in the microwave.  ‘Go ahead she says, it’s easier than stovetop.’  Apparently not for my microwave.  Oh, I got brown butter.  I also got an appliance covered in a layer of butter so thick you could grease toast with it for years.  But, maybe your microwave is better behaved.

The next ingredient is white bread.  I can’t tell you how odd it was to walk down the bead aisle looking for plain white bread.  We don’t eat a lot of bread in our household.  Whenever I buy a loaf I have to keep it in the fridge because left in the pantry, it’ll go moldy before we even get halfway through.  Of course, the mold may have something to do with the fact that I buy fairly gross good-for-you grown up bread that doesn’t have a lot of preservatives.  So buying white bread was a bit of a wonder (uhm…see what I did there…wonder…bread).

Off with the crusts and into 1/2 inch pieces.

A gentle toss with the brown butter and a cinnamon sugar mix and it’s time to get toasty.

Out of the oven, this stuff is ridiculous.  Seriously…crunchy and buttery and cinnamony.

But wait.  Remember the mother snickerdoodle recipe from last week?  Well, Christina does encourage the reader to experiment.  So, what do you think might happen if we chopped up the cinnamon toast crunch crunch into smaller bits.

Then carefully folded them in to the snickerdoodle dough and rolled each ball of dough in cinnamon and sugar before baking?

You get a snickerdoodle on steroids my friends.

You know you want to make these.

If you like this, you might enjoy these

Brown butter chocolate chip cookies

Big sky buns


Lumineers.  What?  Everyone else is.

Snickerdoodles on Steroids

Adapted from Milk, Christina Tosi

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crunch


  • 1/4 (100 g) white sandwich bread
  • 1/3 C (115g) brown butter (instructions below), just warm
  • 1/2 C (100g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (2g) kosher salt
  • 1 tsp (2g) ground cinnamon


  1. To brown butter.  Place 1/2 C unsalted butter in a microwave-safe dish.  Cover with a microwave-safe saucer and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. The butter will melt and then start to pop.  If you are the TMH’s microwave, it’ll then explode leaving you with about 1/3 of a cup of browned butter.  Set butter aside to cool.
  2. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Tear or cube the bread into 1/2 inch pieces.  Put it in a bowl, douse with the brown butter and let soak for about a minute.
  4. Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon to the mix and toss well.  Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Pull from oven and break-up with a spatula.  Bake an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Cool the cinnamon toast crunch crunch completely.  Chop into crumbs a little bigger than orzo.

For Cookies

  • Snickerdoodle dough
  • 1/2 recipe cinnamon toast crunch crunch
  • 1 C sugar combined with 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Go here for the base snickerdoodle recipe and follow directions but swap-in 1/2 of the cinnamon toast crunch recipe for the birthday cake crumbs.
  2. When scooping dough, roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture, set on parchment lined baking sheets and flatten a bit with the bottom of a cup (about 3″ diameter).
  3. Follow the remaining instructions for the sprinkle cookies.