Happy Belated! (chocolate-dipped fortune cookies)
I’m horrible at giving presents on time. Just absolutely horrible. I always remember the date and squeeze a phone call in, but I still owe my dad a Christmas gift and probably owe brothers gifts going years back. We all have our faults.
Luckily, my mom understood this year when these treats showed up on her doorstep two weeks late. Of course she did, because like any good mom, she always loves us kids despite our faults and mistakes. Not that I have any faults other than this one. No, my tiny, illegible handwriting certainly didn’t lead to a horribly bungled 8th grade Lewis & Clark journal that my mom helped me fix page by page into the wee hours of the morning. I’m positive I never whined, cried, bargained or manipulated to try to get out of a piano lesson or seven. And I certainly never left for school without my P.E. clothes or oboe or lunch or music folder or homework (or grad school ID card…). And if I did, I was responsible enough not to beg my mom to rush deliver said item by car or priority mail.
But just in case I did do those things, I thought Mom might deserve a personalized gift expressing how much I appreciate everything she’s done for me year after year. These chocolate-covered fortune cookies were perfect.
The cookies are a snap to make, once you get the hang of it. The two or three inevitable duds are easily eaten away. And the rest get dipped in chocolate, covered with sprinkles (Funfetti in this case, to celebrate our family’s devotion to the ultimate processed American birthday foodstuff) and sent off to a loved one. The cookies pass the taste test as well, providing a slightly sweet extra to top off a tea or meal. The almond extract takes them just a step up from standard take-out fortune cookies and the chocolate coating, mmm, I’m sure you can imagine how good that tastes. Easy, five ingredients and tasty – how could you go wrong?
No, the hard part isn’t making the cookies, it’s deciding what to put in them. I went with a mixture of incredibly silly and incredibly sappy. Frankly, that fits the relationship my mom and I have perfectly. The best part of these for me was the 10-part thank you I got in return. After every tasting session it seemed, my mom would send me a little note describing which cookie she opened and how it made her laugh, cry or both. It was just a giant circle of love, all over a half a cup of sugar and flour and some almond extract.
Chocolate-Dipped Fortune Cookies
Adapted barely from Annie’s Eats. The only substantial change I made was making the almond extract a requirement rather than an option. I haven’t tasted them without, but the almond flavor really sold these for me.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Special equipment: parchment paper
For the cookies:
½ cup all-purpose or bread flour
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. almond extract
2 large egg whites
For decorating (optional):
Melted chocolate (I think I used less than half of an 11.5oz bag)
Mix cookie ingredients in a food processor and process until blended and smooth. You can mix by hand as well, just be sure there are no lumps in the batter. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
While the batter chills, make your fortunes. Use fancy paper for extra fun. Cut into small strips and write funny sayings about Irvine or spaceships. Or, you know, whatever strikes your fancy. Fold up strips so that they will fit inside the shaped cookies. I made mine a little too thick, so I had to fold them in half lengthwise.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. You’ll be working in batches of 3-4, because each cookie needs to be individually shaped before they cool and harden. The cookies don’t bake long at all though, so the process isn’t too long. Trace 4 3-inch circles on a sheet of parchment paper. I used the top of my tall drinking glasses which are about 3-inches in diameter. Annie provides directions for those who don’t have parchment paper, but I think parchment is really the way to go here. Flip the paper over and place on a baking sheet.
Once batter is chilled, spoon 1 teaspoon onto each of the circles. Gently spread the batter to fill the circles. I found it best to use smaller circular motions on the outside of the batter drops to coax the batter towards the outside, while maintaining an even layer. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until the cookies are just barely brown around the edges and still light in the centers.
Let cookies sit for 30 seconds. Working quickly, carefully peel them one-by-one off of the parchment. Place a folded fortune in the center of the cookie and fold over. Then gently bend the cookie either in your hands or over the edge of a bowl. I found it useful to continue pinching them in position for 10-15 seconds after forming them. By this point they’ve set a little and won’t spring out of position. Shape remaining cookies before they cool. After the first batch, you can decide to cook more or less per batch if you find you’re a fortune cookie rockstar or they’re cooling too quickly.
Allow cookies to cool completely before dipping in chocolate. For dipping, melt your favorite chocolate (dark, milk, white) in a double boiler and then dip as desired. I didn’t bother tempering the chocolate for these. As described previously, white chocolate bars melt better than white chocolate chips, if you go that route. Sprinkle immediately with any toppings and let harden on foil or wax paper. Once chocolate hardens completely, cookies are ready to be enjoyed or packaged and sent off.
If you are packaging, I found it best to wrap sets of 4 cookies twice in plastic wrap and then place the wrapped cookies in a sturdy box to be placed inside of the box you’ll send the goodies in. These arrived intact, to be eaten alongside the chocolate-dipped macaroons they were pacakaged with.