Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fortune Factory

Fortune Cookies

As a child I always wondered how those lovely fortunes came to be inside those little fortune cookies. A lady at the local Chinese restaurant would always plonk a bowlful of them in the middle of our lazy susan after each dinner and we would proceed to crack open the cookies to see what our fortunes would bring. Not that our family ever took such superstition to heart, what interested me more than the fortune itself was the baffling question as to how they got inside those cookies in the first place.

When you are seven, these are the worst of your quandaries. It was one of those mysteries that just stump you as a kid, much like the mystery of how the fridge light knew when you were going to open the fridge door so it could turn the light on. Was there a little man in there responsible for turning the light on whenever you opened the door, and if so how come we never saw him? How did this man come to be so stealthy and nimble inside the cold fridge? Questions abounded and so did confusion and possibly this is fodder for a future post but strangely, these were the kinds of questions that plagued my mind as a child, and although the man in the fridge question still begs to be answered I am glad to be able to tick this particular one off the list.

Fortune Cookie

So how exactly do those fortunes come to be inside the cookies? Well it is by no means from any sort of magic or conjuring, no cute little elves, no Smurfs or Smurfettes; unfortunately there is no legend to be told for getting the fortunes in, someone simply puts it in there. What a way to ruin such romantic and fanciful aspirations for grander explanations. It probably doesn’t compare to the horror you would receive after telling a kid Santa or the Tooth Fairy isn’t real, but what a way to destroy my mythical fancies.

However, this apparently logical and somewhat clinical explanation still hasn't quenched my love for the fortune cookie. The thrill of getting a fortune still excites me. It’s the surprise lurking inside and the anticipation of what I will receive that is the exciting thing. It’s not up there with the exhilaration of say bungee-jumping or swimming with sharks but hey, it is the small pleasures that make this life.

Fortune Cookies

So maybe I have been making too many fortune cookies; spouting words of wisdom and eloquent revelations really don’t come too naturally. I don’t think these cookies can ever turn your luck, but make them yourself and count it lucky that you were able to do so. Although time consuming, they are actually a lot of fun to make and a great present for someone who needs a bit of good cheer. So let the good fortune begin, here is the recipe.

Fortune Cookies
(makes 15 cookes)
recipe from the diva herself

Fortune Cookie

5 tbsp unsalted butter
4 large egg whites
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup plain all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
non-stick cooking spray

Preaheat oven to 200°C. Spray a baking sheet with some non-stick cooking spray.
Melt butter in a small sucepan over low heat, set aside.
Using an electric mixer, in a bowl, combine egg whites and sugar and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Add flour and salt and continue to beat until just combined.
Add the melted butter, heavy cream, vanilla or almond extract and mix until combined.
Pour 1 tbsp of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, using the back of spoon, spread the batter into a a thing 5 inch circle. Repeat this on the other side of the baking sheet.
Bake for about 6-8 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Make sure to only bake 2 at a time as they will make folding them easier.
Remove from oven. Working as quickly and carefully as possible, lift one cookie off the sheet.

Place a fortune onto the centre of the cookie and fold it in half, pinching the top together to form a semi-circle.
Hold the cookies with both hands at each end and using the edge of a bowl as a guide, bending the two ends together, over the bowl's edge. This whole process should take about 10 seconds.
Place the fortune cookie on the kitchen towel to cool, and shape the second cookie.
Repeat until all the batter is used up. To speed up the process, bake four cookies at a time, staggering two cookie sheets by 4 minutes to give you time to shape.
Alternatively you can thread the fortune through the cookie when it has cooled to achieve a different look.

Opened fortune cookie

These Fortune Cookies are for Sugar High Friday #23; hosted this month by the amazing Alana of A Veggie Venture. Check out the other surprises at the round up coming soon.


the fortune factory at work...


Anonymous said...

I have been known to buy a box of fortune cookies just to read those little papers. You're right, the recipe in itself is not difficult, but ou need dexterity to put the whole thing together. It sure took me a couple (more) to get it right. Beautiful entry to SHF!

May said...

Wow! DIY fortune cookies. That is so cool. I think they'd make great Christmas gifts. Do they keep well or does one have to eat them soon after preparation?

Erielle said...

