Homemade fortune cookies from scratch are nothing like the store-bought ones. They are actually ten times better!! All the tips you need to know! It’s going to be a conversation piece for any occasion you celebrate.
CUSTOM FORTUNE COOKIES
Most people in Asia don’t really know about fortune cookies (I didn’t until I come to the U.S.). Fortune cookie is not a tradition or culture from China but from what I read, it could be traced to the Japanese who has a similar cookie with a paper message not put inside of the cookie but rather wedged at the bent of the cookie. The Chinese sort of took over the production of the fortune cookies during World War II because most Japanese Americans were forced to the camps during that time. The fortune cookies are made with flour, sugar, egg whites, butter, flavoring, and then baked, a piece of paper is put on the baked cookies and quickly fold into shape while the cookies are hot.
HOMEMADE FORTUNE COOKIES ARE SIMPLY THE BEST
If you are reading this post, I’m sure you probably have tasted fortune cookies before at the Chinese restaurants here in the U.S. My kids and both my husband and I never really cared for them UNTIL I baked these matcha fortune cookies. My husband was even more surprised by how good homemade fortune cookies actually are!
They really taste nothing like the commercial ones! They just taste like delicious cookies! Fortune cookies are fun to make! It’s like doing a craft and you get to eat your craft at the same time. I truly enjoy making them to be honest 🙂 Besides, these Thanksgiving fortune cookies are really going to be a great icebreaker and conversation piece after the meal!
Basic homemade fortune cookies only requires a handful of ingredients to make: egg whites, all-purpose flour, butter, flavoring (matcha powder in this case), and sugar. You probably have all these ingredients already in your fridge and pantry.
IMPORTANT TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE FORTUNE COOKIES SUCCESSFULLY AT HOME
These fortune cookies are not difficult to make but do expect that first few cookies might fail on you and you might start cursing at me, but know that it’s normal. Once you get the hang of it, you will flow right through! I’ve been there!
1. Write your fortune first
Seriously! Get this done before you start the baking. You WILL NOT have time to do this once you start the baking process. You’ll end up getting super frustrated
2. Make sure you have time to do this.
They can be time-consuming if making them alone because you can only bake 2-3 cookies at the time
3. You need to work fast
You need to work fast and fold them into shape while they are hot or the cookies will set and you can shape them anymore. Which is why it’s important to only do no more than 3 cookies at a time. I actually highly recommend doing only 2 cookies at a time
4. Overbaking and underbaking
Overbaking and you won’t be able to shape your cookies because they set so quickly. Underbaking and your cookies will be soft and when you shape them, they break. You need to come to the middle!
5. Use silicone mat
Trust me it will make your life so much easier, don’t even bother with parchment paper!
6. Only decorate the cookies after they have cooled down and turn hard and crispy or the cookies will turn soggy from soaking up the warm chocolate
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USEFUL TOOLS TO MAKE FORTUNE COOKIES
1. Silicone mat – to prevent cookies from sticking to the baking sheets
2. Wide metal turner – to easily loosen the cookies from the silicone mat and flip them over
3. Muffin tin – to hold the shape of the fortune cookies while cookies are cooling down
You can add fun colors to the cookie batter to make them more fun and vibrant. I used matcha green tea powder for flavoring and subtle green color.
Flavor idea: cocoa powder, red beets powder, charcoal powder, etc. and gel food coloring to add some fun colors
TIPS FOR THANKSGIVING MESSAGE FOR FORTUNE COOKIES
1. Size of paper
Cut out a paper about 4 inches in length and 1/2 inch in width. It’s not too big and not too small but enough for you to write something
I just write a few different messages like : Happy Thanksgiving, Grateful For You, Thankful For You. But you can write jokes, trivia questions, or fun facts about Thanksgiving or turkey. I’ve seen something like:
“The State of California consumes most Turkey”
“Why did turkey get arrested?” FOWL play
“What is a baby turkey called? A poult
These are just examples. Google it and you’ll have more ideas
HOW TO MAKE FORTUNE COOKIES WITH PAPER INSIDE FROM SCRATCH
Remember this: You need to get everything ready within reach, work fast and smart
STEP ONE: PREHEAT OVEN AND PREPARE THE BATTER
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Beat the egg whites until frothy, not stiff!
