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Here’s another recipe to add to your “what to do with extra egg whites” list: brown butter fortune cookies! Making fortune cookies is both simple and fun, and the result is much tastier than what you typically get with your takeout.
The batter comes together simply with a bowl and a whisk, no mixer needed. Well you do need to brown some butter. You could use plain melted butter (skip the water if you do), but I think browning it is worth the few extra minutes for the extra flavor. This is a simple cookie, so the nuttiness really shines through!
My favorite way to make fortune cookies is in a waffle cone maker. It’s fast and produces perfectly even, crisp rounds. I have a Chef’s Choice 838 which is sadly discontinued, but try calling up your local kitchenware or restaurant supply store to see if they have one lurking around (that’s how my husband found ours). I suspect a pizzelle or krumkake iron would also work very nicely, though I don’t own those kitchen gadgets (yet…). However, you can definitely make fortune cookies successfully in a regular oven as well, so don’t let a lack of equipment deter you!
Shaping the fortune cookies takes a little practice; but after a couple goes you’ll be set. The cookies are hot, so you might want to wear gloves or use the edge of a tea towel to protect your fingers. (I don’t bother, but I have asbestos hands.) Placing the shaped cookies into an egg carton helps lock the shape in as they cool completely.
Here are a couple different ways to shape the cookies; try both and see what works best for you.
Don’t worry if the shaping takes you a few tries. Even if you end up with some misshaped cookies, they’ll still taste wonderful! By the way, fortune cookie factories often sell their misshapen cookies. One place in my hometown calls them the “unfortunates”…ha!
- I like to use a 1 Tbsp cookie scoop / disher to portion the thin batter.
- If baking the cookies, I find it easiest to spread the batter on silicone mats, such as a Silpat, versus parchment paper. The mats don’t crinkle and produce smoother cookies.
- Every oven is different so I recommend baking a single test cookie to determine the perfect timing for you. (Let the cool completely so you can accurately evaluate the crispness.) But If you find out after the cookies have cooled that the centers aren’t completely crisp, it’s ok — you can bake them in a low (250F) oven for 5-10 minutes, or until dry.
- Once your fortune cookies have cooled completely, you can drizzle on or dunk them in some tempered chocolate for extra flair. These would make the perfect edible Valentine’s day cards!
- Use this same batter to make ice cream cones, bowls, or curved tuiles!
- 56g unsalted butter (yields ~45g browned butter)
- 30g cold water
- 100g egg whites (about 3 large), at room temperature
- 80g granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp pure almond extract (optional)
- 80g all purpose flour
- Brown the butter: Place the cubed butter in a small, light-colored saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir frequently with a heatproof spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan as needed. The butter will crackle, foam, turn clear gold, then finally start browning. It’s done when the crackling subsides and you smell toasted nuts. This process takes about 10 minutes total, but the butter can go from browned to burnt in a flash—so keep an eye on it. Pour the butter and all the toasty bits into a heatsafe bowl and add 30g cold water. Cool to room temp.
- Mix the batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt until frothy (1-2 minutes). Add the extracts and cooled butter; mix until very well combined. Sift in the flour and whisk until smooth. Cover and rest at room temperature while you preheat the oven or waffle cone iron. If you’re going to include fortunes in your cookies, have them prepared before you start baking the cookies.
- To bake fortune cookies in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats. Using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, spread a 1 Tbsp portion of batter into a thin circle 4-5″ in diameter. Bake until golden, about 9-11 minutes. Slide an offset spatula under the entire cookie to release, then immediately shape (see step 5). Note: I recommend doing a test bake with one cookie to determine the correct baking time for your oven. After you’ve figured it out, I would stick to baking two at a time as the window to shape the fortune cookies is short, 10-15 seconds once the cookies come out of the oven. Use a cool baking sheet / silicone mat each time or the excess heat will make the batter difficult to spread.
- To make fortune cookies in a waffle cone iron: Cook 1 Tbsp portions according to manufacturer’s instructions (mine took 85-90 seconds), then immediately shape (see step 5).
- To shape fortune cookies: Place the fortune, if using, in the center of the cookie. Fold the cookie in half to create a half-moon. Hold the cookie rounded side down. Pull the corners up so they meet while pushing the middle down, creating the classic fortune cookie shape. Alternatively, you can fold the cookie, rounded side up, over the edge of a loaf pan or glass. Try both methods and see which works best for you. Refer to the videos above for more visual guidance. Hold the cookie in place until it sets, 5 to 10 seconds. Place shaped cookie into the space of an empty egg carton, tips facing down down. Let cool completely.
- Storage: Store fortune cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from Red House Spice.