When I saw these in one of my mother’s recipe books some six months ago, I was desperate to try them out and broaden my baking experiences.
Although not specifically eaten at Chinese New Year, if there was ever a ‘season’, or excuse for me to make them, it is now, in preparation for the forthcoming celebrations. Besides, I have never made a tuile-style biscuit before and was eager to try them out. Okay, if we want to be technical about this, it is not a tuile but it does have similar characteristics.
These fortune cookies are fundamentally a thin, crisp, sweet wafer which are shaped while hot. The batter consists of icing sugar, flour, melted butter and in this case, egg whites. I have adapted this recipe from ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks – Biscuits and Slices’. Their recipe is coconut flavoured but I have used orange extract here.
In most of my posts, I sound like a broken record, constantly reminding you that this ‘is really quick and easy to make’. Be under no illusion, these are not quick, they take a bit of concentration, you need to act with speed and heat proof fingers would be a bonus. That said, if like me, you like to experiment in the kitchen, these are a fun little challenge. Like anything, practise makes perfect and even just making these 20 or so cookies, they ‘improved’ the more I made.
Other than the batter which is very straightforward, here are my tips for making these: –
- Place a heaped teaspoon of batter in each marked circle on the parchment.
- Spread the batter with a knife right to the circle line. Spread the batter thinner than you think it should be. If the batter is too thick, it will not bake, or it will break when folding and bending.
- Have a glass on hand, ready for bending as soon as the cookies come out of the oven.
- Act as quickly as you can as soon as the cookies come out of the oven. Fold quickly, bend quickly over the glass rim. Repeat quickly for the second cookie.
- Bake only two at a time. You can get a little system going whereby you have two in the oven and you are spreading the next two, ready to bake.
- Be prepared for sore fingers (albeit temporarily). The dough is hot, hot, hot to the touch for folding and bending!
I would say these turned out okay for a first attempt. Even if they are not visually perfect, they are sweet, crispy, orange-fragrant crackers. They have a definite ‘snap’ when broken. Rather nice actually…
On this occasion I haven’t included little ‘fortunes’ or messages in the cookies. There are many websites with a host of sayings that you could use, if you need inspiration. Just write, or print, the message on small pieces of paper and roll, or fold up, small enough to push into the cookie once it is cool.
Although these take a little effort, there is a lot to be learnt from this bake. I am already thinking about variations.
They are great for sharing at a party, or they make a special gift. How about boxing them up and personalising the messages? A unique Valentine gift, maybe?
Burnt fingers aside, Happy Chinese New Year!
- 2 egg whites
- 60g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 30g unsalted butter, melted
- 60g plain flour
- Line two baking trays with parchment. Turn over the parchment and mark two circles, approximately 8cm in diameter, on the underside of the parchment and then turn back over.
- Preheat the over to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
- Whisk the egg whites briefly until they become foamy. Add the icing sugar, orange essence and the melted butter. Beat until combined, then add the flour. Mix further until completely smooth. Place a heaped teaspoon (approximate) of mixture into one of the marked circles on the parchment. Spread it evenly with a knife to cover the completely circle. Repeat for the remaining three circles. (Spread it as thin as you can).
- Have a large glass on hand (for bending the cookies). Bake one tray at a time for approximately 5 minutes, or until the edges of the rounds become slightly browned.
- Once removed from the oven, work very quickly. Lift the cookies, one at a time, from the tray, fold in half and then bend over a glass. Repeat quickly with the second cookie. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack completely.
- Repeat with the remaining cookie mixture.
- Store in an airtight container once completely cooled.
Source: Adapted from ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks – Biscuits and Slices’