Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cooking: Fortune Cookies

A few weeks ago, one of the departments in my company became inundated with projects that had moved down the conveyor belt to their desks and all the folks in that department were suddenly up to their ear lobes with paperwork and books and e-mails ever-so-politely requesting status updates on particularly gnarly projects (some of which MAY have come from yours truly). Part good wishing, part joke, part peace offering, I made the whole gang a batch of personalized fortune cookies.

I'd been rarin' for an excuse to make these cookies ever since I saw it while flipping through a back-issue of Cooking Light at The Engineer's mom's house. They looked like such fun to make, relatively easy, and healthy to boot. All these predictions turned out to be true, but I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with the actual cookie itself. While the cookie part of a fortune cookie is really just a clever vehicle for the afore-mentioned fortune, I still think the cookie should be worth snacking on. These cookies certainly tasted like Chinese restaurant cookies, but had none of the satisfying snap that comes when you crack it in half or the melty crunch of actually eating it. My cookies stayed relatively limp and chewy--interesting, to be sure, but not *quite* what I was going for. I'm wondering if a different mixing technique might be in order. Any suggestions?

Here's the recipe--por favor, give it a try and let me know your thoughts:

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Fortune Cookies
with grateful acknowledgement to Cooking Light magazine

Makes roughly 18 cookies

1/2 c. bread flour

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract (almond or orange extract might be yummy too!)

2 large egg whites

20 fortunes (a few extra just in case) roughly 3 inches long by 1/2 high

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Combine all ingredients and mix until well blended. You should have a thin batter similar in consistency to icing or glaze (mine was just a bit thinner than pancake batter). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.

2. While batter is chilling, cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass about 3 inches in diameter, trace three or four circles in a row along the middle of the paper. Turn paper over.

3. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of batter into the center of each circle and use the back of the teaspoon to spread the batter evenly over the entire circle.

4. Bake one sheet at a time for about 5 minutes or until the edges of the cooks are just started to get brown and crinkly. Remove from oven.

5. Use a spatula to release the cookies from the baking sheet. (Don't afraid to be tough.)

6. Working quickly and doing one cookie at a time, place the prepared fortune along the center of the cookie. Lay the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick along the fortune and fold the cookie over so the edges meet over the spoon handle. Press edges together. Remove spoon.

7. Pull the ends of the cookie down over the rim of a small bowl. Hold for a few seconds until set and then place cookie on a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining baked cookies.

8. Repeat entire procedure until all the batter is used. Store in an air tight container.

Calories: 37; Fat: 0.1 g; Protein: 0.9g; Fiber: 0.1g; Chol 0 mg; Iron 0.2 mg; Calcium 1 mg

5 comments:

suebelle said...

OMG! What a fun idea -- I'm totally going to think up some personal, but whacky fortunes for my friend's 8-year-old son -- he's going to LOVE this!

Joel said...

No way! I thought there was some kind of law against making fortune cookies in Massachusetts. I'd like to see this worked into some sort of element of our weekly pictionary routine. I'm very impressed, and suddenly have a craving for fortunte cookies. I've always wished that unlocking the magic of an oreo could bring some kind of good fortune.

Angelina said...

Since the main wet ingredient is egg whites I wonder if you could get a crispier result by treating the cookies a little bit like you would have to treat meringues? After shaping them and cooking them, what about putting them back into the oven again at a much lower temperature? Like 200 maybe, to dry them out. I know that egg whites can be chewy when they are at all exposed to moisture in the air. The trick is to dry them out gently, then keep them in a dry atmosphere.

I love fortune cookies! That seems like a really fun project.

Emma C said...

Angelina, that's an excellent suggestion! I wonder if it would burn the edges of the paper? Or maybe at a low heat, it wouldn't be an issue...mmmm...experimentation (and oven supervision) required, me thinks. Oh, how I wish I had two ovens so I could bake and dry at the same time. *sigh*

Angelina said...

I can't even tell you how many times I have wished I had two ovens. Instead of having lascivious fantasies involving muscular men (ick) I have fantasies of having my very own commercial kitchen with huge six burner ranges and double ovens with... oh, you get the picture.

Anyway, I don't think the paper will burn at such a low heat, but I think you're right to supervise it. I hope that does the trick! As soon as I'm done with canning season I hope to do a bunch of baking. This recipe seems so promising.