Guys – I have a big announcement!!! It is with immense joy that I tell you, my friend and blogger buddy, Meggan of Culinary Hill, just had a sweet little baby girl! Joining me in throwing her a bleated ‘virtual baby shower,’ are Allie from Baking a Moment, Mira from Cooking LSL, Janette from Culinary Ginger, Maggie from Omnivore’s Cookbook, Nagi from RecipeTin Eats, and Helen from Scrummy Lane. So please help us wish Meggan and her growing family lots of joy, happiness, and a life filled with wonderful memories.
Fortune cookies are a wonderful way to add a personal touch to any celebration. Did you know that fortune cookies originally came from Kyoto, Japan!? Yeah, neither did I! I was listening to a Ted Talk on the lore of popular Chinese-American dishes, called The Hunt for General Tso. Speaker and author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Jennifer 8. Lee noted that fortune cookies, something we consider here in America to be uniquely Chinese, are in fact not so. That part I actually knew. What I didn’t know, was that they were invented by Japanese bakers located near the Shinto shrines in Kyoto – the cookies holding random fortunes, a temple tradition.
In Japan they’re larger in size and less sweet, being made with sesame and miso. When Japanese immigrants came to the U.S., bakers also brought the fortune cookie. So how did this go from being a Japanese treat, to a Chinese-American one? Well… during WWII when Japanese-Americans were interned (my father and my grandparents included), the Japanese were no longer around to make the fortune cookies. So production was picked up by the Chinese community. As Lee states, fortune cookies were, “invented by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately consumed by Americans. They are more American than anything else”.
Fortune Cookies have obviously had numerous incarnations, and one is decorating and customizing them for special events and celebrations. They’re perfect for baby showers, weddings, graduation, Valentines day, etc.
Here are some suggestions:
- 3 eggs white
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- food coloring of your choice (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Write out fortunes or well-wishes on 4x1/2-inch pieces of paper. Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine the egg whites, almond extract, and lemon extract. Beat until foamy, but do not allow peaks to form.
- Stir in the butter. Then sift in the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl. Mix until fully incorporated. If you would like to add food coloring, add 2 - 4 drops at this point.
- Working with only one baking sheet at a time, place a level tablespoon of the batter onto the prepared sheet pan. Using the back of the spoon, spread the batter out to a thin layer, approximately 3-inches in diameter. (Only make 2 - 3 at a time, as you'll need to shape them quickly once they come out of the oven). Bake for 7 - 9 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. While one batch is baking, prepare the 2nd sheet.
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven and quickly work with one cookie at a time. Using a spatula, move the cookie to a plate. Fold in half with a fortune inside. Lightly pinch the edges and then bend the flat side of the half-moon down over the rim of a cup.
- Place the completed cookie in the cup of a muffin tin so it will keep its shape until cooled.
- ½ cup confectionary sugar
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 ounces sprinkles
- Sift the confectionary sugar into a small bowl. Add the corn syrup, vanilla extract, and water. Stir until fully combined.
- Dip one half of the cooled fortune cookie into the icing - use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cookie, if needed. Sprinkle the sprinkles over the iced portion of the cookie and set on a plate to allow to dry.