2. Add sugar, matcha paste, melted butter, and flour into the egg whites. Stir just until the flour disappears and the batter is smooth. The batter is semi-thin and spreadable
STEP TWO: BAKING
1. Scoop about 2 teaspoonfuls of the batter and use the back of a spoon and spread it out evenly into about 4-inch circle. Repeat with another one
2. Place this in the oven and set the timer (use timer on your phone) to 5 minutes. This is just an estimate time. If your cookies are smaller you may need less than 5 minutes. If you see the edge has golden brown color but the middle is still pale, the cookies are ready
STEP THREE: GET EVERYTHING YOU NEED READY AND SHAPE THE COOKIES
This means you need to have your turner, fortune, muffin tin, a cup or bowl ready within reach
1. Get them out of the oven and quickly grab a spatula to turn the cookie upside down. Loosely fold it in half to form a semicircle and quickly insert the fortune you’ve written.
Place the straight part of the semicircle at the edge of a cup or bowl and gently fold it down to form a fortune cookie shape
2. Place this inside a muffin tin to help hold its shape. Quickly repeat with the other one. Now do you see why I recommend not doing more than 2? You will drive yourself crazy if you do 🙂
STEP FOUR: MELT CHOCOLATE AND DECORATE
1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and then set a bowl large enough to sit on top of the pot and lower the heat to simmer. The chocolate will slowly melt
2. Dip the cookies in the chocolate, decorate with sprinkles and/or sesame seeds and then place on a cooling rack lined with parchment paper to let the chocolate set and solidify
Even though I said Thanksgiving fortune cookies but really you can customize the message for any occasions like Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Birthday, Christmas, or really..any parties really!
So what do you think? Is it worth making? I would tell you yes!! It can be time-consuming and you really need to work fast and also, there’s that very high chance that you fail for the first few cookies, BUT, fret not, you will breeze through it once you get the hang of it!! I failed the first 4 and after that I was like a machine LOL! Now, I’m thinking about making more 🙂
Recipe is adapted from Taste of Home
How To Make Fortune Cookies From Scratch (with Paper Inside)
- 1 tsp matcha powder omit if you don't want any flavor
- 1 1/2 Tbsp water
- 2 egg whites
- 2 oz sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract if not using matcha powder
- 1/4 cup 6 oz butter melted
- 2 1/2 oz all-purpose flour
To decorate (optional):
- 4 oz baking chocolate chopped
- White sesame seeds
Prepare cookie batter:
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix matcha with water into a paste. Set aside
- Place egg whites in mixing bowl. Use a mixer to beat the egg whites until frothy. Just frothy, don't beat it until stiff, we are not making chiffon cake or French macarons 😉
- Add sugar, matcha paste or vanilla extract, melted butter, and flour into the egg whites. Stir just until the flour disappears and the batter is smooth. The batter is semi-thin and spreadable
- Get your spatula, fortune messages, and a cup or bowl ready near you. Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat. Scoop about 2 teaspoonfuls of the batter and use the back of a spoon and spread it out evenly into about 4-inch circle. Repeat with another one. You have two
- Place this in the oven and set the timer (digital timer if possible) to 5 minutes. This is just an estimate time. If your cookies are smaller you may need less than 5 minutes. If you see the edge has golden brown color but the middle are still pale, the cookies are ready. If they are still pale all over, let them bake maybe an extra 30 seconds to 1 minute and then take a look again
- Get them out of the oven and quickly grab a spatula to turn the cookie upside down. Loosely fold it in half to form a semicircle and quickly insert the fortune you've written. Place the straight part of the semicircle at the edge of a cup or bowl and gently fold it down to form a fortune cookie shape
- Place this inside a muffin tin to help hold its shape. Quickly repeat with the other one. Now do you see why I recommend not doing more than 2 ? You will drive yourself crazy if you do 🙂
Continue baking with another set of two cookies:
- Your baking sheet most likely is still warm from previous baking, but I found that this is not an issue. I don't need two baking sheets and two silicone mat. I can spread another cookie on the warm baking sheets and continue baking as mentioned above. The cookie batter will spread easier and a bit runnier because it's warm, but cookies still come out good
Melt some chocolate (if you want to):
- Once you are done with all the cookies, bring a small pot of water to a boil and then set a bowl large enough to sit on top of the pot and lower the heat to simmer. The chocolate will slowly melt
- Only decorate the cookies after they have cooled down completely. Dip the cookies in the chocolate, decorate with sprinkles and/or sesame seeds and then place on a cooling rack lined with parchment paper to let the chocolate set and solidify