Homemade fortune cookies (签语饼)

A cute, fun treat for all festive occasions, fortune cookies can be made to your own taste and contain your own personalized wishes and messages inside.

As a native Chinese, I didn’t know the concept of fortune cookies until I left China. I discovered that they are a popular after meal sweet treat which originated from Chinese restaurants in America. Having a sugary taste and a crispy texture, fortune cookies stand out among the ‘cookie family’ for their unique shape and their role as “fortune note” carriers. I often make them for occasions which call for a surprise and a bit of fun. 

Do not over mix the batter

It’s very easy to make the batter for fortune cookies. Egg white, sugar, melted butter and flour are the four basic ingredients. A ballon whisk will do the job (no hand / stand mixer required).

There is one thing I’d like to remind you: after adding in the flour, mix until just combined. That is to say, stop as soon as the flour disappears. Over-mixing would cause the gluten in the flour to form elastic gluten strands. This makes it more difficult to spread the batter into circles and tends to result in a more chewy texture after baking. 

Add your favourite flavour

I don’t particularly like the taste of commercial fortune cookies found in Chinese restaurants. Most of the time, they don’t have much to offer other than sweetness. To make the cookies more appealing you can adjust the volume of sugar and add a little extra of the flavours that you prefer. 

Vanilla extract and almond extract are popular choices. Personally, I like using rose water for this recipe. It gives a subtle floral taste without adding extra sweetness to the cookies. Matcha powder is another great addition for both the taste and the colour. I’ve also tried adding some lemon zest too. 

Make them more attractive

As a big fan of sesame seeds (check out my recipes on Sesame balls and Peanut & sesame brittle), I can’t resist giving my fortune cookies a sesame seed rim. Not only do they make the cookies more attractive, they also enrich the taste with their nutty fragrance. 

Please feel free to be creative when it comes to decorating your fortune cookies. Use cake confetti sprinkles, grated coconut or chopped almond for the rim. If you wish to make them even more festive, why not try dipping baked cookies half way into melted chocolate or painting them with colourful royal icing.

Shape them fast without hesitation

The tricky part of making fortune cookies is to shape them in time. They are firstly baked in circle form, then folded into fortune cookie shape when they are about to go brittle but still pliable. Timing is crucial. If they are too soft (not enough baking time), they tend to tear and won’t hold the shape. If they are over cooked, you can easily snap them while shaping. 

To avoid potential problems, I suggest you keep in mind the following tips:

  • Have all the tools within reach: A spatular to flip over the hot cookies. A mug / glass for shaping them. A muffin tray to hold them in shape while cooling. And of course you need to have all the fortune messages ready!
  • It takes about 7-8 minutes to bake. This may vary depending on the performance of your oven.
  • Observe closely. The cookies are ready to be taken out when you see the edges start to brown.
  • Bake no more than 4 cookies at a time. Shape each cookie quickly without hesitation. If unsure, bake only one or two for the first time to give it a try.

How to keep them crispy

We all love the crispiness of fortune cookies. However, there is a chance that you will find the middle part of your homemade fortune cookies a bit chewy. Either your cookie batter is too thick, or it’s not cooked enough. They might also lose their original crunchiness after a few days (especially if not stored properly). 

Here is the way to overcome this problem: Place the fortune cookies in a preheated oven. Bake them at 130°C / 260°F (Fan 120°C / 250° or Gas 1/2) for 6 minutes or so. This will extract the excess moisture in the cookies but won’t brown them further. 

Be creative with your fortune notes

What I like most about homemade fortune cookies is that I can put any notes I like inside them. Personalized fortune cookies are a great treat for many occasions, such as Chinese new year, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, birthday or any other celebration / gathering. 

I used to make fortune cookies for parties with friends and the notes inside ask people to follow the written instructions, eg. name a person in the party that you would like to dance with! Kids, in particular, enjoy my fortune cookies. I just made some recently for my children as advent calendar surprises.

▼ VIDEO RECIPE

Homemade fortune cookies (签语饼)
Rate this recipe
6 ratings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 16-18 cookies

Homemade fortune cookies (签语饼)

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites (about 100g / 3.5oz)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or other flavouring, see note 1)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 80g / 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Write / print fortune messages that you wish to hide inside the cookies.
  2. Have a baking sheet (If it doesn’t have a non-stick surface, line it with non-stick baking paper / silicon baking mat), a spatular, a mug / glass and a muffin tray at hand.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F (Fan 170°C / 340°F or Gas 4).
  4. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat egg whites and sugar until foamy.
  5. Pour in vanilla extract, melted butter and water. Whip until well incorporated.
  6. Add in flour. Gently mix and stop as soon as a smooth batter forms (do not overly mix).
  7. Pour a tablespoon of batter onto the baking sheet. Spread with the back of the spoon to form a round, thin disc (about 10cm / 4inches in diameter). Sprinkle sesame seeds around the edge of the disc.
  8. Repeat the procedure. Make maximum 4 discs at a time (see note 2).
  9. Transfer the baking sheet into the oven. Bake for 7-8 minutes until the edges brown slightly (see note 3).
  10. Bring the baking sheet out of the oven. Quickly flip a disc over with a spatular. Place a fortune message in the middle. Fold the disc into a semi circle. Then quickly place it onto the rim of the mug. Push the corners down to shape it into a fortune cookie (Please refer to the tutorial video above).
  11. Place it in one of the moulds of the muffin tray to keep it in shape while cooling. Repeat to finish the rest.
  12. Enjoy when the cookies are completely cool. Or store them in an air-tight container for later consumption.
  13. If you find the middle of the cookies are not crispy enough when cooled, or your leftover cookies have lost their crunchiness, bake them in a preheated oven at 130°C / 260°F (Fan 120°C / 250° or Gas 1/2) for 6 minutes or so.

Notes

1. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract can be replaced by 1 teaspoon of rose water, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, or 1/2 teaspoon of matcha powder.

2. After the cookies have been baked, you need to shape them immediately as they go brittle quickly. Therefore do not bake too many at one time. If unsure, bake only one or two for the first time to give it a try.

3. Baking time may vary depending on the performance of the oven. Observe closely.

https://redhousespice.com/fortune-cookies/

Hope you are enjoying the holiday atmosphere and feel inspired by my post of fortune cookies. 

THE BEST IS YET TO COME!——My fortune note to all my dear readers!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

10 thoughts

  1. This is a great! Do you have a gluten-free recipe? I would like to make this for my sister-in-law who cannot eat wheat. Thank you for posting this!

  2. 禾慕,每次你有新方子我都会来看一看,图片拍得好美!现在还有视频了!很详细的方子!后期一定很费功夫。加油啊!

  3. I have a very good memory of trying out your fortune cookies in your Swiss kitchen! Delicious! 🙂 Happy Holidays to you and your family. xoxo

  4. Hello Wei, I am thinking of doing this for Lunar New Year. How many days before can I do it so as to keep it fresh and crispy? Will it get hard over the days?

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Lin

    1. Hi Lynn! I would suggest maximum 2-3 days in advance. Over the time, the cookies tend to get a little soggy. As I explained in the recipe, if your cookies have lost their crunchiness, bake them in a preheated oven at 130°C / 260°F (Fan 120°C / 250° or Gas 1/2) for 6 minutes or so to crisp them up again. Wish you a very happy Lunar New Year!

      1. Hello Wei, thank you so much for the prompt reply. Very helpful. I will do that. Let me know if you have Instagram so that if my product is pretty, I can tag you too! 🙂 祝你🐷年行大运!

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