Sarah Kieffer’s 100 Cookies was published at exactly the right time because I can think of at least 100 people I’d like to bake a batch of cookies for…
I’d start with a few dozen for my daughter, who, just yesterday, I shipped off to freshman year at college. Surely she’d make lots of nice friends if she was handing out Kieffer’s internet-breaking Pan-Banged Chocolate Chip Cookies, the ginormous ones that ripple out from the center? I could send a half dozen Strawberry Crème Fraiche bars to my own college roommates who, in normal times, I would’ve seen by now for our annual reunion. A batch of Fudgy Brownies for my dad because the guy is a chocolate addict; some Danish Pear-Apple bars for my friend Jodi because she recently helped me out with a work situation; pan-banged Snickerdoodles (or pan-banged Peanut Butter or Ginger Molasses — there’s a whole chapter of them!) to my friends Naria and Jen and Rory, who I just miss a lot. And I think in honor of our last two weeks of summer, I’d have to hand out at least a few dozen of these Pan-Banged S’mores Cookies to the teachers and administrators at my other daughter’s high school — the ones who worked through June and July to make things as good as they can be for her senior year.
That’s the thing about a book like this, there’s a cookie for everyone and you’ll want to make sure they get ’em.
Who do you feel like baking cookies for?
Pan-Banged S’more Cookies
Makes about 12 large cookies
Graham Cracker Crumbs
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs (or 6 whole graham crackers pulsed in a food processor)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter, and mix until combined. The mixture should be coated in butter but not wet. (You want the crumbs to cling evenly to the cookies.)
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ounces milk or semisweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces (averaging ½-inch with some smaller and some larger)
12 large marshmallows, cut into 2 or 3 slices, somewhere between ¼ and ½-inches (If your marshmallows are very thick, you will want to cut them in half or thirds horizontally)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three sheet pans with aluminum foil, dull-side up.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, water, and vanilla, and mix on low speed to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the chocolate and mix into the batter on low speed.
Form the dough into 3-ounce balls (about ¼ cup). Roll each ball into the graham cracker crumbs until fully coated. Place 4 cookies an equal distance apart on the sheet pans. Bake the cookies one pan at a time. Bake until the dough balls have spread flat but are puffed slightly in the center, 9 minutes. Lift one side of the sheet pan up about 4 inches and gently let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the center falls back. After the cookies puff up again in 2 minutes, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake for 15 to 16 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.
Remove the pan from the oven and place two or three thin square pieces of marshmallow on top of each cookie. Place the pan back in the oven for 45 seconds to 1 minute, just until the marshmallows start to melt. Remove the pan. Use a kitchen torch or broiler to gently toast the top of each marshmallow until golden. You can use a knife to very gently slide the marshmallow slightly across the cookie if you want more of the cookie covered, or leave as is.
Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the sheet pan, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days (or refrigerate for up to 3 days).
P.S. Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookies and the power of a thank-you note.
(Reprinted from 100 Cookies by Sarah Kieffer with permission by Chronicle Books. Photographs by Sarah Kieffer.)