Fortune cookies are one of those cookies that no one ever seems to eat but you always open them to see your fortune, in case it’s a good one. I always thought that if you like the fortune then you have a morsel at least, in order for it’s words of wisdom to ring true. I recently made my own fortune cookies, because I wanted them to taste better, but also, it’s so much fun writing your own, customized fortunes. If you have writer’s block, you can always consult the I Ching or your favorite astrologer for some inspiration. I recently made this recipe for a home-made fortune cookie segment on Better TV.
Making fortune cookies from scratch is a bit of a process, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll get into a rhythm and you’ll be able to crank them out. Shaping them becomes a meditation. Like most things in life, practice makes perfect. But don’t aim for perfection, no two cookies will be identical and everyone will know you made them by hand. I like to use a combination of orange and almond extract. This gives the cookie a subtle undertone of citrus from the orange and a light sweet essence from the almond. I’m a fan of using arrowroot to achieve the crispy texture found in fortune cookies because it’s an all natural ingredient, however, if all you have is cornstarch you will achieve similar results. If you want to make it easier on yourself to shape the cookies, buy some thin white gloves, which you can find at a photo supply store, they’re often used for photo retouching. I recommend baking no more than 3 cookies at a time because they need to be pliable when you shape them. A timer is especially helpful too, timing is key for these. I set my timer for 4 minutes 30 seconds because by the time I took one baking sheet out and put the next batch in, 30 seconds elapsed and 5 minutes is perfect. Hope you enjoy making these as much as I did!
Homemade Fortune Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies
2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon orange extract
¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons cane sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup all purpose white flour
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder (you can use cornstarch instead)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Adjust a rack to the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400.
Line 2 cookie sheets with silicone baking sheets (or parchment paper)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites with the almond extract and lemon oil until frothy. Stir in the sugar and salt. Then sift in the flour and arrowroot into the sugar, egg white mixture until combined. Stir in the melted butter and mix thoroughly.
2. Working one prepared cookie sheet at a time, spoon a heaping teaspoon of batter. With the back of a spoon, spread the circle out until it is about 4 inches in diameter and very thin. Do only 2 or 3 per sheet because they will need to be formed quickly while the cookies are hot.
3. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Quickly remove from the oven and loosen the round with a spatula. Flip it over, place a small fortune in the center and fold it in half. Then using your thumb and forefinger pinch the sides together. Place into a muffin tin to set. Repeat with all of the batter and store in an airtight container up to a week.
Wearing white gloves will make it easier to shape the cookies.