Long ago and far away, I had a friend who threw a bachelor party for one of his friends in San Francisco. He arranged for the Bachelor Dinner in what was then the finest of the Chinese restaurants in the Bay area and the dinner was exquisite (or so he told me). The dessert came, and along with the dessert and dessert wines were the traditional fortune cookies in a huge bowl.
The bowl was presented to the groom who was instructed to open one. He did, and blushed and stammered as everyone yelled and screamed to read it aloud. He did. It said: If contemplating marriage, DON’T!
Well, you can just image the raucous comments and the laughter, until someone said: Open another and so the groom did. It said: If contemplating marriage, DON’T. Well, there were 100 fortune cookies in that bowl, specially ordered and made, all with the exact same ‘fortune’ inside.
The Fortune Cookie (like Chop Suey) is an American invention, not Chinese at all. It was created in Los Angeles where baker and restaurant owner David Jung, originally from Canton, China, began making cookies with thin slips of paper inside. This was somewhere around 1920. He founded the Hong Kong Noodle company which produced over 3,000 fortune cookies an HOUR in the 1920’s! WOW!!!
Have you ever wondered how the fortune gets inside the fortune cookies? It’s not hard, and I am going to give you the recipe for them and tell you how to do this! The recipe makes 20 cookies so if you need less, you will have some extras. If you need more, of course, double the recipe! You will have to work fast because once they come out of the oven, they crisp quickly. This is a great thing for the older kids when they get bored…and will make a fun party dessert or take home treat!
And you can be your own Confucius!
Tip from the Toque: This recipe is given in ounces instead of cups for the flour and sugar. Please use you kitchen scale for these. It will make a difference in the texture and crispness of these cookies. In fact, most baked goods are better this way and professional bakers use scales to weigh their ingredients to be both accurate and consistent.
- 8 oz. flour
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 4 oz. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 egg whites
- 4 oz. vegetable oil (not olive oil)
- 1 tsp. water
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300. Set aside and close to you, a muffin pan. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease one well.
Prepare fortunes by writing them on about 20 strips of paper. See TIPS below. They will be a big help in forming the cookies.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Stir in the oil, egg whites water and vanilla. On the parchment or well-greased baking sheet, roll a very thin, 4” circle and dough. If there is room on the baking sheet for another 4” circle, make it. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Remove ONE cookie at a time from the oven with a wide spatula. Work quickly through the following 4 steps:
- Flip cookie onto cotton gloved hand
- Hold fortune in center of pliable cookie while folding cookie in half.
- Grasp ends of cookie & draw gently down over edge of muffing pan to crease at center of cookie.
- Fit cookie into muffin pan (points down) to hold shape as it cools and sets the shape.
If the cookie hardens too quickly, return to the oven for about a minute to soften.
Continue until all the cookies are made.
- You may need 2 or more muffin pans depending on their capacity, for 20 cookies.
- Cotton “kitchen” gloves are inexpensive and obtainable at any kitchen equipment store, Smart & Final®, etc.
- Be sure the spatula you use is wide enough to hold the 4” cookie. If it droops off the side, it may break off.