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.
What are fortune cookies
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 America Chinese cuisine.
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.
How to make 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 balloon whisk will do the job (no hand/stand mixer required).
Do not over mix
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 & 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 halfway 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 overcooked, 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 ½) 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.
Homemade fortune cookies (签语饼)
- 3 egg whites, about 100g / 3.5oz
- 4 tbsp sugar, or to taste
- ½ tsp vanilla extract, or other flavouring, see note 1
- 4 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tbsp water
- 80 g all purpose flour, ½ cup
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Write / print fortune messages that you wish to hide inside the cookies.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F (Fan 170°C / 340°F or Gas 4).
Mix the batter
- In a mixing bowl, lightly beat egg whites and sugar until foamy.
- Pour in vanilla extract, melted butter and water. Whip until well incorporated.
- Add in flour. Gently mix and stop as soon as a smooth batter forms (do not overly mix).
Bake the cookies
- 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.
- Repeat the procedure. Make maximum 4 discs at a time (see note 2).
- Transfer the baking sheet into the oven. Bake for 7-8 minutes until the edges brown slightly (see note 3).
Shape the cookies
- 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 below).
- Place it in one of the molds of the muffin tray to keep it in shape while cooling. Repeat to finish the rest.
Serve & reheat
- Enjoy when the cookies are completely cool. Or store them in an air-tight container for later consumption.
- 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 ½) for 6 minutes or so.
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!