The Unfortunate Fortune Cookies

My first ‘encounter’ with Fortune Cookie was quite a long time ago when my family and I were eating at one of famous Chinese restaurants in Jakarta. After we payed the bill, the waiter came to our table and gave each of us a fortune cookie as a compliment.   

A fortune cookie is a crisp Asian American cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and oil with a “fortune” wrapped inside. A “fortune” is a piece of paper with words of faux wisdom or a vague prophecy .

The non-Chinese origin of the fortune cookie is humorously illustrated in Amy Tan’s 1989 novel The Joy Luck Club, in which a pair of Chinese immigrant women find jobs at a fortune cookie factory in America. They are amused by the unfamiliar concept of a fortune cookie but, after several hilarious attempts at translating the fortunes into Chinese, come to the conclusion that the cookies contain not wisdom, but “bad instruction.”.

Fortune cookies have become an iconic symbol in American culture, inspiring many products. There is fortune cookie-shaped jewelry, a fortune cookie-shaped Magic 8 Ball, silver-plated fortune cookies..

Although many people do not take the message in a fortune cookie as a serious oracular device, many of them consider it part of the game that the entire cookie must be consumed in order for the fortune to come true.

How to make Fortune Cookies

How fortunes cookies are made is quite complex. It has to go through a painful process first, so unfortunate for the fortune cookies..

Note: This following recipe is adapted from Marcie.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons water

Preparation:

Write fortunes on pieces of paper that are 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (around 150 degrees Celcius). Grease 2 9-X-13 inch baking sheets.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla extract, almond extract and vegetable oil until frothy, but not stiff.

Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar into a separate bowl. Stir the water into the flour mixture.

Add the flour into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should drop easily off a wooden spoon..

Note: if you want to dye the fortune cookies, add the food coloring at this point, stirring it into the batter. For example, I used 1/2 teaspoon green food coloring to make green fortune cookies.

Place level tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Gently tilt the baking sheet back and forth and from side to side so that each tablespoon of batter forms into a circle 4 inches in diameter.

Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (14 – 15 minutes).

Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Place a fortune paper in the middle of a cookie. To form the fortune cookie shape, fold the cookie in half, then gently pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass, wooden spoon or the edge of a muffin tin. Place the finished cookie in the cup of the muffin tin so that it keeps its shape. Continue with the rest of the cookies..

It’s so unfortunate for the fortune cookie because we have to break it  to get the fortune paper

brokenfortune-cookie

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