I just realized I have everything in my kitchen that I would need to make these cookies. I love it when that happens!
I also just realized that at this moment I lack the inspiration for the fortunes. Another day...
Thanks for letting us know that fortune cookies can be made by home cooks. I never would have suspected that you didn't need magical powers.

Anonymous said...

Ah JenJen, what a clever idea! They look divine!

Anonymous said...

what a great surprise SHF entry!
Original! and I love the spells - very nice and wise. did you come up with those all yourself? =)

Anonymous said...

wow those are so beautiful! i have always wanted to make them, thx for the recipe :)

Anonymous said...

They are just too cool and cute! P.S. As someone with terrible handwriting, I love the script on your fortunes...

Anonymous said...

They taste so much better when you make them yourself, don't they? I like to add a little almond extract to mine, it gives them a really nice flavor. Mine never look as beautiful and perfect as yours do though.

Anonymous said...

hi i stumbled upon your blog. lovely food pics u have here :) im a foodie myself too and its great to know likeminded ppl. take care!

Alanna Kellogg said...

Hi JenJen ~ what a trick, the fortune cookies! Do you know the old party-game trick of ending each fortune with "between the sheets"? It nearly always creates a big extra chuckle! Try it with yours!! Thanks so much for the entry for Sugar High Friday, Surprise Inside. Look for the round-up of (yes, surprising!) reciped later today. Alanna

Alpineberry Mary said...

When I was in elementary school, we would walk by a fortune cookie shop on the way home. I can still recall the sweet fragrance of the the cookies in the air. And I liked watching the 'fortune cookie ladies' stuff and fold the cookies at lightning speed. Great entry!

Anonymous said...


You are just too precious and talented!

I love the fortune cookies!

Brilynn said...

This is a great idea! Who wouldn't want to receive homemade fortune cookies?

Georgia said...

Oh I love fortune cookies and have always wanted to make them myself - beautiful beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Ooooo! I cannot wait to make these! Decades ago I had a Betty Crocker recipe book for kids, and I enjoyed its fortune cookie recipe. This one looks even better!

One little question: The ingredient list says to use Vanilla extract but the instruction below it reference Almond extract. Which is it? Or both? Hmmmm....

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a very clever use of the theme.

Jen said...

Helene- I did manage to waste a few cookies as that I was not quick enough in folding them. Although this wasn't a problem as I just ate them : )

May- These ones probably only keep for a few days, although they are never around that long for me to find out.

Erielle- I think you will definitely need the motivation to make fortune cookies as that when you start, you must commit to making the whole batch. It is very rewarding but there are a lot of steps before you get to the final product.

Bea- thanks so much!

Julia- yes and no; some were quotes from a photography book and some I did make up myself.

Aria- no problem, have fun making them!

Anita- thanks, I always write with my favourite pen. It makes my handwriting look better than it actually is.

Natalia- there were a few dud cookies that unfortunately didn't make the final cut. The recipe did call for almond extract but I didn't have any at the time so I used vanilla.

Evan- thanks for visiting, and i'm glad you liked it.

Ak- hey that is hillarious. a fun game to try for future parties!

Mary- I have yet to reach lightning speed, i'm more at a snail's pace. Maybe after a few more attempts : )

Ivonne- you are too kind, thanks so much!

Brilynn- you're right. I would gladly receive some of these cookies if ever they were given as a gift.

Georgia- thank you, they are indeed great little inventions aren't they?

Kelly- I'm so sorry about that. I wavered between
including both or either one, as that the recipe called for almond but I used vanilla as I didn't have any almond. It still worked out with vanilla.
Essentially you can use either one. I've fixed the post, so thanks for noticing the error.

Peabody- I tried to come up with something a little bit left field but still within the theme. This was the only thing I could think of so thanks : )

lobstersquad said...

As a good friend of mine says, I can deal with Santa and the Tooth Fairy, it´s the storks not really bringing babies that rattles me.
Really lovely post.

Anonymous said...

This is so cool....thanks for sharing and putting an end to the mystery. If we make up our own fortunes and cookies, they might work out better too LOL....

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Emma said...

Thanks for your entry to DMBLGIT - have a look at all the entries here.

Lovely! I think I might just make some for my Mother's birthday this weekend!