Food

Who Would You Bake S’mores Cookies For?

S’mores pan-banging cookies

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?

Cookies cookbook

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.)

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.)

  1. Chelsea says...

    These were delicious. I made a batch and shared liberally. Five out of five taste testers came back with rave reviews. I am also not a frequent baker by any means and did not find the recipe challenging.

  2. Meghan says...

    Sarah’s first book is one of my favorites – I make her pumpkin Bundt cake every time we have house guests as it always turns out perfectly and is an easy breakfast that looks great on a cake stand, and a few weeks ago, I made her pan-banging chocolate chip cookies while I was in labor (they were the perfect post-birth gift to myself!). Somehow (the pandemic? the baby?) I missed that she had a new book out, but on seeing this post I instantly ordered it – thank you, thank you, thank you for the heads-up! I just made the peanut butter and marshmallow brownies and they are divine.

  3. loma says...

    3/4 teaspoon of salt? is that accurate?

  4. Colleda says...

    You better love someone a WHOLE lot to make these cookies – definitely not for the faint of heart (so many steps! do not walk away from the oven!). I also wouldn’t recommend for the very casual baker, that said, who am I to tell you what you can and cannot do. All that aside, these are freaking delicious. I wish I had a blow torch to get that perfect picture finish, however, the broiler method worked just fine. Now I just have to wait impatiently for my copy to show up…eta end of October (insert sad face). Please share more of Sara’s recipes!

  5. Michelle says...

    I made her basil butter cream chocolate ganache brownies last week and they were amazing!! Can’t recommend the cookbook enough!

  6. Sarah says...

    Yum!! Have camping s’mores leftovers that I’ll use for this!!

  7. Em says...

    I was considering trying to make these with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF flour. Feel like it would at least be worth a shot!

  8. Leigh says...

    You can’t buy the book online. It’s on back order until November. Any suggestions?

    Thanks

  9. Anne Rüsing says...

    @Jenny: Please indicate weights for us poor Europeans yearning for the s’mores experience … thx a

    • Julia says...

      I cup US is about 250ml. If you have a measuring cup, you can easily use that for measuring. Just measure everything by volume. (Don’t get me wrong, I prefer recipes with weights, but that’s a losing battle here in the US.)

    • Leigh says...

      If you have the NYT cooking app the pan-banging chocolate chip cookies are almost the same recipe and the ingredients are in grams.

  10. Emily says...

    I believe it refers to the strategy of banging the pan on the counter when the cookies come out of the oven, in order to get that flat, crinkled look (the force of the “pan-banging” causes the cookies to sag in the center and get all rustic and ripply)!

  11. Emma says...

    I love cookies yet can not eat them as they have to be gluten free for me, if anyone has a gluten free cookie recipe it would be greatly appreciated and eaten for sure. Thanks a bunch of cookies Ladies!

    • sanchz says...

      Trader Joe’s GF flour mix works pretty well.

    • Em says...

      I was considering trying to make these with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF flour. Feel like it would at least be worth a shot!

    • pascale says...

      I’d sub the bob’s red mill 1:1 flour, and there are a lot of GF graham crackers on the market – I usually use Schar brand, but I know Kinickkinick is popular!

    • Jess says...

      I just made these and I have to say, they came out…kind of…funky. Like they have too much butter and not enough flour. I double checked my weights and volumes as I went—easily distracted baker over here—so I think it’s an issue with the recipe. They are also too sweet for my taste. Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll sprinkle some sea salt on top as they go into the oven.

  12. Heather says...

    Question….Where did the expression ‘pan-banged’ cookies originate? I’ve never heard of this as a cookie recipe descriptor! I had to look it up!

  13. Britta says...

    Whom would you ….

    • Lauren says...

      ? Maybe you’ve seen the New Yorker cartoon of the wife leaning over her husband’s shoulder to read the email he’s writing: “it’s ‘she’s driving me crazy and I don’t know WHOM to turn to.'”

  14. Sarah says...

    Elementary music teacher here, teaching in person. Please send all the cookies. Maybe some wine, too!

    • Roxanne says...

      Me too! And yes to both cookies and wine!

    • Katherine says...

