Who doesn't love fortune cookies? They are simple in flavor, nice and crunchy, and growing up I always collected and kept those little fortunes inside. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area I didn't know just how close I was to the famous little cookies.
Little history, the fortune cookie is from California. Since it's common to get after a meal in a Chinese restaurant, many think it's from China but it actually was created in the early 1900's either in San Francisco or Los Angeles. There is a debate on who did it first but since I'm from the Bay I always think it's a San Francisco treasure. In a hidden alleyway in Chinatown there's even a little factory that you can visit! My mom discovered it years ago and whenever we go into the City we had to make a stop. Not only can you get a fresh bag of cookies for just a few bucks, they typically will give you a sample and nothing is better than a warm fortune cookie.
Along with my love of this little cookie, one cookbook I loved growing up was based around the holidays. It was a great little book that had desserts for Christmas, Hanukah, and even Kwanzaa. At the end of the book is just a couple recipes for the new year one of which was a little rolled fortune cookie. Years later in college I realized that simple recipe was actually a classic pastry trick. For plated desserts to add a decoration and some crunch we use tuile paste (pronounced like twheel). This simple dough can be spread, stenciled, or piped and then baked into a crunchy cookie and while still how folded into other shapes. For the new year I always like to make a couple of these little things as a nice treat and of course make some homemade fortunes to go inside. Check out the recipe below!
Homemade Fortune Cookies
2 ea. Egg Whites
55g Unsalted Butter, melted
80g All Purpose Flour
100g Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
In a bowl, mix the flour and sugar.
Add the egg whites and vanilla, mix into a stiff dough.
Add the butter slowly and mix into a smooth paste. If any lumps remain, beat until smooth.
Bake in a 400°F oven until edges are slightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.
Remove from oven and fold or roll into a fortune cookie with a message inside.
Allow to cool for a couple minutes before storing in an air tight container.
Okay, so let's talk some tips and tricks. First off number one thing is to only do 1-2 per pan. They cool and firm up fast and you have only a few moments to shape. If you make a pan of say 6 you will not be able to shape them all so take your time. They only bake a few minutes so it's not like you have to wait long. If it firms up too much you can pop it back in the oven for a 30-60 seconds to soften again but this one recipes makes a lot so I don't mind the unshaped cookies to snack on.
When you are shaping into a traditional fortune cookie shape, use a small bowl to hold the shape while you work. After shaping but before it fully cools you can lose the shape a bit so I like to place it into a pinch bowl to hold the shape. You can also use a muffin pan to hold many at once while shaping, especially if you have someone working with you and you each do two on a pan. Once shaped they cool pretty fast so you can pop them into a container or plate them up soon after.
Don't be afraid to use tools to help. These are hot. It's hard. It kind of sucks. I use an offset to remove from the pan then use it to help me shape it. Now I have worked with many hot things and even pulled sugar so my tolerance is higher than the average person but don't worry if you need help. Use what you have to get the results you want. Use the handle of a spatula or spoon to help roll into a nice tube, use an oven mitt to protect your hands, there is no shame in any of that. Don't hurt yourself for these little cookies. You're suppose to have fun.
Last thing I want to say is make a lot of these. Even if you don't shape them, these are so addictive, make a lot and save them. Let them crumble into pieces and put them on ice cream or another dessert. They are so tasty and the best little snack to have so i always make a ton of the dough, bake off as much as I want and then freeze the extra dough to make another day. It's a simple recipe, simple dough, and can be used today, tomorrow, or another day. You can also color it to make it any color for an event or celebration. Have some fun making your own fortunes for your future!