Chinese fortune cookies though not originally Chinese in origin, are a mainstay of Chinese cuisine here in the West. But as this article in the NY Times points out, they might be more Japanese than Chinese. History and origins aside, these cookies are one of my favorite things to look forward to after dinner at Chinese restaurants and in San Francisco's Chinatown you might even get these cookies with a scoop of matcha ice cream.
Though they are made from a simple tuile batter they are a little time consuming to prepare and require a little bit of practice. Luckily you can stretch the batter and with every circle baked, you will get better. The trick is to spread the batter out in a very thin circle and move superfast as soon as they start to cool.
Black sesame not only gives the cookie a pretty texture when laminated into the batter but the nutty sweet taste pairs deliciously well with the dark chocolate. You can choose to put a fortune in the cookie or not, that I leave up to you to decide. Coincidentally, I didn't realize how troublesome it is to come up with fortunes to write, filling in winning lottery numbers might be easier!
Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing these fortune cookies;
- Have everything ready before you start to bake. Keep the tools out on your worktable as these cookies harden as soon as they are taken out from the oven,
- Spread the cookie batter as thin as possible, this will ensure a thin and crispy cookie.
- Some people find the fragrance of almond extract a little intense, you can substitute vanilla in for the same amount.
- I've given an approximate number for the cookies as you might end up losing some cookies while you make them. They might be too thin or too thick to fold. The crispier they are, the more delicate they will be, so treat them carefully.
- Work with only one or two cookies at a time as speed is important to shaping the cookies. Wait too long and they will harden before you shape them. And please be careful not to burn you fingers as the cookies are hot.
- Also, I tried both parchment paper and Silpat baking mats while testing this recipe. Silpat gave the overall best results in terms of color, texture and shape.
chocolate dipped black sesame fortune cookies
yields: around 24-30 cookies
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon (2 ounces) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons water, at room temperature
fortunes written on strips of paper that are around 5 inches long and 1 cm wide (optional)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted (I used 60% cacao but milk chocolate and white chocolate would be perfect here)
1. Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and whisk with a handheld electric beater on medium-high speed until slightly frothy.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate to the egg whites and whisk on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth. There should be no lumps in the batter. Wrap the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate for 2 hours to chill.
3. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Get a clean glass or cup and a large muffin tin and keep it on your work space ready to shape the cookies. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with a nonstick Silpat baking mat. If using parchment paper, draw two 3 inch circles about 2 inches apart from each other. If you're using Silpat, then approximate the diameter of the circle to 3 inches. Stir the chilled batter and take 1 teaspoon of the chilled batter and using a spoon spread it out into a very thin layer on the parchment paper. If using the Silpat sheet spread the batter out into a very thin circle that is approximately 3 inches in diameter. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the cookies for 5 minutes or until the edges turn a little golden brown. Remove the sheet from the oven.
4. Now work as quickly as possible as the cookies will harden as soon as they start to cool. (Be careful not to burn you fingers as the cookies will be very hot). Place a fortune paper strip across the center of one cookie and using an offset spatula lift the cookie a little on fold it over itself to form a half moon shape. Then take the cookie off the sheet and bend the folded edge of the cookie over the edge of a glass/mug. Then quickly place the cookie in the well of a muffin tin and allow it to set. As the cookie cools, it will harden and take on its characteristic curved shape. Prepare the second cookie in the same manner.
5. Using a scissors, trim the excess length of paper that hangs from the ends of the shaped cookie. Dip one half of the cookie in the melted chocolate (length or width wise) and keep it on a cool surface such as marble or parchment paper to cool. Once the chocolate sets, store each cookie carefully in an airtight container.