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Pan Banging Homemade Sugar Cookie Recipe

This Homemade Sugar Cookie Recipe makes a soft and chewy cookie with delicate crispy edges that taste like it’s bathed in vanilla and browned butter!

Top looking down at three sugar cookies layered over each other on a white plate on a marble background in from on milk and more cookies.

Pan WHAT? That’s what I thought too! This Pan Banging Homemade Sugar Cookie recipe is just fun to make. Best of all they’re quick and easy. That makes them perfect for the little kiddos to help.

For someone that spends almost every waking hour wondering how to get the perfect rise in their homemade sugar cookies, and then intentionally banging them while baking is just crazy. Right?

Well, let me tell you a little bit about how these cookies came about.

Today I’m celebrating our annual Freaky Friday Annual Virtual Holiday Cookie Exchange.

The Freaky Friday blog hop, organized by Michaela who runs An Affair From the Heart, is a group of bloggers that are secretly assigned each others’ blogs from which we choose a recipe appropriate for the theme. It’s so much fun and there are so many quality recipes.

The theme for this event is very appropriate. The recipe had to be a cookie, bar, candy or holiday type Chex/snack mix. Something you would see on a holiday platter.

Announcement for Holiday Cookie Exchange containing santas and sugar cookies

The secret blog that I was assigned was The Fresh Cooky by the ever so talented Kathleen. I was really happy to get Kathleen’s blog for this round because she’s really picky when it comes to her cookies. I knew I’d get a good recipe no matter which one I picked.

Let me tell you a little bit about Kathleen. Kathleen is a wife and a mother of two somewhat picky boys. She grew up cooking and baking just like she does with her boys now.

She enjoys entertaining, family, and friends just like we do, and I liked her instantly when she said she wasn’t perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. I am often one hot mess and just assumed that’s normal for most of us right?

Close up side photo of a broken glazed cookie with sprinkles on a white plate showing the soft center.

The Fresh Cookie has a ton of recipes that I couldn’t decide between such as Chewy Cookie Butter Snickerdoodles which would have been John’s first choice, or her Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies which is next on my list!

Then there was her Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream. You can see my dilemma! Right? I was just too intrigued by this pan banging thing.

What is a Pan Banging Cookie anyway?

As I said, this goes against anything that I’ve ever learned, but you actually bang the pan while they’re baking a couple of times to flatten them.

This process was developed by Sarah Kieffer in her cookbook, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, her gastronomic creation of the Pan Banging Chocolate Chip Cookie. The result is a soft and chewy sugar cookie with crispy edges. As Kathleen stated, it’s quite easy and oddly satisfying

Cookie tray filled with the ingredients necessary to make sugar cookies. Flour, sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt next to a dough scoop.

Ingredients for this simple Sugar Cookie:

  • Butter – I used unsalted. If you use salted, don’t add any additional salt.
  • Sugar – I used white granulated. Kathleen uses natural cane sugar.
  • Egg – Large
  • Vanilla extract – I use pure but in baking, you can use imitation and may not detect the difference.
  • Flour – I use all-purpose flour and sometimes unbleached all-purpose. They’re interchangeable. The only difference is unbleached is just one less step in the processing of the flour.
  • Baking soda – acts as the leavening in this recipe.
  • Salt – I use kosher but any is fine. Omit if you use salted butter.
  • Water – just a bit and any water that you can drink can be used.
  • Powdered sugar – also known as confectioners sugar. Used in the glaze.
  • Sprinkles – optional but not really. Sprinkles are fun!

If you’re not a sprinkle kind of baker, these tasty sugar cookies are still the best ever! Just don’t say you don’t like browned butter glaze o.k.?

4 sugar cookies that have piped glaze in a hatch pattern on a white plate in front of a bottle of milk sitting on a marble background.

