Friday, August 20, 2010

Fortune Cookies

As much as American Chinese restaurants like to make people think that fortune cookies are a part of Chinese culture, they are in fact almost unheard of in China. Fortune cookies really should be considered American culture, for Chinese food. Sometimes after eating in Chinatown, the waitress doesn’t even bother to give my Chinese family fortune cookies and my not-Chinese-born sister has to actually ask the waitress for one.

The actual cookie part of fortune cookies is quite bland; just a sweet hard (or crispy if you’re lucky) cookie. However, there’s something special about opening a cookie and reading a line that makes you feel good, or gives you hope and inspiration. Writing the fortunes on strips of paper is the most fun part of making these cookies. While all the fortune cookies in restaurants tell of good fortune (sometimes in questionable English), my sister and I decided to include some humorous fortunes in our cookies. After all, life isn’t just good luck after good luck; it’s a mixture of fortune and misfortune.

Some fortune cookie recipes ask for butter. They even stress that it cannot be replaced by any other ingredient and that it MUST be butter. Well, I disagree with that. You can make a fine fortune cookie without butter; like I did, and save yourself some saturated fat. In fact, if you use the recipe below to make fortune cookies, your cookies will not have a single milligram of fat. So be guilt free, crack some cookies, and eat up your blessings for a good life! (Just watch out for the cheeky one’s that my sister wrote)


1 egg white
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Write fortunes on strips of paper about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Grease 2 cookie sheets.
2. Mix the egg white and vanilla until foamy but not stiff. Sift the flour, salt, and sugar and blend into the egg white mixture.
3. Place teaspoonfuls of the batter at least 4 inches apart on one of the prepared cookie sheets. Tilt the sheet to move the batter into round shapes about 3 inches in diameter. Be careful to make batter as round and even as possible. Do not make too many, because the cookie have to be really hot to form them and once they cool it is too late. Start with 2 or 3 to a sheet and see how many you can do.
4. Bake for 5 minutes or until cookie has turned a golden color 1/2 inch wide around the outer edge of the circle. The center will remain pale. While one sheet is baking, prepare the other.
5. Remove from oven and quickly move cookie with a wide spatula and place upside down on a wooden board. Quickly place the fortune on the cookie, close to the middle and fold the cookie in half.
6. Place the folded edge across the rim of a measuring cup and pull the pointed edges down, one on the inside of the cup and one on the outside. Place folded cookies into the cups of a muffin tin or egg carton to hold their shape until firm.

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