Fortune Cookies

The perfect way to send passive aggressive messages, liven up drinking games, or add a yummy twist to key parties. If you aren’t into any of that, I guess birthday wishes, love notes, affirmations, etc. would work just as well. Square.

When my sister and I made these years ago, we had found the recipe in YM magazine (another one of my misguided attempts to fit in) and easily manifested what could be considered an acceptable batch. Around 15 years later, I have come to appreciate how much our parents’ kitchen had to do with that. Mom didn’t get her baking sheets from the dollar store, and they didn’t warp as soon as they got hot.   Mom had vanilla extract and not stolen flavored  creamer. The burners on mom’s stove didn’t turn red when the oven was on. We had it good.

Technically, I have the right tools for the job. Nevermind that my warping dollar store baking sheets mutate perfectly round pools of batter into disfigured bean shapes.  And my oven? It behaves like an old car. You know the ones… they require verbal coddling and maybe a jiggle or kick to work properly and not burn the house down (see my guide to relationships for similar tips & tricks). Finding out that the burners get hot when the oven is in use was unpleasant to say the least. I use those metal burner covers to protect the coils, and it seems that the paint on them doesn’t do well with extreme heat. One minute I’m loading a pan of veggies to roast, the next minute I’m bashing the smoke alarm with a broomstick and the cat is freaking out.

My hideous bean-shaped batter puddles didn’t cook as evenly as they would have on a perfectly flat baking sheet. If your sheets are better than mine (and I guarantee they are), you shouldn’t have the same problem. Your prime directive is to make the teaspoon of batter into a perfect, thinly and evenly spread circle. If there is more batter in the middle than on the sides or if the circle is too thick, the cookie will end up cakey and soggy rather than thin and crispy. It will taste the same, though the uneven texture is kind of a downer.

The original recipe calls for vanilla extract, but my limit of 2 non-condiment ingredients had already been reached with the flour and egg. Besides, vanilla extract isn’t used enough in general to make my short list of kitchen staples (flour, eggs, oil, etc.). Standing in for 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract: half of a  non-dairy hazelnut creamer (1 tablespoon). The flavor ended up being subltle but noticeable. I’m sure any of the other varieties could be used. Go nuts with it.

In the category of things I should have known but didn’t: egg whites won’t get foamy if beaten in a plastic bowl. I tried it in a Pyrex measuring cup and had exactly what I wanted within a couple of minutes, whereas my entire Saturday night was spent cursing at a puddle  of watery egg whites that wouldn’t stay foamy for more than a few seconds.

Fortune Cookies (makes 8 )

3″ x 1/2″  paper slips for fortunes

1 egg white (save that yolk for mayandaise!)

1/4 cup flour

1/8 tsp. (1/2 packet) salt

1/4 cup (24 packets) sugar

1 tbsp. (1/2 tub) flavored non-dairy creamer

  • In a glass bowl, beat egg white until foamy but not stiff (stiff being defined as keeping it’s shape when the wisk or fork is pulled out… aka “peaking”)
  • Stir in sugar, flour, salt, and creamer until the batter is smooth and lump-free
  • Drop one teaspoon of batter for each cookie onto a greased baking sheet (I recommend 2-3 at a time until you get fast with folding)
  • :Pick the  baking sheet up by the edges and tilt to shape the batter puddles into thin, even circles
  • Bake at 400 for 3-5 minutes until there is a 1/2″ golden brown ring around the edge
  • Remove from the oven and immediately peel the cookie off the sheet, flipping it so that the smooth top is facing the sheet and the bottom is facing up

Cookie folding (move fast… they cool and become unworkable in about 30 seconds):

  • Place the fortune or object in the center of the cookie and fold the cookie in half, gently pressing the edges together
  • Holding the corners of the folded cookie, push them together on the side of the crease (alternate method: rest the folded edge on a glass or cup and pull each corner down so that one touches the inside of the cup and the other touches the outside)
  • Allow cookie to cool/dry and serve

The fortunes/fillings:

  • If you are typing your fortunes, a 10pt. font works best
  • Experiment with objects like jewelry, small toys, and other tchotckes
  • Try fillings  like Nutella or pastry cream

Need something original for a special occasion?  Try making a larger cookie in a round cake pan and fill it with a gift card rather than a fortune.

Don’t be shy about sending it to me.  😉