Ring in Chinese New Year (January 28) with a batch of homemade fortune cookies.
—Photo by Sarah Boyum
Although it’s not a Chinese tradition, ending a meal of sesame chicken or lo mein with a fortune-filled cookie is a rite of passage at Chinese-American restaurants across the country. Leave it to pastry wiz Nadine Donovan of Secret Sauce Food & Beverage to give those plastic-wrapped, mass-distributed cookies a makeover at Uptown’s Ace Eat Serve. Donovan based her recipe off a classic tuile batter to achieve an airy, crisp effect, and she adds both vanilla and almond extracts for a flavor boost. As for the messages inside? A staff-wide brainstorming session yielded a fun mix of movie quotes and ’90s song lyrics. Donovan’s favorite to date: “Don’t go chasing waterfalls.”
The Recipe for Ace Eat Serve's Fortune Cookies
Yields 1 dozen
2 eggs whites
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 drop gold food color (optional)
1 tablespoon water
Cut 12 strips of paper in rectangles (1 inch wide by 2 1/2 inch long). Write a fortune, saying, or wish on each one. Preheat oven to 350° degrees.
Place egg whites in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until frothy. Sift together flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Set aside. Combine oil, extracts, food color and water. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to egg whites in two rounds. Mix until a smooth batter forms.
Line a baking tray with a plastic baking mat or parchment paper. Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter onto tray. Spread evenly until you have a 4 inch diameter. Repeat until you have 6 cookies on each tray. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. While still hot, peel a cookie of off the tray and place upside down. Set the fortune in the center of the cookie. Fold in half and then quickly rest the center of the cookie on over the edge of hot sheet tray and bend, creating a crescent moon shape. Let each cookie rest in a muffin tin to cool completely. Repeat until all 12 fortune cookies have been shaped.
Note: As the cookies cool they will become more difficult to shape. If a cookie is too firm to fold, place it back in the over for 30 seconds and then form.