Tips for Pan Banging Sugar Cookies

  • Make sure your ingredients are all at room temperature.
  • Whipping butter isn’t just mixing butter. You want it light and fluffy which usually takes at least 2 minutes at medium-high speed using your electric mixer. It will lighten in color. I’ve included a photo for you. Just scroll down a bit.
  • Give your oven plenty of time to preheat. I start mine before I begin mixing my dough.
  • Whisk dry ingredients together. Have you ever bitten into a cookie and tasted salt? The baker skipped this step. Sad face inserted here.
  • You literally have to bang this pan while the cookies are baking. Place your oven rack in the middle of the oven and don’t have any racks above it. That helps prevent burns to your hands and arms.
  • I used a medium-sized cookie scoop which makes a two-tablespoon cookie. You could use a large scoop (3 tablespoons) but that’s overkill in my opinion.
  • Fill cookie sheets with only 6 cookies. You want your cookies to have plenty of room to spread (bang) out.
Collage showing whipped butter, rolled sugar cookie dough, cookie dough on a cookie sheet, and brown butter glaze in a bowl.

How to make this Homemade Sugar Cookie Recipe:

  1. Using an electric mixer, whip the softened butter for 2 minutes at medium-high speed until lighter in color and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla, and water. Mix until everything is blended and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, and salt together. Whisk to combine.
  4. Gradually add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  5. Scoop out the cookie dough into a ball. Roll each cookie ball in sugar and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  6. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes while you scoop up your next sheet.
  7. Place the pan in the oven and after about 5 to 6 minutes lift the cookie sheet off the rack and drop it twice. Let bake for 2 more minutes and bang again. Let bake until cookies are slightly browned on the edges, just a minute or two more, and remove the pan from the oven. Bang them one last time.
  8. Let them cool completely on the pan which will help them firm up.

How to make Browned Butter Glaze:

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat melt the butter. It will sizzle and pop. Swirl the pan every once in a while. Butter will darken to a caramel color and brown bits will form on the bottom. This is the milk solids in the butter also known as flavor! Turn the heat to low until some of the foam subsides. Remove from the heat and allow the butter to cool.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, browned butter, and vanilla extract. Mix and then add one teaspoon of water at a time until glaze it’s thick enough to drizzle or pipe.

Just for the heck of it, I wanted to see what my cookies would look like if I didn’t bang them. They’re still flattish but not as crinkled. Bang away I say bang away!

Two photos comparing properly made cookies verses improperly made.

Can you freeze this homemade sugar cookie recipe? You can definitely freeze these simple sugar cookies. I wouldn’t glaze or sprinkle them beforehand, however. I separate my cookies between layers of waxed paper and then in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.

If you don’t have sneaky freezer pirates that are prone to stealing your homemade sugar cookies, let them come to room temperature before glazing and sprinkling.

Close angle view of a sugar cookie with glaze piped in stripes across the top and colorful sprinkles on a paper lace tray.

Items you may need…

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Sheet pans – I love these pans! I’ve got 4 of them and they’re so sturdy. I had these cookies baked in no time!

Scoops – I used the medium-sized scoop for this homemade sugar cookie recipe but you could use a large scoop for bigger cookies too.

I’ve made some amazing recipes for The Freaky Friday Blog Hop including Peanut Butter Pretzel Puppy Chow and Caramel Apple Pie Snack Mix which are great finger-friendly snacks that would make a great addition to your cookie tray.

If you’re looking for more of sweet and gooey dessert, how about a Triple Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bar or a Decadent Derby Pie Brownie Bar? Oh heavens, I can’t even describe how wonderful they are!

I love baking for Christmas but the rolling and cut-out sugar cookies are so much work! I’ll be making these Pan Banging Easy Homemade Sugar Cookies all year long!

Take a look at all of our 2019 Freaky Friday Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Funfetti Sugar Cookies
  2. Bowl Me Over –  Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
  3. Hostess at Heart –Pan Banging Homemade Sugar Cookie Recipe
  4. House of Nash Eats – Lime Meltaways
  5. Life Currents – Peanut Butter Coffee Cake
  6. Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish – Chocolate Cashew Candies
  7. Or Whatever You Do – Caramel Pecan Bites
  8. Take Two Tapas – Chocolate Fudge with Almonds and Coconut
  9. The Fresh Cooky – Oatmeal Rolled Sugar Cookies
  10. The Speckled Palate – Shortbread Brown Butter Cookies
Top shot of 3 glazed and sprinkled cookies on a white plate in front of a bottle of milk and a pedestal dish with more cookies.
Enjoy these Easy Homemade Sugar Cookies!
Top looking down at three sugar cookies layered over each other on a white plate on a marble background in from on milk and more cookies.
Print
5 from 9 votes

