Monday, February 4, 2013

Homemade Fortune Cookies

Chinese New Year is Sunday, February 10.  This week will feature three Asian-style recipes you can make this weekend.


Admit it.  The fortune cookies you get at the end of your Chinese restaurant meal aren't all that tasty.  If you're lucky, they taste like vanilla cardboard.  And if you're not so lucky, well, they're just...bad.  The good news is that they aren't very hard to make at home.  It's just a quick batter, baked and wrapped around hand-written fortunes or silly sayings.

Fortune cookies, while not complicated, can be just a little tricky to make.  Here are a few tips:
  • I found that using parchment paper for these works better than a silicone mat, a greased pan or a pan lined with foil. 
  • Tilting the pan in a circular motion seems to work better than trying to spread the batter with the back of a spoon.
  • Wearing cotton or silicone gloves makes it easier to handle and shape the hot cookies. 
  • Setting the folded cookies in the cups of a muffin tin will help them to hold their shape until the cool and become firm. 
  • You may want to make two batches, because you'll finally get the hang of shaping these by the end of the first batch.
Begin by writing fortunes on 3-1/2 inch by  x 1/2 inch strips of paper, then follow the recipe.

Homemade Fortune Cookies

2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons oil of choice (something with neutral flavor)
1/2 cup flour (probably best to use white flour in these)
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons water

Heat oven to 300°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla and almond extracts, and oil until frothy, but not stiff.

In a separate boil the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar. Stir the water into the flour mixture.

Add the flour and water mixture into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should pour or drop easily off a wooden spoon.

Place level tablespoons of batter onto the lined cookie sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Gently tilt the baking sheet in a circular motion so that each tablespoon of batter forms a 4-inch circle.

Bake until the outer edges of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (14 - 15 minutes).  

Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand*. Place a fortune in the middle of a cookie. To form the fortune cookie, fold the cookie in half, then gently pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass, wooden spoon or the edge of a muffin tin. Place the finished cookie in the cup of the muffin tin until cooled.

Continue with the rest of the cookies and batter.

Makes 9-12 fortune cookies.

* Flipping and placing the fortune on the side that was touching the pan results in a better looking cookie, IMO.
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