      What is the amount of graham cracker crumbs? It’s written in the instructions but not the ingredient list…

  15. I could barely even focus on the directions, these look so good and I want them immediately. I would bake them for myself. And maybe I’ll share with my family.

  16. Hilary says...

    These look so delicious! In the spirit of this post, I’m planning on making much bigger Christmas treat boxes to give to friends and family as this has been a tough year for everyone. Does the book include weights? Weighing dry ingredients has made baking *so* much easier, and I’d love if they were included in the book!

    • Megan Powell says...

      What a great idea! I would love to make treat boxes for friends this year too! Thanks for the idea!

    • Nancy says...

      I’m glad you asked this question! I also really prefer baking by weight. I checked the book’s preview on Amazon, and it looks like it does include weights!

  17. Denise says...

    Good lord these look delicious! I wish I’d had some while camping during the campfire ban this summer. Camping isn’t the same without the campfire but some s’mores cookies would’ve hit the spot! …. next time… also, really, anytime.

    • Christine says...

      My husband loves all things smores and cookies and cream..so definitely for him! Oh and I’m sure the kids would love them too. Adding ingredients to my shopping list!

  18. A says...

    Hello!
    I’d love to try these! Anybody have any advice on what to use instead of Graham crackers? We don’t have them here. Digestive biscuits maybe? I’ve never tasted Graham crackers so don’t know what they would be comparable to. Thanks!

    • Barbara says...

      Yes, crushed digestive biscuits do the trick!

    • Ooh, that’s a challenge. I think some people use a saltine or a wheatgerm cracker – then maybe use brown sugar for the bit of depth. Personally, I would shop the cookie aisle. Graham crackers are quite sweet and crumbly. So maybe a Nilla Wafer? Or a Biscoff coffee biscuit? A ginger snap would also do. If you do go with a cookie (to make a cookie!) I’d skip the added sugar and butter and just crumble them right up.

    • A says...

      Thank you for the suggestions! I will try digestives and if they are a hit (I’m confident they will be!) Then I might try the Graham crackers from scratch!

    • Courtney says...

      I use Biscoff cookies! They’re not the same, but they’re the best replacement I’ve found of the options available where I live. And Biscoff cookies are so good, I might argue that they’re often better than the graham crackers called for! :)

    • MB says...

      An American here – digestives are the closest sub I’ve found. Also if you can get speculoos/Ikea biscuits (Tiger has them) they’re pretty good!

    • sanchz says...

      I think biscoff would be closer than digestives

  19. Sid says...

    Hey Jenny! Any tips for mailing cookies/brownies? Especially when it may still be hot out. Thanks!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      I would slice them (when they’ve completely cooled), wrap snugly in foil and then a ziptop bag. If you are sending more than one layer, maybe separate with more foil or with parchment paper.

    • Linds says...

      My grandmother sent me sugar cookies in a Tupperware filled with Rice Krispies cereal. She made the thinnest, most delicate sugar cookies and they always arrived intact.

    • CJ says...

      Not necessarily a hot weather tip, but if you put some apple slices in with your cookies when you mail them it keeps them from drying out (think chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter varieties). I can attest to this both shipping overseas and receiving overseas.

    • Kate says...

      omg Rice Krispies as packing peanuts….that’s the most brilliant thing I’ve ever heard, Linds!!

    • I will definitely be making these for a friend on her birthday.

  20. CC says...

    Yes to these cookies today!

  21. K says...

    Can I say myself? PMS sucks, chocolate helps.

    Also, Jenny, I love chocolate chip cookies, but mine NEVER come out the same way twice. No idea what I’m doing wrong. It would be awesome for you (and maybe some others) to test and share a fool-proof, simple recipe! My cookies don’t have to be the best, but I’d love a reliable, old faithful.

    • Sarah says...

      Hi K – these salted chocolate chunk cookies from smitten kitchen have never once let me down. They’re my go-to chocolate chip cookie and I always get rave reviews! I’ve made them so many times I have nearly memorized the recipe. Happy baking!

      https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/04/salted-chocolate-chunk-cookies/

    • K says...

      Thank you, Sarah! I’ll give them a shot next. The good news is that even the duds that spread too much still taste pretty good :)

    • Annie says...