Pan Banging Homemade Sugar Cookie Recipe

Homemade Sugar cookie Recipe makes a soft and chewy cookie with delicate crispy edges that taste like it's bathed in vanilla and butter!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Servings 28
Author Julie Menghini

Ingredients

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter unsalted and softened
  • cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt omit if using salted butter

Browned Butter Glaze

Garnish

  • ¼ sugar
  • sprinkles

Instructions

Sugar Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper. and put 1/4 cup of white sugar in a small bowl. (garnish)
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix softened butter for 2 minutes on medium-high until lightened in color and fluffy. Add sugar and mix on medium-high for an additional 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Add the egg, vanilla, and water. Mix until combined and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together. Turn the mixer on low and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The dough will be sticky but manageable.
  • Put 1/4 cup of white sugar in a small bowl. (garnish). Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls and then roll in the sugar. Place the dough on the baking sheet, 6 to a pan. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes while you scoop your second sheet.
  • Remove the frozen cookie dough in the preheated oven. Let bake for 6 minutes. The cookies will start to pouf up.
  • Using oven mitts, reach in the oven and pick up the pan a couple of inches off the oven rack. Either let it drop or as I did, lightly bang it against the oven rack. Let the dough bake another 2 minutes and bang it again. Let the dough bake another 1 to 2 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and bang the pan one more time.
  • Keeping the cookies on the baking sheet, let the cookies cool completely. Keeping them on the pan will help them firm up. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the browned butter glaze.

Browned Butter Glaze

    Notes

    The originator of this recipe is The Fresh Cooky and developed by Sarah Kieffer in her cookbook, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, her gastronomic creation of the Pan Banging Chocolate Chip Cookie
    • Make sure your ingredients are all at room temperature.
    • Whipping butter isn’t just mixing butter. You want it light and fluffy which usually takes at least 2 minutes at medium-high speed using your electric mixer. It will lighten in color. I’ve included a photo for you.
    • Give your oven plenty of time to preheat. I start mine before I begin mixing my dough.
    • Whisk dry ingredients together. Have you ever bitten into a cookie and tasted salt? The baker skipped this step. Sad face inserted here.
    • You literally have to bang this pan while the cookies are baking. Make sure your oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven and that you don’t have any racks above the middle one. That helps prevent burns to your hands and arms.
    • I used a medium-sized cookie scoop which makes a two-tablespoon cookie. You could use a large scoop (3 tablespoons) but that’s overkill in my opinion.
    • Fill cookie sheets with only 6 cookies. You want your cookies to have plenty of room to spread (bang) out.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 136mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
    This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
    Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!
    Recipe Rating




    Jennifer Stewart

    Tuesday 18th of August 2020

    Nothing better than a sugar cookie IMO! I love making these and giving them as gifts!

    Julie Menghini

    Tuesday 18th of August 2020

    Thank you! These cookies were so fun to make.

    Molly

    Monday 17th of August 2020

    These look delicious! Don't forget to credit Sarah Keiffer, though.

    Here is the blurb that Kathleen included in her recipe.

    "This clever process was developed by Sarah Kieffer in her cookbook, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, her gastronomic creation of the Pan Banging Chocolate Chip Cookie has taken the internet by storm and now others are creating pan banging cookies of their own. Like this incredible Pan Banging Sugar Cookie inspired by Sarah, but reinvented into a sugar cookie by Sprinkles for Breakfast. I’ve altered her recipe to adapt to my tastes and for altitude!"

    Julie Menghini

    Tuesday 18th of August 2020

    You're correct Molly! I've updated my post and given credit where due.

    Nicole Johnson

    Wednesday 11th of December 2019

    I have never heard of this kind of cookie before, but I'm SO GLAD that I read this post! They look incredible, and sugar cookies are my favorite!

    Julie Menghini

    Thursday 12th of December 2019

    Thank you, Nicole! I hadn't either but will be making them again next week!

    Erin Parker

    Wednesday 11th of December 2019

    I had NO IDEA they were called Pan Banging Sugar Cookies because of this, but my goodness, I'm going to follow this technique moving forward because these are perfect. And with that glaze, too... swoon! Well done!

    Julie Menghini

    Thursday 12th of December 2019

    Thank you Erin! They're so good!

    Debi

    Monday 9th of December 2019

    These so so interesting. I can't wait to try them.

    Julie Menghini

    Monday 9th of December 2019

    Thanks, Debi!