Monday, February 2, 2009

Fortune Cookies

I hosted a Chinese New Year party a few days ago and thought it would be fun to make my own fortune cookies. These are surprisingly easy to make. From what I could tell, they were a hit. (If they hadn't been, I would have had a picture to post with this since I forgot to take a picture before the party started.)

Fortune Cookies
2 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp water

1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter a cookie sheet. Write fortunes on strips of paper about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Generously grease 2 cookie sheets.
2. Mix the egg white and vanilla and almond extracts until foamy but not stiff. Sift the flour, salt, and sugar and blend into the egg white mixture. Add water.
3. Place teaspoonfuls of the batter at least 4 inches apart on a 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. Fold in half again and place it in a muffin tin or egg carton to hold the shape until firm.

Make 20 cookies

Lessons Learned: Since I have no idea how to fold fortune cookies like the prepackaged ones at Chinese take-out places, I simply folded these in half and then in half again. I printed fortunes from a site I found on Google, then cut them into thin strips.
I beat the eggs until they almost formed peaks. Then I folded in the other ingredients. You'll lose a lot of the volume from the whipped eggs, but that doesn't seem to affect the final product. The original recipe did not call for water, but I found that adding it decreased the cake-iness of the cookie. I like my fortune cookies crisp.
You must work fast. The cookies took about six minutes to bake, with me turning the sheet once during baking. You'll know they're done when the edges have turned a medium brown color. Do just four at a time. Otherwise, the cookies will harden before you get the fortunes in them. I folded the cookies and put each one in a metal muffin tin cup to help then hold their shape until they cooled. You'll need to grease the cookie sheet for each batch.
I couldn't get the middles completely hard and the sugar in the cookie can stick to the paper, so it might be best to use something other than printer paper for the fortunes.

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