      K, I’m sure you will get lots of recommendations and I would never not send someone to Smitten Kitchen for a good baked good, but I use this recipe from the NYT: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015819-chocolate-chip-cookies. I don’t even really like chocolate chip cookies as much as other kinds, but these are so so good. You may think that they are not simple (bread flour? cake flour?), but a kitchen scale makes quick work of this. I always just mix up the dough and then use an ice cream scoop to portion them out to whatever size I like, then put them on parchment, stick them in the freezer and once frozen, throw all the dough balls in a bag. Once I realized that you can just freeze cookie dough and bake off as many as you want, warm chocolate chip cookies are 20 minutes away from brightening a day, whether it’s rough from PMS, e-learning, or whatever the world is throwing at you.

    • Ellen says...

      I second the Smitten Kitchen recipe! I believe it’s slightly adapted from Ashley Rodriguez. They are VERY good: chewy with pockets of melted chocolate, mmmm…

    • Amber says...

      Not a recipe, but some tips: I agree with the comment abt the kitchen scale. If you’re using the same recipe and it’s turning out diff every time, it’s likely from using volume measurements (the way you scoop into the cup versus using the cup, whether the flour is fluffed beforehand or or packed, etc. Also be sure your baking soda is fresh, as that impacts how they spread. And make sure your eggs and butter are properly room temp, not melted (unless recipe calls for), etc. Hope these tips help!

    • Christine says...

      Yes the smitten kitchen recipe is a winner. I mean..how could they not be when the chocolate amount is almost the same as the flour ???

  22. Lauren E. says...

    I am a total sucker for a brownie with frosting. YUM!

  23. celeste says...

    I love baking cookies for my kids and donating them to church once a month for their homeless shelter dinner.

  24. Abbie says...

    Congrats on your daughter’s first year of college. Weren’t they just babies you wrote cookbooks about feeding yesterday?!???

    Also these cookies look AMAZING.

  25. Connie says...

    My husband! Because of the nature of our jobs, I get to go into the office 2-3 times a week for the entire day, which means he has to oversee the lion’s share of the kids’ e-learning stuff while he simultaneously does his own full-time job at home. He also recently got an offer to contribute a chapter in a book that will be published in the next few months, so he’s working on the final drafts of THAT, too! He’s holding The Homestead down in a big way, and while he knows I am grateful for that, it would be an added little gift to bake something especially for him, to show my gratitude in a “sweet” way. Thanks!

  26. SP says...

    any advice for a gal in a teeny, tiny apartment with no stand mixer and no desire to add one to my already cluttered kitchen?? will these be ok if I just whisk really aggressively?

    • Andrea says...

      Hand held mixers work fine–electric or hand-cranked. You want the butter to cream and then everything else is really mixing. A whisk doesn’t help so much with creaming or mixing.

    • A says...

      I don’t have a stand mixer either but my hand mixer works great! It doesn’t take much space and is surprisingly useful for a lot of things (mashed potatoes, shredding chicken even!) Cookie dough is probably too thick for a whisk but a wooden spoon for would probably work fine too.

    • Lora says...

      Totally agree with a hand mixer! I actually prefer it to a stand mixer for many recipes because I like that I have more control.

    • Calla says...

      I am an avid baker who lives in a teeny tiny studio and firmly believe there are very very few things you really need a stand mixer for. I use a hand mixer for anything with a lot of egg whites and do everything else by hand.

      For creaming butter and sugar together, just be patient and let your butter really come to room temp. If you want to speed up the process, grate the cold stick on a box grater into a metal bowl; the little shreds soften up a lot faster than an intact stick.

    • Andrea says...

      Clarification: I have had great success creaming softened butter with a spatula and then mixing cookies with a wooden spoon. You may want to quickly pre-mix eggs with a fork before adding them to this. It’s often hard to not overmix eggs when trying to manually incorporating them into a non-mixer mixed batter.

      TLDR version: you can mix cookies without appliances.

    • Emily says...

      Highly recommend using a pastry cutter to get cold(er) butter to begin to combine with sugar. After that, use a wood spoon! The pastry cutter is also great for what it’s meant for (ha) so you can use it for pie crust, etc. as well.