Did you know that originally fortune cookies were called Moon-Cakes? Moon-Cakes played an important role for the Chinese population during the great Mongol invasion in the 13th Century.
Hidden inside every Moon-Cake was a message giving the date of the uprising. The rebellion against the Mongols was a great success and the Moon-Cakes played an important role throughout this period.
The transition of moon cakes to fortune cookies started during the American Gold Rush where Chinese people were employed to build American railways throughout the country. Because they didn't have cakes to exchange during the Moon Festival, they put messages inside normal biscuits instead and fortune biscuits were born!
Today, fortune cookies are often served in Chinese restaurants at the end of a meal, just like a dessert would be in Western Countries. Interestingly, fortune cookies are not a huge part of traditional Chinese cuisine, and, in contemporary China, they can only be found in restaurants which target Western tourists.
If you’re feeling brave, why not attempt making your own fortune cookies by following the below recipe and printing your own fortunes for friends and family:
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure)
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (pure)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons water
- Write fortunes on pieces of paper that are 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.Preheat oven to 300 F.
- 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 in a separate bowl. Stir the water into the flour mixture.
- Add the flour to 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.
- 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 to 15 minutes).
- Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand.
- Place a fortune 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.
- Serve and enjoy!
At Languages United we wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year by enjoying this tasty treat and seeing what fortunes could be found in each cookie.