With Chinese New Year approaching, it seemed like the perfect time to learn how to make homemade fortune cookies. As usual, Pinterest made this look deceptively simple so I pulled up one of the recipes that claimed it was SO EASY. As I read through the instructions, I realized that the process was, of course, more complicated than I had been led to believe, but the kicker was that although you only had to bake them for 5-6 minutes, you could only do one or two at a time because otherwise they would cool too quickly and break before you were able to shape them.
Do the math with me. 5 minutes for every 2 cookies, plus one minute for placing the fortune and shaping the cookie and another minute for prepping the next batch for the oven (these numbers assume MAXIMUM efficiency). That means to make one and a half dozen cookies (the standard amount from one batch) it would take 9 (the dozen and a half total cookies divided by 2 since we can bake 2 at a time) times 7 minutes = 63 minutes. And that’s just BAKING time. Never mind all the mixing and prep work ahead of time plus the cooling time afterwards.
I’m a busy working mom! Where was I going to find well over an hour to bake fortune cookies? And why would I when I could go buy a whole bag at the store in under 10 minutes? There had to be a more efficient way. Since up until you bake them, it’s basically like making crepes, I decided to try making them like pancakes. This way, I was could make up to 8 at a time instead of just 2.
My friend Liz laughed at me for attempting this. She figured it would take hours to figure it out and work out all the kinks. Well, HAHA Liz! Though I did lose the first half of the batch as I struggled to find the right technique and did burn the tips of all my fingers, I was able to perfect the system in well under an hour. I was going to post some pics of my failures as a consolation prize for you but my family ate them all before I got the chance. Apparently homemade fortune cookies really taste better.
For the base recipe, I used one I found on I Wash, You Dry. Her pictures for preparing the batter and shaping the cookie are excellent so if you want a step-by-step please check out her post. I followed her recipe to the letter (it is the same one you will find all over the net, with only slight variations here and there) up until it came time to do something with the prepared batter.
Instead of using a cookie sheet, I turned on my griddle. Then, I spooned a generous spoonful of batter onto the griddle and spread it in a larger circle using the back of the spoon. Keep the griddle on the lowest heat possible or the batter will cook too quickly, preventing you from spreading it thin enough and into a large enough circle. I waited one minute and then spooned another circle of batter beside the first. One minute later, I did another one. You want to wait one minute in between each so that you have time to pull each one off, insert the fortune, and fold and shape the cookie.
The trickiest part is that you have to flip the first one before you’ve filled up the griddle since you only want to cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side. As you remove cookies to fill, fold, and shape, you can continue to fill in the empty space so that once you fill the griddle (mine accomodated 8 at a time), you can keep it filled until you run out of batter.
When you remove a cookie from the griddle, lay it on a cutting board and set the fortune in the middle. Fold the cookie in half. Then, gripping each side of the now semi-circle, bend the cookie over the rim of a mug to achieve the fortune cookie shape and set the folded cookie in a muffin tin cup to hold its shape until it has cooled completely. Again, the photos at I Wash, You Dry are great if you want a better visual aid for these steps.
- 2 egg whites
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 3 T vegetable oil
- ½ cup flour
- 1½ tsp corn starch
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 T water
- Print and cut out fortunes.
- Set out cutting board, mug, muffin tin and fortunes in a workspace on your counter.
- In a large bowl combine egg whites, vanilla, almond and oil. Beat until frothy.
- In a separate bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the water and mix until you form a thick and pasty dough.
- Slowly add the frothy egg whites to the thick and pasty dough, and mix until the dough becomes soupy.
- Turn on griddle, set heat to low.
- Spoon a generous spoonful of dough onto the griddle and use the back of the spoon to spread the dough into a thin circle.
- Wait one full minute between laying out the batter for the next cookie.
- Cook each circle for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Circle will be lightly golden on each side.
- Remove fully cooked circle to the cutting board.
- Place fortune in center of the circle, then fold circle in half.
- Holding each side of the semi-circle, fold over the side of a mug and immediately place in muffin tin cup to cool.