When Fortune knocks, open the door, they say.
But why should one make Fortune knock, by keeping the door shut?
~Idries Shah (Caravan of Dreams)~
Now, my ‘fortune’ started at my SIL’s place when she hosted the yearly family reunion celebrating the New Year. I happened to grab one of the mags lying on a magazine rack. I flipped through the pages quickly as lunch was about to be served. There was this page that bewitched me. It was in Dutch. I stopped a little longer and then I took my iPhone and took a snapshot of the pages. They were 2 blurry pages. My SIL saw my action.
“Oh-oh… now what?”
She said, “Stop! I can do better. I will print the pages for you”
Phew! That was a close one…
So yes, my SIL printed the pages for me and in colour prints on A4. What a relief I did not have to squint my eyes reading the small prints on my iPhone.
Curious to know what my SIL printed for me?
Well, my fortune cookies, of course!
What did my Fortune tell me?
Go make more fortunes! Ha ha ha…
Seriously? Well, I’ve been wanting to make the cookies for a long time.
The exact origin of fortune cookies is rather vague. There are 3 claimants who claimed they invented or founded the cookie, however, to this day, the debate on the real founder is still on-going. Contrary to popular belief, the cookies were not invented in China (as rumoured). It’s an American thing, created by Asian immigrants in either the LA or SF areas, migrated from Hong Kong or Japan, depending on which crystal ball you want to believe in. LOL!
Whatever or wherever the origin came from, I see it as part of an entertainment, an ice-breaker or simply, a gift! (Hint: Mother’s Day is up next … ;-))
When I left my previous job more than a decade ago, I distributed about 50 store-bought fortune cookies much to the curiosity and delight of my former colleagues. It was something to remember by and a great way to stay engaged even if it was my last day. Cool!
Oh by the way, I met up with some of my ex-colleagues recently, one of whom I have not met since I left “Coy P” in 2003! It was good meeting and catching up with them ~ a very international reunion with 6 different nationalities out of 8 that Friday evening!
We went to a Thai restaurant, so no, there were no fortune cookies 🙂
Now I get my fortune cookie when I am at a Chinese restaurant. You can tell the fortune cookies are mass-produced. Identical in size, shape, texture and taste. You will also notice that the pastry is pretty thick, like so …
With the recipe my SIL printed out for me, I wanted to surprise myself that I, too, can make these cookies in the comfort of my own kitchen. By the way, it looked damn easy on paper ~ but oh dear ~ the actual execution was near to disaster. The recipe yields 10, ten-centimeter diameter cookies. I wanted 6 cookies which I wanted to bring to a small gathering the next day. Did I manage to get 6 fortune cookies? We’ll see…
Ingredients (with some modifications)
(Makes 10 fortune cookies)
- 36 g egg white (room temperature)
- 30 g superfine sugar
- Pinch sea salt (ground in pestle and mortar)
- Zest of 1 lime
- 55 g APF
- 28.35 g melted butter
Decoration (optional – my own addition )
- Poppy seeds
- White sesame seeds
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 deg C (Note: Different ovens work differently. Frankly, this was more a trial-and-error. Cfr my verdict at the end of this post)
- Whisk the egg white until frothy
- Add sugar and whisk until smooth and glossy
- Add salt and lime zest. Whisk to combine
- Add flour. Whisk until the batter is smooth and lump-free
- Add melted butter and whisk for the last time
- Draw three 10 cm circles on a parchment or baking paper. Make sure to turn the paper pencil side down with the circles still visible on the reverse side
- Scoop about 3/4 Tbsp of the batter and spread it to follow the pattern of the circle on the baking sheet. Make sure to even out the thickness of the batter with the back of a spoon or a flat butter knife or even a fish knife
- Do not rush to bake the cookies. Make 3 at a time. Trust me, that’s plenty to keep you busy! Bake the cookies for 6 to 8 minutes. Seriously, the baking time depends on the type of oven you own. (Note, you need to work very fast as the cookie will crisp up and become brittle in no time at all)
- Insert a fortune in a cookie and ply the cookie in half immediately. Hold the cookie at both ends and gently curve the centre of the long straight side of the cookie on the edge of a cup or glass and transfer it to a muffin tin to hold the shape until it cools.
- Repeat the process until the batter is used up completely
- If the cookie is not crispy or under-cooked, crisp it up by baking in a low heat oven for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are satisfied with the texture.
My verdict : I made 10 cookies, but I managed to salvage 6 – yes, on target !! I must confess, though, that the execution was not as easy as it sounded or looked on paper! The first 3 cookies that went in the oven first were a complete disaster – not the taste – but the cookies were not pliable at all. They crisped up and turned out to be crunchy as they were, round thin cookies! BUT, they were delicious! I was so happy I added lime zest and sprinkled some poppy seeds and white sesame seeds. My younger son, was waiting nearby like a mindless eating machine, preying for the failed cookies. Mine! Mine! Mine! And failed, I did – 4 out of 10 times! To be honest, the failure stats would have been higher. To overcome subsequent failures, I purposely under-baked the cookies first, and then took them out of the oven and placed a fortune in the cookie and started plying and folding to form the shape of a fortune cookie. Once done, I re-baked them in the oven to crisp them up. The cookies were soft when they were still hot. Re-shaping the cookie was a must and then immediately nesting each cookie in a muffin cavity. I brought the 6 cookies for a birthday gathering the next day for lunch. I was quite disappointed that the cookie was not as crispy as I wanted it to be (btw, that’s the honest verdict from the cookie I ate that afternoon). I’m sure the other girls were too polite not to mention about some of the calamities…(?) I thought, the cookies could do with more re-baking time. After all, it was my maiden attempt in making fortune cookies and for such an “important” function *wink*.Now, there’s someone else who’s waiting for these cookies …My SIL! I promised her that I would make these when it is our turn to host the family reunion, total 17 pax (including 4 kids)! And that’ll be this summer!!! Fingers crossed for success.
I’m linking this post to #CookBlogShare: May 3-9, hosted by Snap Happy Bakes
Happy Mid Week!